Success! Pressure from Bath cyclists leads to council reconsideration of A4 development

Council's new plans now include cycle paths and wider roads

by Sarah Barth   November 10, 2013  

Bath Crescent.jpg

A petition by cyclists has led to council bosses considering a new cycle lane in Bath.

Regeneration plans by Bath and North East Somerset Council would, cyclists said, turn the A4 London road into a danger zone.

More than 660 people have signed the protest petition which demanded "a safe passage for cyclists all the way from Morrisons up to and over the Cleveland Place junction", instead of the pinch-points and badly laid-out parking spaces protesters said had been laid out in plans.

It adds: "The area should be regenerated by making it a pleasant place to explore on foot or by bike, not by squeezing in more cars."

Councillor Roger Symonds told the Bath Chronicle: "It seems that the campaign by cyclists to improve cycling on the London Road is being listened to.

“It now needs action by the council. If cycling was embedded in highways everyday work, there would be no need for campaigns such as the one on London Road."

A council spokesman said: "We were delighted with the response and welcome the comments made by cycling groups.

“Transport engineers are continuing to look at these comments and we are now looking at options to develop our plans further to strike a balance between the needs of cyclists, pedestrians, and vehicles.

"We have now updated the scheme to widen the carriageway on the approach to the signalled crossing at Cleveland Bridge (the main area of concern) so that a marked cycle lane can be included through this area, to prevent cyclists feeling they need to join the main flow of traffic."

Also in Bath, work has begun on the route linking Bathampton and Batheaston to Bath city centre, providing an alternative to the busy London Road.

The path, which has attracted £910,000 in Council funds and the Local Sustainable Transport Fund in investment, is connected to National Cycle Route 4.

Councillor Caroline Roberts told Now Bath: “Better cycle routes are one of the Council’s methods of increasing sustainable transport use, tackling congestion and improving air quality.

“More cycle improvement projects are planned, including Seven Dials, which will also encourage people to use bikes for their daily commutes and for leisure.”

6 user comments

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Council bosses should have a look at what their opposite numbers do in Utrecht, which has a similar road layout.

They just make drivers go the long way round, ensuring that, as far as possible, it is always quicker to cycle between any two given points.

In this particular case, the solution is both obvious and cheap. Make the A4 one way for drivers (ie outbound). In other words, one side of the carriageway is one way for drivers, and the whole of the other side is two way for cyclists.

No need for expensive infrastructure, just six bollards and a few diversion signs would do the trick. The key is not to block any given street completely, but just make it slightly more dificult to drive than cycle.

You cyclists should stop campaigning for relatively expensive, and slowly developed, infrastructure, and start pressing for radical (but affordable) solutions instead.

Call it the "Panadol" solution if you like - "fast acting, easy to digest, and extremely effective".

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
10th November 2013 - 14:42

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so council bosses in utrecht closed the single main traffic artery into the city from the east to cars? that *is* pretty radical.

my cynical side says that isn't what they did though.

cactuscat's picture

posted by cactuscat [301 posts]
10th November 2013 - 17:37

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cactuscat wrote:
so council bosses in utrecht closed the single main traffic artery into the city from the east to cars? that *is* pretty radical.

my cynical side says that isn't what they did though.

No, I agree they haven't done that. I used Utrecht as an example because of the way they have used bollards extensively to make it difficult, but not impossible, for people to use their cars, aiming to make each journey more tedious than using a bike. I agree that Bath's topography means drivers head through town on arterial routes, but some of the side streets are more than wide enough to make "one way" diversions, if parking is banned on those streets. The key to cycle uptake is to make cycle routes direct, and driving routes less so, and this can be done through one way systems, but always making the inbound route more convoluted, rather than the outbound route.

There are many ways to skin a cat, but I'm suggesting radical solutions that are affordable and repeatable, across an entire city. One flagship scheme, at great expense, does very little to get people on their bikes if 99 percent of Bath remains perceptively dangerous.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
10th November 2013 - 18:12

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Pretty sure this was a petition to make it safe to cycle, not making you need to cycle.

Some people think cycle routes should replace roads and hence force drivers onto bikes, thats part of the health argument.

Many cyclists just want to be safe and dont have an agenda to make it harder to drive, as the mostly drive also.

Why not accept good cycling provision AND car use, where it can be made available, Neil753?

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [409 posts]
10th November 2013 - 23:09

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STATO wrote:
Pretty sure this was a petition to make it safe to cycle, not making you need to cycle.

Some people think cycle routes should replace roads and hence force drivers onto bikes, thats part of the health argument.

Many cyclists just want to be safe and dont have an agenda to make it harder to drive, as the mostly drive also.

Why not accept good cycling provision AND car use, where it can be made available, Neil753?


Because we don't have the space, the natural inclination, or the money, to create an entirely separate network of direct cycle routes. At best, we'll end up with a few segregated cycle paths that don't link up.

The future lies with the bicycle, or variants of the bicycle. The sooner we stop prioritising travel by car, the sooner we can make local economies more sustainable.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
11th November 2013 - 1:16

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I signed this petition, with my reasons why, as I cycled this stretch of road for 3 years. I had a left turn at the end of London Rd across Cleveland bridge and a (nervous) right turn into Thomas St which is another impatient motorist Bath 'rat run'. London Rd is in fact a trunk road that connects the A46/A4 to the A36 so, along with cars coming into Bath, has long distance drivers and HGVs; a bypass was cancelled years ago (money saving and some 'NIMBYism' I am led to believe). It's an awful stretch of road for motorists needing to get onto the A36. After being knocked off once (misunderstanding, so no one at fault), numerous close passes by cars and having to seriously concentrate (there are bits that if you slipped or lost your balance you'd potentially be dead), a house move (short distance) opened up another option which is very slightly longer but a whole lot less stressful. The best thing for London Rd in Bath is to build a bypass. Tinkering with what's there now is akin to putting lipstick on a pig, but at least it won't get any worse with the petition being successful.

Shades

posted by Shades [161 posts]
11th November 2013 - 10:45

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