A paradigm shift in BaNES walking and cycling policy

One thing that is difficult to comprehend is that councils cannot simply do something without that something being clearly legally defined and documented. The council was elected on a commitment to deliver Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and has spent the last year developing policy that would enshrine that approach into the DNA of the way the council operates for the foreseeable future.

The press release from the council around creating Liveable Neighbourhoods covers Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, Resident Parking Schemes, and On Street Electric Vehicle charging:

Council unveils roadmaps to cut vehicle use, improve health and tackle the Climate Emergency

These individual strategies as a whole deliver “Liveable Neighbourhoods”.

What next?

The problem of course is that strategy documents are about how, not what.

We should find out more at this:

Monday 27 July at 5pm – Liveable Neighbourhoods (and sustainable transport issues) B&NES Zoom Webinar. Chaired by Council Leader Dine Romero and featuring Cllr Joanna Wright, Cabinet Member for Transport. With the LTN strategy in place I hope we finally see some proposals at this meeting or at least a timeline for delivery.

The DfT have also set an Emergency Active Travel Fund Tranche 2 bid deadline of the 7th of August so whatever the council is doing it has to be fast about it.:

Waiting Game

For me this whole process is extremely frustrating. We’re seeing a lot of UK councils implementing pinch point closures creating Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. None of this is materialising in BaNES with only 10am-6pm road closures of certain city centre roads and Keynsham High Street. Where are the promised Low Traffic Neighbourhoods?

I’m only guessing but I suspect they wanted to publish the LTN Strategy before rolling out the proposals, but that really is only a guess.

So much quicker than expected

Just remember though, there was only £200k for LTNs in the Council 2020/21 budget. This would have delivered one maybe two LTNs and we might have been lucky to get to 5 or 6 by the next election.  Now the council has, at my calculation, £750k and core government policy to back acting fast. We could see the whole city done within months.

Circulation Plans?

The LTN strategy document provides example ‘circulation plans’ (my interpretation) that implies a whole city/town approach to delivery of LTNs which is extremely exciting.

Example for Bath

No photo description available.

WRB Bath Circulation Plan

Walk Ride Bath CIRCULATION PLAN

Comparing with our circulation plan we can see ours is a little bit more aggressive (e.g. Weston Road) and I think the Oldfield Park/Twerton area is way too big in the BaNES one, but this is only an example so it’s the beginning of a conversation.

Example for Somer Valley

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Example for Keynsham

No photo description available.

What can I do?

Engage with your local councillors and local resident association to help design and deliver a Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. If you don’t need a LTN in your area, then just wait. You might want to ask about pop-up cycle lanes on some of the major routes.

I have a feeling by the end of July we will know much much more.

I hope so anyway.

2 comments

  1. I would agree with your hunch- the focus has been to fast track provision for permanent LTNs then bid for additional DfT funding. No mean feat to get so much done so quick! Please to see Weston Road/Julian Road NOT being distributor roads in your interpretation…

    • Of note I had it confirmed that the Oldfield Road (B3111 ) between Bear Flat and Moorland Road has been declassified. So something is definitely being planned.

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