Bath & North East Somerset Council has set out a new approach to addressing the issues of traffic and transport in Bath, particularly to the east of the city. The new approach includes the scrapping of a planned Park & Ride (P&R) site.
The planned P&R had two possible sites, West and East of Mill Lane, but was abandoned primarily on road safety concerns, the council said. The national standard for road designs, the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, desires a distance of at least a kilometre between junctions to allow traffic to move into the correct lane and avoid side-swipe collisions. The distance from the junction to site B is 258m and the distance from the junction to site F is 576m.
The site choice had also proved highly controversial, as it involved building on Bathampton Meadows, a local beauty spot.
Alongside this announcement, the council launched an integrated transport plan for Bath to help meet rising demand and reduce the impact of traffic.
Some of the measures set out by the Council include:
- Working with Highways England to deliver an A36-A46 link road to reduce through-traffic in Bath;
- Holding discussions with the West of England and South Glos Council about improving the route to and from Lansdown P&R;
- Improving access to Odd Down P&R by repositioning the bus lane and opening it up to cars accessing the P&R;
- Holding further discussions with Wiltshire about potential opportunities further out from the city, potentially linked to an extended MetroWest rail service;
- Undertaking a scoping study for a light rail (tram) system in Bath; and
- Undertaking a study of ‘School Run’ transport needs and solutions and consider any further opportunities to expand the Council’s existing ‘safe routes to school’ programme.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip) said: “Improving transport and tackling Bath’s traffic problems remain one of our highest priorities, which is why we have set out a range of measures aimed at addressing this important issue.
“It’s no secret that the eastern P&R has long been a challenging issue for the city, with strong views on both sides of the debate. However, after talking with engineers, visiting the locations again and discussing options with our partners, we must consider the wider picture, take the broadest view of new opportunities and ultimately put the safety of road user first.
“At the same time, we also recognise the high value which the local community places on site F in particular as an open space, and this site was the least favoured of the three sites that were put forward in the public consultation two years ago.
“We still remain firmly committed to providing appropriate out-of-town parking as well as tackling congestion, supporting economic growth and improving air quality on all major routes into the city. We remain convinced that getting the right mix of city centre parking, out of town parking and encouraging people to travel via different forms of transport is important for economic growth and meeting the future demands of a growing city.”