Six years after it made national and local headlines, the controversial £1m A367 bus lane on the approach to Odd Down has come under the spot light again.
B&NES Councillor Karen Walker (Independent, Peasedown) has called for a re-think over use of the lane and which vehicles have priority.
In a question to the Council Cabinet last Wednesday night, she said: “Currently the people commuting into Bath from the Somer Valley in the morning frequently have to queue as far as Peasedown St John.
“I do believe with some work we could improve this situation.
“The bus lane which starts on the plateau of the A367 is currently used for buses, taxis and bikes. I would like to see this lane moved to the middle and include the cars using the Park & Ride also.
“This is how it works at Brislington with great effect. The traffic going into town would therefore use the outside lane.”
Back in 2009 an investigation led by former Peasedown councillor Nathan Hartley revealed that the previous Conservative administration has spent a massive £900,000 on purchasing land and re-painting tarmac to lay just 700 metres of bus lane.
The story, branded as a waste of tax payers money, made headlines in newspapers across the country from Liverpool to Edinburgh and from Belfast to London. It even got a mention in satirical magazine, Private Eye.
Six years later, Cllr Karen Walker believes history has shown that this £1m wasn’t well spent with queues into the city still longer than ever.
She added: “We’ve seen little improvement after this frivolous spending of money, and now the council needs to re-think the use of this lane and the wider road layout in this area.
“At the present time there is no incentive for commuters to use this Park and Ride, they even have to queue unnecessarily because of the current layout.
“Upon the approach to Bath drivers actually have to drive past where they will be parking to be able to turn into the Park & Ride. The entrance is at the wrong end!”
In a response to Cllr Walker, the council leadership acknowledged that changes could be made and that even creating a southern entrance to the Odd Down Park & Ride has been considered, but that “Currently there is insufficient budget to undertake a scheme of this magnitude and is not identified as a priority scheme.”
Cllr Walker added: “With the council spending excessive amounts of money in areas like Rossiter Road, London Road and Keynsham it would be hugely welcomed if they decided to spend a bit of cash on this side of the city too.
“With a strong desire to ease traffic congestion in and out of Bath, I’m disappointed that these practical suggestions for the A367 haven’t been given more support.
“I’d like to call on my fellow Somer Valley councillors in Midsomer Norton, Radstock and Westfield to back these changes too. It’s for the benefit of all our residents.”