Bath Spa traffic debate

David9694
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Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby David9694 » 9 Apr 2019, 10:30pm

I’m working in Bath at the moment and picking up a bit on the local traffic debate. I do a cycle commute mainly along the river path but I find drivers on hthe road part are better than in Salisbury where I live, as I think there’s a lot more bikes around.

There’s talk of a tram network - in part battery driven so doesn’t need continuous power supply. Their interesting thing is there’s a degree of acceptance that things can’t contiune here as they have for the past 50-60 years, car wise. Every town has made immense sacrifices to the car, all the more poignant in a place like this.

The local geography makes by-passes and ring roads virtually impossible. Bikes wise, north and south the suburbs often rise pretty steeply up the valley sides, so it’s not necessarily bikes for all. Trams (and buses) are great for centre to suburb journeys, but major assets like the hospital and the university and probably a load of industrial areas aren’t in the centre. I can see the sense of a tramway across to say Bristol, serving the villages along the way.

Maybe just maybe there’s a recognition that we need a change of direction?

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby The utility cyclist » 11 Apr 2019, 12:21am

36% of people got about by bike in the late 40s in the UK on much heavier and less efficient cycles, a few hills are a feeble excuse and are what e-bikes are supposed to help with. Trams are bloody expensive, bikes for the most part need not be. Build a direct and wide cycleway between all the villages giving it priority at all junctions. OR, give over one side of the existing infra to those on bikes, massively cheapest option and runs everywhere. Motors can go in one direction only, people on bikes can use the other lane for bi-directional cycling, have enough room for all types and speeds as well as zero threat from passing motorists.
Job done, no need for trams or segregated infra.

RodT
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby RodT » 11 Apr 2019, 7:48am

I lived in and around Bath for many years. All cities have a traffic problem, but, as has been suggested, Bath has particular issues.
There are problems with the construction of a ring road or by-pass because of the geography of the area.
The city is at a nexus of traffic flow and is close to a motorway.
Bath is surrounded by commuter villages.
And it’s true, the hills are fearsome.
Bath is a victim of misguided road-building. More roads=more traffic.
Too many cars, too many lorries, too many people. Result? A beautiful city, a World Heritage site, ruined. Bath is purgatory to the pedestrian, hell to the cyclist.
I don’t know what the answer is. I know what I’d like. Ban all cars from a five mile radius. Let people find their own ways of getting around. Preserve this ancient and remarkable place from destruction by traffic. Some hopes.

pwa
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby pwa » 11 Apr 2019, 8:35am

I see nothing special about the people of Bath. They matter just as much as the people of Cardiff, Reading or Luton. What is different about Bath is the particular geography that makes re-jigging the road network difficult. In towns and cities in flatter terrain traffic that wishes to pass from one end of the town to the other without stopping can use by-passes or ring roads, but in Bath all traffic is funnelled in to the centre, whether it wants to go to the centre or not.

Trams for Bath are not going to happen. Larger cities such as Cardiff can't have them, so little Bath will be a long way down the queue. And I don't think trams are great around cyclists and pedestrians.

pwa
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby pwa » 11 Apr 2019, 8:43am

The utility cyclist wrote:36% of people got about by bike in the late 40s in the UK on much heavier and less efficient cycles, a few hills are a feeble excuse and are what e-bikes are supposed to help with. Trams are bloody expensive, bikes for the most part need not be. Build a direct and wide cycleway between all the villages giving it priority at all junctions. OR, give over one side of the existing infra to those on bikes, massively cheapest option and runs everywhere. Motors can go in one direction only, people on bikes can use the other lane for bi-directional cycling, have enough room for all types and speeds as well as zero threat from passing motorists.
Job done, no need for trams or segregated infra.

Have you spent time in Bath? Have you cycled up Bathwick Hill? Cycling would not be for everyone there, certainly not the elderly or infirm. E-bikes might widen the range of people who could use a bike, but how good are they on long steep hills?
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.3818527 ... 2?hl=en-GB

recumbentpanda
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby recumbentpanda » 11 Apr 2019, 9:36am

Hmm, as someone who fairly regularly has occasion to walk and cycle in, through and around Bath, I think ‘purgatory for pedestrians and hell for cyclists’ is slightly overdoing it. Certainly it has its problems, and certainly there has been a heightened level of debate lately, although check out the local paper’s letters pages to see that the general opinion of many is that all problems would be solved if the car was just allowed to let rip. One has only to glance however, at the enormous ‘motoring supplement’ that comes with said paper to realise how firmly in control the ‘drug pushers’ are.

Bypasses -an old chestnut round here. Someone in the 60’s even proposed tunnelling underneath. -Underneath a hot water spring based town with a deep layer of archaeology! :roll: All such initiatives however fall to the now well proven objection that more roads = more traffic over the whole system.

Trams - Breaking news: Bath once had an extensive tram network including lines reaching out into the countryside. Much of the town’s 19th century expansion, including up hills, was based on this.

Inter-village cycling routes: some local villages that were comfortably accessible by bicycle a decade or so ago are now cut off by howling, urban levels of traffic on winding lanes. The Bath Bristol Railway path does however, connect a number of significant towns, villages and suburbs along the way and is well used.

Hills: Yes, there are some corkers, and for some reason many cyclists today seem to forget they always have one gear lower than the lowest -get off and walk. Bathwick hill -which I agree is worthy of a mountain race stage- let us not forget, was developed in the 18th century when bikes didn’t even have pedals!

The real key to hills in Bath however, is to avoid them as far as possible by arranging ones life to connect points along the valley floor, or along contour lines on the valley side. This is of course, not always possible, which points to the fact that we are going to have to reorganise all our towns around not using cars. Sticking a university on top of a hill for example (Bathwick again!) and expecting everyone to schlep up and down there from accommodation in the town will not have to be allowed any more. That’s a very big change: recentering and re-planning communities, but it has to come for survival reasons IMHO.

Cycling infrastructure. Bath certainly has some, but it’s very much second best to the provision for the car. Also, if my late Mother in law’s local history researches are to be believed, Bath has a proud tradition of civic corruption and general venal hornswoggling going back to the 11th century, making it easy for someone with friends, fellow trouser-rollers, or relatives in the right places to make life difficult for people who get in the way of their cars.

Just recently the proposal for a new congestion/pollution charging zone was watered down to exclude . . . Private cars!!! No idea if there is any connection to the above.

Dormitory villages: actually it’s worse than that. Many villages in the hinterland of Bath and Bristol also contain businesses of many kinds, many of them not connected with agriculture.

Conclusion, -certainly there is a lot of pressure for change, but quite a few things are going to have to ‘explode’ or be ‘blown up’ before it happens.

kwackers
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby kwackers » 11 Apr 2019, 9:48am

pwa wrote: E-bikes might widen the range of people who could use a bike, but how good are they on long steep hills?

Pretty good. What you lose on the up you gain on the down (ish).

Obviously if you've got five miles of climb and a battery that's only good for ten miles you might be stuffed, but living there who'd buy one of those?

whoof
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby whoof » 11 Apr 2019, 11:24am

pwa wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:36% of people got about by bike in the late 40s in the UK on much heavier and less efficient cycles, a few hills are a feeble excuse and are what e-bikes are supposed to help with. Trams are bloody expensive, bikes for the most part need not be. Build a direct and wide cycleway between all the villages giving it priority at all junctions. OR, give over one side of the existing infra to those on bikes, massively cheapest option and runs everywhere. Motors can go in one direction only, people on bikes can use the other lane for bi-directional cycling, have enough room for all types and speeds as well as zero threat from passing motorists.
Job done, no need for trams or segregated infra.

Have you spent time in Bath? Have you cycled up Bathwick Hill? Cycling would not be for everyone there, certainly not the elderly or infirm. E-bikes might widen the range of people who could use a bike, but how good are they on long steep hills?
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.3818527 ... 2?hl=en-GB


I forget what the technical term for this is but it's where an 'extreme' case is used to make something the nornm. How are bliind people supposed to find their way around shops without their guide-dogs? Therefore all people should be allowed to bring their dogs into shops.
A great number of people going up Bathwick Hill of a morning are going to the University. The vast majority of the are relatively young and not be any means infirm. The cars parks are rammed full of cars driven by fit and young people as for years planners have made driving the easiest option.

No one thing will be for everyone but at the moment Bath like most places have been engineered to make most other forms of transport less accessible than driving.

pwa
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby pwa » 11 Apr 2019, 11:40am

whoof wrote:
pwa wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:36% of people got about by bike in the late 40s in the UK on much heavier and less efficient cycles, a few hills are a feeble excuse and are what e-bikes are supposed to help with. Trams are bloody expensive, bikes for the most part need not be. Build a direct and wide cycleway between all the villages giving it priority at all junctions. OR, give over one side of the existing infra to those on bikes, massively cheapest option and runs everywhere. Motors can go in one direction only, people on bikes can use the other lane for bi-directional cycling, have enough room for all types and speeds as well as zero threat from passing motorists.
Job done, no need for trams or segregated infra.

