Controversial plans to introduce a new bus gate on a busy street in the centre of Bath are set to go ahead from this November, Bath and North East Somerset Council has confirmed.
The new bus gate is to be implemented on the east-bound carriageway of Dorchester Street and will operate between 10am and 6pm seven days a week.
The plans have sparked significant opposition from local residents concerned about the impact of displaced traffic on nearby roads. A traffic assessment by the Council has suggested that up to 160 vehicles an hour could be displaced onto the A36 Rossiter Road as a result of the new bus gate, with up to 130 vehicles an hour displaced onto North Parade.
The decision to go ahead with the new bus gate was also the subject of an official ‘call-in’ by the Council’s opposition Conservative councillors, who had called for the plans to be put on hold until work is completed on the nearby Rossiter Road traffic project. Conservatives have also criticised the Liberal Democrat-run Council for failing to be clear about how the success of the new bus gate will measured.
Conservative councillors have said that as the Council has decided to push ahead with the plans, they hope the authority keeps the new bus gate under constant review to assess its impact.
Conservative shadow transport spokesman, Cllr Anthony Clarke (Cons Lansdown), said:
“These sorts of piecemeal traffic schemes won’t do anything to alleviate Bath’s traffic problems. In fact, done in isolation, road closures like this could easily make things worse. This is why Conservatives have been pressing the Council for the past two years on the need for a proper transport strategy.
“Many residents clearly remain very concerned about the potential impact of the Dorchester Street bus gate on nearby roads. The Council has failed to persuade people of why it’s needed or it’s hoping to achieve, leaving many to believe it as simply designed as another revenue-raising cash cow for the Council.”
Meanwhile, in answer to a question tabled by Conservative councillors, the Council has also revealed that the target completion date for the long-awaited Rossiter Road traffic project has been pushed back to November next year.
Cllr Anthony Clarke added:
“We hope that the Council will keep the Dorchester Street bus gate under review to assess its impact, particularly when work begins on the long-awaited project to divert traffic away from Widcombe Parade and onto Rossiter Road.”