Bath BreATHe: A closer look at the options

I’ve already analysed the proposed CAZ and how I feel there is nothing within it that reduces traffic or encourages behaviour change. But there is more to this proposal:

A quick recap on CAZ options:

  • Class B. Charges for higheremission buses, coaches, private hire, taxis and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)
  • Class C. Charges as per Class B, plus higher-emission light goods vehicles (LGVs)
  • Class D. Charges as per Class C, plus higher-emission cars

Other Measures

To quote from the summary

Other measures Alongside the charging element, each package will include noncharging measures designed to encourage greener modes of travel and lessen the impact of a CAZ on residents and drivers. All of these ideas will be thoroughly assessed and discussed with local people. They might include:

  • Reduced cost of residents’ parking permits for low emission vehicles
  • Improved public transport facilities, such as bus priority, better bus stops and more realtime information for passengers to increase reliability and use
  • Improvements to walking and cycling routes and better provision for cycle parking
  • A review of taxi licensing policy, considering how low-emission vehicles can be encouraged
  • Improved use of variable message signs with information on parking options, travel times and air quality
  • Targeted traffic management improvements or improved bus priority on the A367 Wells Road
  • Making permanent the temporary bus lane on London Road.

If a Class D CAZ is chosen as the preferred option (which includes cars), then we’ll also look at introducing: electric cycle hire, priority parking areas for car sharing, and the expansion of the car club network, in addition to the measures above.

We’ll continue to look at other longer-term measures to improve air quality in Bath, such as the A46/A36 link road.

What I would like to have seen

A absolute commitment to deliver behavioural change.

  • Reduced cost of residents’ parking permits for low emission vehicles
    • Identify the commercial value of an on-street car parking space (about £1,200 per year) and set resident permit as a discount of that value. Offer no discount for high emission vehicles and longer vehicles.
  • Improved public transport facilities, such as bus priority, better bus stops and more realtime information for passengers to increase reliability and use. 
    • Park and Ride sites to become bus hubs with all passing buses stopping. All bus fares to Bath to use Park and Ride ticket pricing structure to encourage people to leave their cars at home. Realtime information to be provided to passengers.
    • New rural on-demand responsive bus network to be established integrating with major bus corridors. Traditional rural bus services to be cancelled.
  • Improvements to walking and cycling routes and better provision for cycle parking
    • Driving, walking, and cycling to be recognised equally important on our major roads and for separate space to be provided for each mode, prioritising all modes over on-street parking. The council will no longer encourage cycling but focus on enabling people to be able to cycle. A particular focus on delivering a safe network of cycle routes connecting schools to their communities.
    • Adoption of Oxfordshire Council cycling and walking standards to be a priority.
    • A recognition that transport is a public health emergency. MAKE HIGHWAYS ANSWERABLE TO THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND SET KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS BASED ON PUBLIC HEALTH WITH CHILDHOOD OBESITY A PRIORITY.
  • A review of taxi licensing policy, considering how low-emission vehicles can be encouraged [good]
  • Improved use of variable message signs with information on parking options, travel times and air quality [good]
  • Targeted traffic management improvements or improved bus priority on the A367 Wells Road [why are they not doing this now?]
  • Making permanent the temporary bus lane on London Road. 
    • Removal of all on-street parking bays on London Road, Paragon, a redesign of Cleveland Bridge Junction and Morrisons junction to enable the creation of an east west “cycle super highway” going from Newbridge Park and Ride all the way to Bathford.
    • Ok maybe just the whole length of London Road.

Give me the D

If the council can persuade the people to vote for D then you get the extra bonus of electric cycle hire, priority parking areas for car sharing, and the expansion of the car club network. In other words what Exeter Co-Bikes/Co-Cars is doing right now as an integrated service allowing you to rent eBikes or rent an electric cars. Recognising that for most people an eBike gets you from A to B easily, but sometimes you need a car.

Exactly why are we not doing this now?

Reading between the lines

There is too much “might”. Too much about this is about encouragement. Not enough about enablement.

The resident permits is a joke given that a £1200 parking bay is currently sold to a resident for about £100.

The bus proposals are weak. The real issue is the cost of them. There is no recognition of new and successful approaches to public transport provision.

Given the council’s absolutely horrendous record on cycle infrastructure provision (I’m looking at you Keynsham) the wording is very weak. Improvements to cycling and walking is not “create a child safe cycle network to tackle the school run enabling children to cycle to school”. It could simply mean a bit of paint.

I leave you with this as a thought….

Change The Question

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