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Council to consider next step for active travel schemes

A decision on whether three schemes to improve walking and cycling routes in Bath to enable more active ways of travelling should go ahead to the next stage will be made by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s cabinet next week (June 23).

Following the consultation on the council’s active travel schemes carried out between February and March this year, a report to cabinet recommends the A4 Upper Bristol Road, A36 Beckford Road, and Combe Down to University of Bath schemes proceed to the Traffic Regulation Order stage of consultation.

Designs have been substantially revised to take into account the consultation feedback which totalled 2,380 completed questionnaires, as well as emails and letters. 91% of responses were from residents or business owners within Bath.

If the schemes are approved, the Traffic Regulation Orders will be advertised for a statutory 21-day period when residents and businesses would have a final opportunity to support or object to the proposals.

The A4 Upper Bristol Road scheme has been revised to mitigate the loss of parking spaces by providing new permit holder spaces and places where people can drop off or unload. The amended proposals also include additional improvements to a pedestrian crossing, cycle parking and changes to the bus stop designs.

The city centre to university scheme is being split into parts. As there was strong support for the Beckford Road proposals, they will go on to the next stage. The proposed North Road changes are not being progressed at the moment.

The council remains fully committed to providing safe, strategic cycle routes from the city centre to the university and the large educational and employment sites in Claverton Down. Therefore an additional in-depth engagement, such as a citizens’ jury, will involve the community on improved ways of getting to the university.

The main revisions to the proposed Combe Down to University of Bath scheme are to alter the design for the proposed crossing near the southern end of Copseland.

The A4 Upper Bristol Road scheme and the City Centre to University of Bath scheme are being funded by £500,000 from the Government’s Active Travel Fund to enable more people to walk or cycle for local trips. The council submitted the successful bid to the Department for Transport through the West of England Combined Authority.

The Combe Down to University of Bath scheme is funded separately under the council’s Transport Improvement Programme.

Councillor Manda Rigby, cabinet member for Transport, said: “Taking into account thousands of comments and good ideas from the public on these three schemes, the final designs have been revised to better meet residents’ needs for accessibility, parking and safety when walking and cycling. There is much detail in the report, which we will consider carefully in order to reach the next stage in achieving an effective solution for active travel in Bath.

“We must highlight that the Government has made it very clear that it will only fund active travel schemes that meaningfully change the way roads are used through proper segregation of cycling. If our schemes do not meet these criteria, we will lose this round of funding and likely the chance to bid for further funding in future. We have to provide active travel schemes that significantly improve facilities for walking and cycling around the city.”

Councillor Sarah Warren, deputy Leader and cabinet member for Climate Emergency & Sustainable Travel, said: We are fully committed to improving strategic facilities for active travel from the city centre to Claverton Down and the university, and we need to consult further with residents and commuters this year, to ensure we have identified the safest and most acceptable design and route that will enable the most people to enjoy safer cycling.”

If approved, construction of the active travel schemes must be completed by March 2022.

  • The A4 Upper Bristol Road scheme proposes to install new cycle lanes that are separate from motor traffic, between Midland Road and Charlotte Street. Road crossings will be prioritised for those on foot, a section of on-street parking bays will need to be removed and some of these will be re-provided nearby.

  • The A36 Beckford Road scheme proposes a new eastbound cycle lane separated from motor traffic along Beckford Rd, with some on-street parking re-provided nearby. Further public engagement is recommended to be commissioned this year to decide the safest and most strategic route between the city centre and University.

  • The Combe Down to University of Bath scheme proposes to provide safe and convenient pedestrian and cycle crossings on both Bathwick Hill and Widcombe Hill at their junctions with Copseland.

Active Travel schemes are separate from the council’s Liveable Neighbourhoods programme, which will also go before cabinet on June 23, and which aims to create healthy, vibrant communities by reducing car dominance of residential streets.

View the report on Active Travel Fund Scheme and the cabinet papers here. The cabinet meeting is at 6.30pm on Wednesday, June 23 at the Guildhall in Bath.

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