1. The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has published its Joint Local Transport Plan 4 (JLTP4) https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/travelwest/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Joint-Local-Transport-Plan-4.pdf
2. JLTP4 is the statutory transport plan for B&NES and the other three Local Authorities in the area. It represents a significant improvement on JLTP3, with more emphasis on traffic reduction and modal shift from cars to public transport. However the main focus is on 'joining up the region' rather than the issues of the urban centres of Bristol and Bath where most people live and work and where most transport movements occur. The Bath Transport Strategy is referred to as a subsidiary plan, which is good, but there is no real articulation between the two documents. 'Early investment schemes under development' include a 'high quality north-south route around the east of Bath', park & ride facilities to the east of Bath, a Bath Cycle Network, a 'Bath City Centre Package', and a new rail station at Saltford, all by 2026. Long term (10-20 years) 'Transformational Major Schemes' include light rail for the Bristol-Bath corridor and Bath corridors (Lansdown, London Road and Odd Down). 'Other longer term opportunities' include a Bath Area Bus Network Improvement Scheme by 2026. The Plan retains a somewhat uncritical view of the value of coaches to Bath, and reference to a new coach strategy for Bath has been removed.
3. Interestingly, the consultation showed public support for congestion charging and a workplace parking levy to raise funds for transport improvements. Council Tax and Business Rate rises were not well supported.
4. Following on from JLTP4, WECA has launched consultations on a Bus Strategy and a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan. Draft FoBRA comments will be circulated.
5. The 18 tonne weight limit on Cleveland Bridge came into force on 3 February, pending repair works which are expected to take place later this year. It is reported that this has had a marked impact on traffic volumes along London Road, Bathwick Street, Warminster Road and Pulteney Road, although it has made no discernible difference to traffic in the central area.
6. We proposed in our comments on the closure http://www.bathresidents.org.uk/cms/uploads/cleveland-bridge-lba-comments-by-fobra.pdf that a permanent HGV weight limit should be imposed after the completion of the works and that B&NES Council should discuss with DfT replacing this route with a more suitable alternative route such as the A350. To date, the Council has not taken this up with DfT. However, Manda Rigby, Councillor for Bathwick, has launched a public petition to DfT calling for a permanent limit (circulated to members by the Secretary on 14 February). Unfortunately, the petition was launched on the Lib Dem website and the Executive has concluded that FoBRA should not sign, despite the worthy objective, in case this would be seen as compromising our party political neutrality. Member Associations and their members might wish to support the petition. They should be aware that if they do, the small print states that: "If you submit this form, the Liberal Democrats, locally and nationally, may use information in it, including your political views, to further our objectives, share it with our elected representatives and contact you in future using any of the means provided. You may opt out...by contacting us."
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs)
7. B&NES held a well-attended and useful 'briefing' on LTNs on 28 January which was addressed by Councillor Clyde Loakes from Waltham Forest in Greater London, who gave an inspirational address on the introduction of LTNs in the Borough. Cllr. Loakes gave a similar presentation to B&NES Officers in the afternoon which can be seen on this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCgW60Is_QU
8. B&NES Council is currently revising its policies on Resident Parking Zones (RPZ) and LTNs and plans to agree a revised policy during 2020. FoBRA is supportive of the principle of LTNs and three Associations – Camden, LCA and CARA – are working on ideas for LTNs in their areas. However, LTNs will inevitably displace traffic onto other roads. Most of the so-called 'arterial' routes in Bath are already full to capacity for much of the day, and most of these routes are also residential (eg London Road, Bathwick Street, Paragon, Lansdown Road, Wellsway and the A36). Detailed and sensitive consultation will be needed in all areas that will be affected, not just in the areas proposed to become LTNs.
9. A traffic movement plan for traffic displaced from LTNs is essential, as the impacts on those who live on routes that would be designated as arterial or distributor roads must be fully weighed and mitigation measures included in the LTN proposals to avoid significant increases in traffic on those roads. The introduction of LTNs should be accompanied by measures to reduce overall traffic levels (eg congestion charging, parking control, not building a car park on the Rec). The central area is the most densely residential area of the city, as well as the main destination for visitors, and should be treated as an LTN in its own right. For example, the 20 mph limit should be extended to the whole area.
10. On 8 February Jeremy Labram on behalf of FoBRA attended a conference organised by Bath Area Trams Association. As noted above, JLTP4 refers to trams in Bath as a possibility in the longer term.
Bike stores (or 'Hangars')
11. These are lockable sheds, occupying approximately one on-street car parking space, for residents to store their bikes, which can be a particular problem in streets with numbers of buildings in multiple occupation where storage space is limited. Rachael Hushon is proposing that FoBRA should promote a pilot scheme on Rivers Street. It is for consideration whether FoBRA should take the lead on the installation of these structures on the public highway. For discussion.
Patrick Rotheram, Transport Lead 26 February 2020