Some of the measures set out by the Council include:
- working with Highways England and the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to reduce to a minimum through traffic from Bath including looking at a possible eastern relief road;
- holding discussions with the West of England and South Glos Council about improving the signage and route to and from Lansdown P&R, particularly at the junction of Freezing Hill Lane and the A420, to make Lansdown a more convenient option for those travelling from the M4/A46 and enable potential future expansion;
- improving access to Odd Down P&R by repositioning the bus lane and opening it up to cars accessing the P&R, again enabling potential greater use of this existing site in future years;
- holding further discussions with Wiltshire about potential opportunities further out from the city, potentially linked to an extended MetroWest rail service;
- undertaking a scoping study for a light rail (tram) system in Bath and whether this could open up future opportunities to remove vehicles from the city;
- improving walking and cycling routes;
- undertaking a study of ‘School Run’ transport needs and solutions and consider any further opportunities to expand the Council’s existing ‘safe routes to school’ programme.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip) said: “Improving transport and tackling Bath’s traffic problems remain one of our highest priorities, which is why we have set out a range of measures aimed at addressing this important issue. This includes reducing through traffic in the city, looking into the feasibility of a light-rail tram system, improving access routes to our existing Park & Rides, investing in local rail services, and holding further discussions with neighbouring councils about potential opportunities further out from the city.
“It’s no secret that the eastern Park & Ride has long been a challenging issue for the city, with strong views on both sides of the debate. However, after talking with engineers, visiting the locations again and discussing options with our partners, we have taken this decision – which recognises the wider picture and incorporates the broadest view of new opportunities.”
Councillor Mark Shelford (Conservative, Lyncombe), Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways, said: “I have asked our officers to look at setting out alternative transport and travel schemes that can be considered to reduce the levels of congestion on the roads in the east of the city and subsequently included in a delivery plan. We are conscious of the impact of too much traffic on too few roads, particularly at peak times, and committed to dealing with the issues.
“No single transport initiative in isolation has the power to transform our travel choices, cut congestion, improve air quality or ease parking issues. That is why we also asked officers to review all of the potential transport initiatives as well as new opportunities from trams to the possibility of increasing the frequency of rail services to the east.
“One of the game changers is the formation of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA). Over the next 30 years, £1bn of investment from central government and other sources will be made available to support the economic growth of our region. This level of investment unlocks opportunities at a scale not seen before and we need to factor this into our long term planning.”