1. Following extensive consultation with the FoBRA Transport Group and FoBRA members, the Chairman submitted our proposed traffic movement plan to the Council leadership on 6 July. A copy of Robin's letter is on the FoBRA website: http://www.bathresidents.org.uk/cms/uploads/traffic-movement-paper-to-dine-6-july-20.pdf The traffic movement plan is here: http://www.bathresidents.org.uk/cms/uploads/fobra-traffic-movement-plan-for-bath-ltn-(003)-6-july-20.pdf
2. The 'Transport and air pollution' Priority on the website has been updated to reflect this and other developments – see http://www.bathresidents.org.uk/fobra-priorities.php?Transport-and-Air-Pollution-4
3. Meanwhile, the Council has been working since the beginning of the year with officers and consultants (Jacobs) on a range of transport issues. The results will be considered by the Climate Emergency and Sustainability Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel on 20 July, following which the issues will move into the public arena. The report can be found under the title Liveable Neighbourhoods, in the 20 July agenda reports pack here: https://democracy.bathnes.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=636&MId=5538&Ver=4 (a direct link to the paper does not appear to work). It contains three strategies, covering Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), residents' parking schemes and electric vehicle (EV) charging.
4. The Low Traffic Neighbourhood strategy is at page 27. The objectives are to:
• Improve air quality and respond to the climate emergency;
• Improve public realm and quality of life - creating better places for residents, businesses and visitors, as well as sympathetically accommodating emerging EV infrastructure requirements;
• Enable more local trips by active modes of travel and public transport, through providing easy, safe and comfortable routes within neighbourhoods;
• Reduce the impact of "rat-running" vehicles along unsuitable residential roads, to support prosperity and improve community connectivity, whilst safeguarding access for residents and the needs of mobility impaired people.
The report sets out the principles of LTNs, and identifies problems and issues affecting Bath including the 'Georgian heritage area'. The paper sets out a scheme (summarised at page 79) for identifying, prioritising and implementing LTNs in consultation with local communities. No specific LTN schemes are identified in the paper. At page 69, an action is identified to develop a framework to identify potential areas which may be suitable for a low traffic neighbourhood, including establishing the main and local road networks, as well as key public transport and active travel routes. This is highly relevant to the proposals set out in FoBRA's traffic movement paper and will be a key point for discussion with the Council.
5. The proposed approach to the implementation of residents' parking schemes in conjunction with the introduction of LTNs is at page 93. This is likely to include:
• review of all existing residents' parking zones in Bath, in terms of boundaries, size and hours of operation;
• review of permitting and associated charges, to ensure schemes cover the cost of parking implementation and enforcement, as well as encourage modal shift;
• a strategic city-wide review of on-street parking requirements in Bath, including the identification of potential new residents' parking zones, in collaboration with low traffic neighbourhoods and wider transport policy objectives;
• strategic allocation of road and kerb space with a clear user hierarchy to reduce commuting and local trips by car;
• technologies to manage kerb demand (i.e. digital permitting, automated charging etc.)
6. The strategy for on-street electric vehicle charging is set out at page 119. B&NES will encourage and facilitate a switch to low-emission vehicles as part of the overall package of measures to help reduce transport-related emissions, and will work towards the provision of a network of public on-street charging points by 2030.
7. These strategies, which are aimed at improving air quality and helping to achieve a 25% reduction in car trips by 2030, are welcome, although much remains to be done to develop detailed plans. It is disappointing that the Council did not see fit to engage with FoBRA and other stakeholders through the Bath Transport Commission or some similar forum in the course of this work. It is to be hoped that B&NES Council will now engage with the detailed proposals FoBRA has made for a traffic movement plan including an overall reduction in the volume of traffic in the city, a permanent weight limit on Cleveland Bridge, treating central Bath as a low traffic area, and a city centre LTN.
8. A new Listed Buildings application has been made for the Cleveland Bridge repair work. Following discussion by the Transport Group, I submitted a response on 7 July. Our response urges the Council to impose a permanent weight limit and to press the Department for Transport to remove the A46-A36 from the national Strategic Route Network. B&NES Highways will make proposals separately for diversion routes during the works, so I wrote in parallel to the Cabinet Members for transport saying that the closure must also be carefully managed to prevent large numbers of vehicles (of all types, but especially HGVs) using the city centre as a short cut. There is also a danger of rat-running in other residential areas. See http://www.bathresidents.org.uk/cms/uploads/cleveland-bridge-lba-comments-by-fobra-july-2020-with-covering-note.pdf
9. The Council has introduced social distancing measures in the city centre and some other areas such as Larkhall (where they were not universally popular). The measures include temporary widening of pavements using red-and-white barriers, and some closures of roads, notably Milsom Street, to traffic. The Council has canvassed the public for suggestions to make walking and cycling more appealing, under the Liveable Streets banner: https://bathnesliveablestreets.commonplace.is/ . Members are encouraged to put forward their suggestions if they have not already done so. There is a huge number of suggestions already and it is not clear how the Council intend to process them.
Patrick Rotheram, Transport Lead 16 July 2020