When we ask ourselves how we address the transport problems in Bath, and particularly the air pollution that Bath suffers from, the language that organisations use gives you an idea about the direction in which those organisations are looking.
Reading both the statement put forward by BaNES and the letter from FoBRA published in the Chronicle, it is pretty clear that the problem is the 12% through traffic ( 8760 drivers) and the naughty 900 HGVs. (FoBRA in their defence did list a few other things.)
What seems to have been ignored is that WE are the 88%. We are the 64240 people that drive into and around the city each day. Yet the answer lies with the 12%.
Let’s be clear. The A36/A46 bypass will ONLY remove 2000 cars form London Road and is 15 years in the making. Within the last 12 years we’ve already lost nearly 5,000 cars from London Road yet the bypass has been on the cards for 30+ years.
We need to be absolutely honest about what’s going on here and we need radical solutions and we need them now.
We need strong parking control across the whole city to keep Park and Ride sites fully utilised. The council can sell day time passes to commuters in areas where space is available if P&R sites get too full (but not for diesel). Call it the Bath RPZ+ if you like.
We need to prioritise separate space for walking, cycling, and driving on our major arterial roads over on-street parking.
We need better, smoother junctions using Poyntonesque style roundabouts with cycle bypasses (Poynton is horrible to cycle. I tried.).
We need a Link and Ride on the east side of the city using brownfield land between the A46 and the railway at Bathampon Junction, ready for when you implement the RPZ+.
We should be implementing some of the phases from the New Phased Delivery of the Bath ‘Living Heart’ Transport Plan making the city centre access only.
We need to kill the school run. Build School Streets. Fine parents for dropping their kids off outside schools as 5,000 of them do each day. LOOK AROUND YOU RIGHT NOW. Go outside tomorrow at 8:30am. Where’s all the traffic?
We need to ask why 10,000 people living in Bath, drive 2 miles or less to work in Bath each day.
What we don’t need to be doing is blaming the 12% or those naughty HGVs.
WE ARE THE 88%. WE ARE THE PROBLEM.