Category Archives: Bath

The thin end of the wedge

A picture is a thousand words.

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Well Done!

The work of council officers, Cycle Bath, Bath Cycling Club, Transition Larkhall, and Cllr Mark Shelford needs to be recognised in getting to this point where we now have an example of a Light Segregated (protected) on-road cycle lane in Bath and North East Somerset.

Continue reading The thin end of the wedge

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London Road- A BaNES First

London Road has been a long running saga and although the design is poor particularly by keeping polluting cars close to pedestrians and honestly if we had the money, I’d start with fixing the junctions either side, ANYWAY, good things are happening with the installation of Orcas and wands to protect the cycle lane. The build out is being reshaped to allow you to continue through it.

TCY0004-104 (WP2 – General Arrangement) Rev BTCY0004-105 (WP3 – Site Clearance & GA) Rev B

Work has started today and will be complete in the next couple of weeks.

It’s good to see protected cycle lanes being built using orcas

orca-header31

PS: London Road still needs a redesign with an east protected cycle lane but for now this is really good to see.

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Many people are in awe of what has been achieved in Walthamstow, London with over 10,000 less car movements per day and a big shift to walking and cycling as the neighbourhood became car light and traffic free.

London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets London have now created a guide for campaigners, council officers, and politicians on how to achieve these cheap, hugely impactful changes within your towns and cities in a matter of months.

[EDIT] London Cycling Campaign has a really comprehensive page with two excellent documents.

The introduction I hope gives you a taste for what this document can do for Bath and North East Somerset, if the political will can be found.

Each neighbourhood or “cell” is a group of residential streets, bordered by main or “distributor” roads (the places where buses, lorries, lots of traffic passing through should be), or by features in the landscape that form barriers to motor traffic – rivers, train lines etc.

  • You should be able to walk across a neighbourhood in fifteen minutes at most. Larger, and people start driving inside the neighbourhood. We suggest an ideal size of about 1km2.
  • Groups of cells or neighbourhoods should be clustered around key amenities and transport interchanges in a 6-10km radius (with 1-2km walking journeys key) as a priority. This is typically what you get in Dutch suburbs, towns and cities. People walk and cycle within their area, and to the station etc.
  • Cells should link together with crossings across distributor roads or other cell boundaries – this enables people to comfortably walk and cycle between cells from home to amenities, transport interchanges etc.
  • The positive benefits of low traffic neighbourhoods can be further enhanced by providing high quality cycle tracks and pavements along the distributor roads also.

In the coming weeks I will be working publicly to identify all traffic light neighbourhood cells within the city and deliver a plan to create a city that truly prioritises walking and cycling and creates the behaviour change that a clean air zone could never achieve.

Watch this space!

Edit: Study of an introduction of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood cell in Dublin http://www.dublincity.ie/sites/default/files/content/RoadsandTraffic/Documents/Walsh%20Road%20Report.pdf

I don’t have time not to bike

I follow a lot of sites/people focused on urbanism, design, best practice, and generally all aspects of transport. I have an exciting life 😀

This tweet caught my eye as it rang true for me:

I like cycling, but I don’t choose to cycle daily to work, meetings, or shops around the city of Bath for some sort of principled reason. I do it, because door to door, it is simply the fastest, time saving form of transport in the city. I cannot afford to consider any other form of transport.

Continue reading I don’t have time not to bike

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

It’s not the Air Quality stupid: CAZ treat the effect not the cause

A friend reminded me that I had told him a few years ago that Air Pollution is a sideshow. The real issue for transport is health, under which Air Pollution is a small aspect, with obesity having to be the primary focus.

Tackling Air Pollution, as BaNES are demonstrating, can simply mean “buy a newer car” and by newer, by 2021, a 15 year old petrol or 6 year old diesel. Surprise surprise, by 2025 traffic would have increased by 6% (large pdf). The table can be found in one of the annexes. Continue reading It’s not the Air Quality stupid: CAZ treat the effect not the cause

Stop being an idler…

There are many things people are doing to fight air pollution within the city. Getting on your bike is one of them. Today there is an opportunity to become part of an army of people directly tackling vehicle idling within the city. This is one of a series of events being held. If you want to get involved you can find out more here https://www.idlingactionbath.org/events2

First Bath Clean Air Champions Idling Training and Action Afternoon 26th March 2:15-4:15pm

Our first Idling Action event will taking place at the YMCA on 26th March from 2.15pm.

There will be a training session lasting about 45 minutes. Pairs of volunteers will then be sent on to the streets in Abbey and Walcot encouraging drivers who are idling their engine to switch off. After about an hour we will meet up for refreshments and a debrief.

We are currently recruiting a team of enthusiastic volunteers who want to be part of this innovative education and behaviour change campaign to reduce localised air pollution and improve air quality in their residential and workplace community.

