Dorchester Street bus gate – ‘significant disruption for little benefit’

Conservative councillors have raised concerns that plans to introduce a new bus gate on Dorchester Street in Bath will simply prove another money-raising measure which produces little benefit to cutting traffic.

Liberal Democrat-run Bath and North East Somerset Council has published plans to create a new eastbound bus lane on Dorchester Street which will operate between 10am and 4pm. However, the westbound lane will remain open to all traffic, despite the fact this is considered to be the direction which carries the most traffic.

The Council’s report also states that parts of the A36 will see up to an extra 160 cars an hour travelling eastbound as a result of creating the new bus lane, with an extra 130 vehicles travelling westbound on North Parade.

The watered-down proposals come after 62% of respondents to the Council’s consultation said they were opposed to the idea of a 24-hour car ban on Dorchester Street.

Conservative Deputy Leader Councillor Anthony Clarke (Lansdown) said:

“The trouble is the Council has now watered down the Dorchester Street proposals so much it’s hard to see what it will actually achieve, other than raising more money for the Council through yet more bus-gate fines.

“There will still be considerable disruption for traffic along North Parade and the A36, with hundreds more cars travelling through Widcombe along Rossiter Road and Pulteney Road. This will come at the same time work is due to start on the Rossiter Road traffic scheme. These piecemeal traffic schemes don’t seem to be thought through in any kind of integrated manner and should instead be part of a wider transport strategy.

“The Council should monitor these plans carefully and be willing to back down if they do not prove effective. It should not take the 18-months the Council proposes to assess whether this idea has worked, though it’s not clear by what measure the Council will deem this to have been a success.”