Why city centre traffic ban would be fare to bus users
A wide-ranging shake-up will see through traffic banned from three key roads in Bath city centre.
Council chiefs have revived a version of an idea which they shelved in 2010 to make bus services more reliable by restricting traffic in Dorchester Street, which will have a knock-on effect on Manvers Street and Pierrepont Street.
Bath and North East Somerset Council wants to test the idea of banning through traffic from the streets around the bus and railway stations, which it says will also make it easier for people to get to and from the SouthGate centre.
Cabinet member for transport councillor Roger Symonds (Lib Dem, Combe Down) said measures had to be taken to reduce traffic in the city.
Limited Deal. All day wedding photography only £545.00View details
All day wedding photography only £545.00
From Bridal preparations to first dance.
250+ Hi Res images on disc with full printing rights.
Professional photography at affordable prices.
Free no obligation consultations.
Offer subject to availability.
Book before 31st May 2013.
Available in Bath, Bristol and surrounding areas.
Contact: 01225 439257
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"There is too much traffic in the city centre and we need to reduce it to make Bath a walking and cycling city," he said.
"We have to have a good public transport system and give people on foot, buses and bikes priority.
"Closing the street to through traffic will make it easier and safer for people to access SouthGate."
The council says it is prepared to make Green Park Road into a two-way street for its entire length to compensate.
At the moment the stretch nearest to Churchill Bridge is one-way.
Mr Symonds added: "This proposal represents the council's strong intention to reduce traffic in the main shopping and visitor areas in Bath city centre.
"There are a number of advantages to the scheme. The proposal should make it possible for bus operators to run more punctual services than at present.
"We will reduce congestion and pollution and enhance the environment for people on foot and who ride bicycles."
He added: "We will explore the possibility of making the entire length of Green Park Road available for traffic in both directions so that southbound traffic can go directly over Churchill Bridge, rather than having to go around the Forum block.
"Traffic lights and signage would also be examined to provide better safety for people on foot."
The council – which says it hopes any ban would be self-enforcing but that it will also consider using number plate recognition technology – is consulting local residents, businesses and residents' associations in the area.
The move has been welcomed by tour bus boss Martin Curtis.
Mr Curtis, managing director of the Bath Bus Company, said that last summer his buses had been regularly at a virtual standstill for 15 minutes and that he had had to re-route one service.
"This is long overdue and very welcome," he said.
"By reducing the volume of traffic in Dorchester Street, the movement of pedestrians will also become safer."
But Real Italian Pizza Company owner Tim Coffey said the plans would cause increased disruption in the city centre.
He said: "I think it will cause absolute chaos as the city is already far too restricted.
"All the central roads are pushed on to two roads and to take away one would cause gridlock on the other.
"I think it will cause even more problems. They should be thinking of other solutions that will free up traffic in the city centre.
"This will affect me, and my business, and make it more difficult for staff, customers and deliveries."
Buses, taxis, bikes and motorcycles would not be banned and access would be allowed to Henry Street, Orchard Street, Kingston Road, Railway Place, South Parade, Manvers Street, Pierrepont Street, Bath Spa Station, Manvers Street car park and the police station.
The council said it is designing its new Rossiter Road traffic management scheme at Widcombe – which will see the road become two-way – to accommodate an extra ten per cent of traffic.
The "informal consultation" lasts until next Thursday.