A consultation on traffic orders needed to trial an extension of a temporary traffic restriction at Milsom Street in Bath has been launched today.
The temporary traffic restriction was introduced in June 2020 by Bath & North East Somerset Council for social distancing purposes and to enable people to enjoy the health and environmental benefits of reduced traffic in the road.
Now the council is proposing a further trial of a ‘bus gate’ at the top of Milsom Street to test whether the restriction on general through-traffic between 10am and 6pm could work on a permanent basis.
To enable the trial to take place, the temporary traffic regulation order (TTRO) that was originally implemented for social distancing purposes will need to be replaced with an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO).
The ETRO will be implemented on November 25 and will be in place for a minimum of six months to allow the council to gather data and invite feedback before considering whether to extend the experiment or make the bus gate permanent.
The measures set out in the consultation are designed to promote public transport, making the road safer for pedestrians and cyclists as well as reducing emissions to improve air quality.
The proposals also include an upgrade of the street furniture and cycle parking on Milsom Street. These features would provide more resting spaces, support local trade by encouraging people to spend more time enjoying the reduction in traffic and making it easier for people to travel by bike and on foot.
The initial consultation will run until May 26, 2022 and can be viewed here
Councillor Kevin Guy, council Leader, said: “Since we introduced the temporary restriction on general through-traffic we’ve been monitoring the situation and gathering feedback from residents and businesses. As a result, several adjustments have been made as part of this trial to help people with limited mobility and to make deliveries easier including new loading bays, additional disabled bays on New Bond Street. We are also looking at ways to allow access for Dial a Ride community transport and improve the pedestrian route from Broad Street.
“The trial of the bus gate will give us more time to look at the effectiveness of the scheme in greater detail before considering whether it should be made permanent. The restriction has the wider benefits of reducing vehicle emissions in our city to protect public health and has a wide-ranging impact on our city, which is why it’s important that residents and businesses respond to the consultation.”
The wider renewal of Milsom Street is part of the council’s Bath city centre High Street Renewal Project, a five-year project to improve the city centre funded by £1.235m from the West of England Combined Authority’s Love Our High Streets fund.
The bus lane restriction operates from 10am to 6pm daily. Buses, emergency vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists are not restricted.
Blue badge holders can use the disabled bays on Quiet Street and New Bond Street by travelling via Old King Street and John Street. There are also four disabled bays available in Broad Street car park with direct access to Milsom Street via a pedestrian route.
The bus gate will be enforced through the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition Cameras (ANPR).