Parking spaces are set to be removed to make way for new segregated cycle lanes in Bath.
Council leaders have voted to press ahead with active travel schemes for Upper Bristol Road and Beckford Road after plans for North Road were put on hold following opposition.
Bath and North East Somerset Council will assemble a “citizens’ jury” to find the most appropriate safe, strategic cycle route to improve between the city centre and the University of Bath.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting on 23rd June, Councillor Sarah Warren, who holds the sustainable transport brief, said: “There may be people who cannot yet see the logic but please know that tonight’s schemes are a small part of a bigger vision of a better future for the whole district.
“The way to that future is frustratingly slow – we must take small but deliberate steps but we can and will regain permanently many of the benefits of clean air and quiet safe streets that we all experienced in the first Covid lockdown last spring.”
The proposals for Upper Bristol Road will see 40 parking spaces removed to make way for new segregated cycle lanes in both directions between Midland Road and Charlotte Street, with continuous footways at most side road junctions to prioritise pedestrians over vehicles.
After feedback from residents, permit holder parking spaces will be provided in nearby streets.
Cycle lanes continue through bus stops so cyclists don’t have to pull out around buses, using a ‘floating bus stop’ design.
An eastbound cycle lane and continuous footways are also proposed in Beckford Road, where 28 parking spaces will be removed.
In addition, there will be an experimental camera-enforced bus gate on North Road east of King Edward’s School to provide a largely traffic-free route for cyclists, and an experiment to make Cleveland Walk one-way.
Terms of the funding for the schemes – from £500,000 from the Government’s Active Travel Fund – mean they have to be completed by March 2022.
Traffic regulation orders will be advertised for 21 days, giving residents and businesses a final opportunity to support or object to the proposals.
Ousted transport cabinet member Joanna Wright defected from the Liberal Democrats to the Greens after claiming she had been asked to “dump” the original North Road active travel scheme.
She said the u-turn would give ammunition to those who actively oppose the Lib Dems’ liveable neighbourhoods proposals, saying: “Those who do not want change will at every opportunity remind this cabinet that they gave up on North Road because a few local residents objected.”
Cllr Warren said the proposals had caused some people “great concern” and she did not want to waste taxpayers’ money.
“We will work closely with residents and commuters in the coming months to co-design strategic routes and schemes that are the best that we can provide for all, both those who cycle and those who don’t,” she said.
“We will build excellent infrastructure for all our residents and visitors to enjoy.
“This is climate action.”
She said the council will monitor the schemes and if problems are found they will be adjusted.
Cllr Manda Rigby said the debate had become polarised, with neighbours branding each other “climate emergency deniers” or “anti-car lycra-clad zealots”, but everyone needs to share the city’s cramped roads.
“It is incredibly important that these first active travel schemes are seen to work,” she said.
“It’s possible to be a supporter of active travel while still not supporting the non-working elements of the schemes that were originally presented.
“I am neither anti-car nor anti-cyclist – I am pro-people.”
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter