B&NES Council have backed a radical but ‘elegant’ solution to some of the issues east of the city of Bath that includes parking 100 plus cars on one carriageway of the Batheaston bypass, allowing easy access to the city for visitors coming from that direction. It is hoped the plan would ease congestion in the city and also provide additional parking for those coming to shop and explore.
The plan would see little engineering work needed, just some painting on the road and is on the existing bus route. It would only require the Department for Transport to change ownership of the road to the Council. Officers are currently drawing up a technical study to check the viability of the plan.
Mark Shelford, the Transport Chief for Bath and North East Somerset Council, has said: “It is such an elegant solution to a problem… There’s no single silver bullet for Bath’s transport problems. It’s all about incremental improvements.”
Only a section of the Batheaston bypass is being looked at. It is currently a dual carriageway separated by a central reservation. Under the proposals, traffic would run in both directions on one side, while cars would park on the other. The bus would then run along the road, where there would be stops for drivers to walk to via a footpath, it is on an existing bus route, so the Council would not have to commission a new service.
A technical study is due by the end of the year. Bath currently has three park and ride sites, all on the west side of the city at Newbridge, Odd Down and Lansdown. Plans for a new Park and Ride which was to be built on Bathampton Meadows were dropped after protests, the Council has since promised to protect the meadows from future development.
Other suggestions to ease congestion and encourage more use of the park and ride sites include updating the parking charges so users pay by car rather than by passenger and to charge based on vehicle emissions.