Bath Chronicle

Traf­fic schemes will cre­ate new rat-runs

- Bath and North East Somerset · Bath · Bathwick

“The road to Hell is paved with good in­ten­tions”, which neatly sums up my view of the low traf­fic neigh­bour­hood (LTN) schemes. I sus­pect that once again B&NES will be em­brac­ing this ini­tia­tive as an­other way of get­ting rid of the pri­vate mo­torist, cov­er­ing our city in ne­glected cy­cle lanes, and see­ing 90-year-olds on elec­tric bikes crawl­ing up Bath­wick Hill and mothers with chil­dren in lit­tle trail­ers do­ing the same!

The scheme is fa­tally flawed in many re­spects. A vo­cif­er­ous few res­i­dents and parish coun­cils will push for the changes, it is re­ported, with lit­tle re­gard for its im­pact on ad­join­ing two-way artery roads, which will in­herit all the redi­rected traf­fic. They will be­come the new rat-runs where con­gested traf­fic, with en­gines run­ning, pol­lutes the at­mos­phere with toxic fumes and noise. For ev­ery low-traf­fic area there will be a high-traf­fic one. As demon­strated by the last Lib Dem ad­min­is­tra­tion, who in­stalled the bus-gate, sim­ply push­ing the traf­fic else­where isn’t the an­swer to B&NES’ many un­re­solved traf­fic prob­lems.

The con­sul­ta­tion sur­vey is a “spe­cial piece of work” in it­self. While in my opin­ion very “flawed”, it is the only op­tion for res­i­dents of Bath to voice their con­dem­na­tion of this “crass” scheme.

Should you de­cide to re­spond, I think, to read all the gob­blede­gook, and work with a clear mind, you will need at least an hour of your time. Be­ware of the, in my opin­ion, “loaded ques­tions”, such as the one that asks you if you strongly agree with all sorts of tempt­ing ad­van­tages of the scheme (such as re­duc­ing rat-runs etc.). This is clev­erly worded to elicit a “strongly agree” an­swer, which once given will, I sus­pect, swiftly negate all your “strongly dis­agree” an­swers and give your ap­proval to LTNS.

I think a much safer way to lodge your dis­ap­proval would be to write to your lo­cal coun­cil­lors (es­pe­cially if she hap­pens to be the cab­i­net mem­ber for high­ways)!

All sorts of other un­der­tak­ings come in­cluded, such as planters (see those in Snowhill), changes to res­i­dents’ per­mit schemes, that may end up in your wife hav­ing to walk home from park­ing the car miles away late at night, or in the early hours. All this be­cause I doubt that B&NES will in­vest the nec­es­sary re­sources to “po­lice” the scheme. Blue Badge hold­ers are not for­got­ten, so I sug­gest you read what is pro­posed, as the devil is in the de­tail.

Brave new park-and-ride fa­cil­i­ties are of­fered, but the Con­ser­va­tives lost a lo­cal elec­tion over the Eastern P&R pro­pos­als.

Traf­fic calm­ing rears its dis­cred­ited head again, de­spite adding to noise and air pol­lu­tion and im­ped­ing the progress of emer­gency ve­hi­cles.

Why oh why is B&NES still go­ing ahead with the CAZ ini­tia­tive, when other cities have either de­ferred or com­pletely aban­doned the idea? Do they see it as an­other rev­enue stream, once the enor­mous set-up costs have been found? The me­chan­ics of it will do fur­ther last­ing dam­age to our her­itage city i.e. cam­eras, signs and lash­ings of bright paint on our roads.

I would dis­suade your read­ers from be­liev­ing that the LTNS will only be a tem­po­rary mea­sure, and that fur­ther views would be sought be­fore mak­ing them per­ma­nent. I fear they would be dif­fi­cult if not im­pos­si­ble to re­verse, as I have spent the last 10 years try­ing to get an of­fend­ing speed ramp re­moved, all to no avail.

B&NES have ma­jor work to do deal­ing with all our ex­ist­ing ra­truns, with­out cre­at­ing new ones.

It is re­ported that more than 40 per cent of us would never buy an elec­tric car, and be­cause of all the pre­cious met­als used in their bat­ter­ies, I doubt that they are as ecofriendl­y as claimed!

Given that e-cars have to park up while charg­ing, where will they all park them­selves now that our city streets have been cleared of all the on-street park­ing places? P Bow­den Bath

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