Although not strictly cycling related, many many many times, when we ask for better cycling infrastructure, the answer is no due to budgets. Even more insidious are Local Enterprise Partnership grants that can only be allocated on the basis of generating economic activity. So safe routes to schools from communities are harder to justify.
- A council trying to find £16M cuts over the next three years.
- Client Earth suing DEFRA again for not doing enough to tackle air pollution.
- A city suffering from some of the worst congestion in the UK.
- The cancelling of public bus services.
- Lack of investment in walking and cycling.
- 29,000 people commuting to Bath by car with most of them parking up in residential roads
- 9,000 of those commuters live IN Bath and drive to work IN Bath
We need a solution that
- Removes ‘free’ day parking from our city roads removing the huge incentive to drive into the city rather than use provided park and rides or switch to public transport.
- Enables the council to fund better public transport networks.
- Enables the council to implement free bus passes for school age children tackling the 30% of rush hour traffic that is the school run.
- Does not impact Residents financially for using a car, except when used to commute within the city.
- Enables the council to work towards a fixed cost of say £35 per month to travel into and around the city by car or bus. Currently buses are £66 within the city or £80 from outside the city. Cars are ‘free’. Guess why people drive in?
- Recovers some of the costs of Congestion to the city. Currently £9.9Million per year and car commuters directly impact that cost.
- Delivers on Air Quality. There is no reason to consider that down the line, older diesel cars will be charged more for permits or even not allowed to have a permit.
- Solves Congestion. Congestion is an exponential curve. A 30% reduction in number of cars entering the city would be similar to what happens to the roads in School Holidays.
- Discourages car ownership within the city, particularly from students who are asked not to bring their cars with them, but many do.
We need a solution that changes the behaviour of car commuters getting them out of their cars. That places a cost on parking. That solution is Day Parking Zones.
Day Parking Zones
Keeping the current resident parking zones and placing the rest of the city under a new type of Day Parking Zone where:
- Parking is free up to 4 hours Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm.
- Council Tax Paying Residents get up to two free permits for their zone.
- Day Tickets and ALL DPZ permits can be purchased from the council by anyone.
- Key Workers get free ALL DPZ permits to enable them to carry out their jobs easily.
Show me the money
Generating around £54 Million in revenue over the next three years, enabling the council to invest heavily in public transport, walking and cycling, and simply getting more people out of cars. It even discourages students from bringing cars to the city.
I presented this idea to the BaNES Communities, Transport, and Environment Scrutiny panel last night, and they have now set up an All-Party Task and Finish working group to investigate the proposal further.
Bath Key Bus Network
This proposal is only the start though. We currently have a broken bus transport system and without delivery of a Key Bus Network that connects communities and park and ride sites to all economic centres of the city, we have to accept that people will still use their cars to get around the city.
If we want more cycling infrastructure, if we want a better environment, if we want a good public transport system, we need to enable the council to provide those. Day Parking Zones is that enabler.
IF YOU TRAVEL TO WORK IN BATH BY BUS IT SHOULD COST YOU LESS THAN TRAVELLING BY CAR.
What happens if this is too successful?
This one has been raised. Assuming that this creates a monumental shift in behaviour and suddenly, of the 29,000 commuters, we suddenly find only 50% switch to public transport. Over night air pollution would drop significantly. Public Transport would be heavily utilised requiring less/no subsidy. The economic cost of congestion to the city would drop. This is a win win situation. The less people commute by car, the better.
We need a functioning city, not this grid locked air pollution nightmare we currently have.