 

Cycle Bath calls for the withdrawal of the BaNES 20MPH report

Let’s be VERY clear that this article is exceptionally poor journalism given that at the heart of the story is a Communities, Transport, and Environment Scrutiny panel rejected report. This report is being sent out by the council.

Given national coverage that this rejected report is now getting we are calling on the council to withdraw this report as it reflects poorly on Bath and North East Somerset council and particularly the officers.

The JULY 2017 Scrutiny Panel RESOLVED to:

  • Note the report;
  • Accept that more data over a three year period for all schemes is needed to provide evidence for any future changes to the scheme;
  • Note that capital budget provision will be required to implement any future changes;
  • Await the outcome of the Department for Transport review and request a report on this to a future panel;
  • Continue to consider specific applications for 20 mph schemes especially where these relate to safety around schools;
  • Recommend to the Cabinet Member that 20mph signage be removed where it is illogical.

The data in the report showed that :-

  • Crashes in the 20mph limits had reduced by 28% in Bath.
  • Casualties in the 20mph limits had reduced by 23% in Bath.
  • The number roads with average speeds at or above 24mph had reduced by 43% when 20mph was implemented.
  • The number of roads with average speeds at or above 26mph had reduced by 78% when 20mph was implemented.

Now you may feel that these would have been worth mentioning as a finding in the report but they were excluded. Instead the report found that by looking at areas in detail they could compare the number of areas where casualties and crashes had increased or decreased without weighting or taking any note of the significance of a number. And from this they concluded that more areas had increased casualties than reduced them. This is completely bogus statistically.

I even wrote about this in May.

Dear Council,

Withdraw this report now. It’s embarrassing.

Adam Reynolds

Chair of Cycle Bath

Twitter: @awjre

 

Council to investigate Resident Friendly Day Parking Zones

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.

The Problem

  •  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

The Solution

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.

City Wide Day Parking Zones (3)City Wide Day Parking Zones.pdf

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.

Bath Key Bus Network MapBath Key Bus Network Map.pdf

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.

Bath North Quays, using pedestrians to slow down cyclists

North Quays is a piece of the puzzle that completes the vision for the Bath Enterprise Area.

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If we examine the role Bath North Quays plays within this vision we see it’s key role is to provide the major cycle route that connects the west of the city to the Bath Spa Train Station. Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 13.13.09.png

In other words it is a vital corridor for active travel.

A complete failure

However the reality of the North Quays Outline Planning Consultation is that this travel corridor has not been provided for.

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 13.18.35

Alarming it also goes against the current requirements in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, in particular IAN 195 This is a busy 30mph A road and as per the DMRB this requires cycle tracks. Segregated cycle infrastructure is the required infrastructure.

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 13.22.16

Conflict designed in

Yet what the council is proposing is that the South Quays route which will be significantly more attractive once the vision is implemented fully, should be the preferred route for cyclists to then ride along Riverside Parade, then dumping them onto the dual carriageway that is Ambury Street or, the more realistic solution, to ride the wrong way along the footpath round to the Bus Station then rejoin the carriageway on Dorchester Street.

It gets worse

Riverside Parade is also going to be prime café area with on road seating. It’s going to be a major focus for making this into a beautiful public realm for enjoying the river side. It’s brilliant, but should not be a preferred through route for the majority of people cycling from the south of the city.

newsite2big

 

They were warned

The problem is that I met Cllr Anketell-Jones on site months ago. We discussed in detail the issues around creating a cycle desire line along Riverside Parade and we raised it with the officer responsible for the enterprise area and the plan has still not changed.

Simple ask

We, Cycle Bath, are simply asking that the council actually stick to the rules and regulations they love so much and deliver something that actually meets the DMRB. Build infrastructure to modern standards.

Vision is key

The big failure with the council and how they are looking at the North Quays is to consider better fundamental changes to the build environment. My proposed ‘Living Heart’ gives a better answer to their problem.

Simplified Bath Living Heart (1).png

By closing Green Park Road and access from Corn Street to St James Parade we create a really good quiet space where the current proposed scheme works correctly.

One more thing

The proposed scheme re-opens Milk Street making it a new rat run into the heart of the city. I have no idea why a council, strapped for cash would not create one large office/resident block rather than two blocks cut through by an unnecessary new road. Not sure I’ve heard of councils creating roads.

Big problems with simple solutions

The officers who came up with this were warned, they did not listen, and are now proposing a poor implementation that goes against current regulatory guidance. There is an implicit assumption that pedestrians can be used to slow down cyclists. The Riverside Parade MUST be a destination, not the most ‘safe’ feeling route to use as a cycle cut through. Protected cycle tracks is a requirement on a high volume 30MPH A road. Failure to consider these as part of the scheme show a training issue within the council Highways team and a very real mindset issue to take cycling seriously as its own form of transport and not one that can be controlled by throwing pedestrians in cyclists way.

They are even going so far as to deliver two below value buildings by building a new unnecessary road rather than delivering one cohesive building. The council is literally taking high value land and building roads on it. You could not make this up.