A petition calling on Bath and North East Somerset Council to halt plans to create a new bus gate on Dorchester Street in Bath has been launched by Conservative councillors.
The petition calls on the Liberal Democrat-run authority to put a hold on the idea until work has been completed on developing an overarching transport strategy for the city.
The campaign has been launched after the Council’s ruling Liberal Democrat Cabinet agreed last week to move ahead with plans to create a part-time bus lane on the eastbound carriageway of Dorchester Street operational between 10am and 6pm.
Conservatives have raised concerns that the proposals as they stand will create additional traffic on the A36 through Widcombe and along North Parade, whilst producing little benefit for pedestrians and cyclists on Dorchester Street.
Conservatives have also accused the Liberal Democrats of ignoring the results of the Council’s own consultation, which showed 62% of respondents to be opposed to the idea of closing Dorchester Street to cars. They have also criticised the Council for altering the proposals at the last minute to extend the time of operation of the bus gate from 4pm to 6pm.
Residents are urged to sign the petition online at www.bathconservativesurveys.com.
Conservative Deputy Leader, Cllr Anthony Clarke (Cons, Lansdown), said:
“The Council’s plans for a new bus gate on Dorchester Street have been very poorly thought through and need to go back to the drawing board.
“We are urging residents to sign our petition in order to press the Lib Dems to reconsider their approach.
“B&NES itself has admitted that these plans will result in even more cars using the already heavily congested A36, just at the time work is due to start on the long-awaited Rossiter Road project. As the bus lane will only be part time and eastbound-only it will also have few benefits for pedestrians and cyclists, who will still have to contend with traffic heading west along Dorchester Street.
“Perhaps residents would see more logic in this scheme if it was part of a wider transport plan, but this is not what the Lib Dems are proposing, it is simply another piecemeal road closure.
“At the moment it simply seems like another way of raising money from fines on motorists whilst adding to congestion and producing few benefits. The Lib Dems should halt these plans and reconsider them once the Rossiter Road project is complete and as part of a wider transport strategy.”