Adam Reynolds, chair of CycleBath and member of the Transition Bath Transport Group is trying to change the mindset of the Council away from a focus on road and car park building towards encouraging Bathonian’s to walk, cycle and use public transport.
As he points out there are 31,000 local car journeys and 4,500 school children are dropped off by car each day in Bath, but the building of the A36/A46 might only take 6,000 cars off our roads He was interviewed this week for an article in the Bath Chronicle entitled “Is Bath traffic bad because too many people commute by car from one part of city to the other?” which has sparked a lively debate. His main point is that in a small city like Bath which can be walked end to end in 45 minutes or cycled in 20 minutes why are so many people making short car journeys. Shifting people out of their cars, would not only reduce congestion and pollution but save money on very expensive infrastructure structure projects like the Bathampton Meadows Park and Ride and the A36/A46 link road which are likely to cost up to £100 million at a time when council’s are short of money, both of which would be environmentally destructive.
This news comes in a week when it was revealed 30% of the population i.e. 20 million people are physically inactive . And, Sir Muir Gray, a leading figure in Public Health suggested type 2 diabetes which affects almost 10% of the population be renamed as ‘walking deficiency syndrome’; type 2 diabetes costs the NHS around 10%, or £10 billion of its annual budget.
So, what alternatives do the council have to their policy of building more roads and car parks, and encouraging people out of their cars. Here are a few we could suggest:
- Workplace parking levy
- More investment in walking and cycling infrastructure
- Increasing both casual and permit parking charges particularly for diesels; it is still cheaper to drive into Bath than take the bus
- Low carbon congestion zone
- Investment in public buses, or a cable car
- Implement Adam’s ‘Living Heart Transport Plan‘
Some of which cost little, or are self-financing, others increase revenue for the council.
Should the council’s Transport Department shift its focus from that of road building to introduce some of the measures we have outlined above as a way of reducing pollution, congestion and making us healthier? We would be interested in hearing your views firstname.lastname@example.org ?