Air pollution from traffic is a key concern for residents. Traffic also has a major impact on the appearance and amenity of Bath. Queen Square is little more than a roundabout on the A4, while the Circus is a busy rat-run. Except in a tiny central area, vehicles have priority over pedestrians and there is little provision for cyclists. Pollution and vibration from vehicles are taking their toll on the historic buildings. What would be an unsatisfactory situation in any city is an absurdity in a World Heritage City which depends heavily on tourism.
B&NES Council already has several policies for reducing traffic. The Core Strategy calls for a largely car-free city centre. The Bath Transport Strategy, approved in 2014 with all-party support, envisages reduced traffic intrusion particularly in the historic core. The Public Realm and Movement Strategy (PRMS) is an excellent plan to transform the centre, giving priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. The essential next step is a transport plan to implement the PRMS and the Transport Strategy.
FOBRA is a member of the Bath Alliance for Transport and Public Realm, launched in November 2016. The Alliance includes 15 leading Bath organisations and urges B&NES to develop a transport plan, based on a Vision of Bath as:
'A beautiful city in a green setting, with vibrant public spaces, a historic centre free of all but essential traffic*, clean air, good mobility and excellent transport infrastructure'.
Traffic on the key arterial routes must also be tackled. Through traffic must be removed. An alternative route for HGVs which currently use the A36-A46 route through Bath is essential.
FOBRA supports a Park and Ride (P&R) to the east of Bath. All the P&Rs should operate later into the evening and have secure overnight parking, so they can be used by evening and overnight visitors.
We support more pedestrian access, cycling, better public transport and improved freight delivery, as proposed in the Transport Strategy. But these will have a limited impact if motorists remain able to drive into central Bath and park at will. So we support the proposals to develop a traffic management plan for the city and reduce visitor parking in the centre.
* eg. Deliveries, cleansing, buses, taxis, key business needs, disabled, and access for residents to their homes
23rd November 2016