Have you spent time in Bath? Have you cycled up Bathwick Hill? Cycling would not be for everyone there, certainly not the elderly or infirm. E-bikes might widen the range of people who could use a bike, but how good are they on long steep hills?
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.3818527 ... 2?hl=en-GB


I forget what the technical term for this is but it's where an 'extreme' case is used to make something the nornm. How are bliind people supposed to find their way around shops without their guide-dogs? Therefore all people should be allowed to bring their dogs into shops.
A great number of people going up Bathwick Hill of a morning are going to the University. The vast majority of the are relatively young and not be any means infirm. The cars parks are rammed full of cars driven by fit and young people as for years planners have made driving the easiest option.

No one thing will be for everyone but at the moment Bath like most places have been engineered to make most other forms of transport less accessible than driving.

I don't think using Bathwick Hill as an example is unfair. There are two types of land journey in Bath. Along the valley floor, which is essentially flat, or up and down the valley sides, which means not inconsiderable hills. And the people going up and down the hills are not all young. I personally know one elderly lady who lives on a hill overlooking the centre. Any solutions for Bath are likely to be different to solutions for flatter towns.

When I visit Bath by car I generally use the Park and Ride, which is a good facility that saves me the hassle of trying to drive into the centre. For cars targeting the centre, that is the sort of solution that works. Get the drivers out of their cars before they get to the built up area. For cars just trying to get past Bath the answer is not so simple.

You say Bath has been engineered for drivers but I think the opposite is true. It is one of the towns I least like to drive in. The thought of having to drive into Bath would make me feel sick. It already deters a lot of drivers because it is so difficult to get round and park in. More Park and Ride must be part of the answer.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby The utility cyclist » 11 Apr 2019, 12:46pm

pwa wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:36% of people got about by bike in the late 40s in the UK on much heavier and less efficient cycles, a few hills are a feeble excuse and are what e-bikes are supposed to help with. Trams are bloody expensive, bikes for the most part need not be. Build a direct and wide cycleway between all the villages giving it priority at all junctions. OR, give over one side of the existing infra to those on bikes, massively cheapest option and runs everywhere. Motors can go in one direction only, people on bikes can use the other lane for bi-directional cycling, have enough room for all types and speeds as well as zero threat from passing motorists.
Job done, no need for trams or segregated infra.

Have you spent time in Bath? Have you cycled up Bathwick Hill? Cycling would not be for everyone there, certainly not the elderly or infirm. E-bikes might widen the range of people who could use a bike, but how good are they on long steep hills?
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.3818527 ... 2?hl=en-GB

I don't need to have to form an opinion, have you been to Sheffield, Edinburgh, all other hilly places where people live? In any case where did I say it would be for everyone? Also define 'elderly' and 'infirm', by definition the later group aren't going to be able to use a tram are they, how are they going to get to the Tram stop? As I mentioned e-bikes are supposed to help those not in their younger years or have some other ailment that means they can't get about so readily to do just that, it gives people far more independence to get about, when they want. It's like an electric mobility scooter only better.
And how many days a week does someone who is 'infirm' or is 'elderly' needing to commute in the first instance, what if the tram doesn't go where they want to go, what then? So it could be wheelchair yourself to bus stop, get a bus to get the tram to get another bus and then wheelchair themselves to final destination. Well they can't do that easily and as there are steep hills as you say using a wheelchair isn't an option really is it for a manual one and even the current electric mobility scooters would struggle due to the steepness and massive weight they are. The bus and certainly not the tram doesn't go to the doorstep hence why the bike is the perfect vehicle to get places.

Keep on thinking that the bike isn't useful for most people to get places simply because there are hills and/or because of some backward thinking due to mobility/age and continue to explore massively more costly and polluting options and things will never change. We need to try encourage changes and get people cycling so that when they do become elderly they are fitter than ever and they can use a bike under their own steam or one that is adapted, this in turn will mean fewer people are infirm at a younger age, it's not just about a small part of joining the dots with expensive transport that doesn't cover all the bases but a social change that means people are healthier, live longer and can be more independent for longer, this in turn has a huge effect on mental health and well being as a whole.
Struggling to get to a tram or having to wait in until someone comes to pick you up when they can fit it in etc means none of the positive offshoots frm cycling occurs.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby Bmblbzzz » 11 Apr 2019, 1:13pm

Bathwick Hill would probably be extreme if taken as an example of UK urban topography but it is not extreme for Bath. The Wellsway, Prior Park Road, Lansdown Road and Lansdown Lane, Bannerdown, and others are at least as steep and long. And yes, people do live on them, including old people: Bath is quite popular as a retirement place. One of the most congested spots though is Cleveland Bridge, which carries both north-south traffic on the A46-A36, east-west traffic on the A4, and local traffic.

whoof
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby whoof » 11 Apr 2019, 1:32pm

pwa wrote:
whoof wrote:
pwa wrote:Have you spent time in Bath? Have you cycled up Bathwick Hill? Cycling would not be for everyone there, certainly not the elderly or infirm. E-bikes might widen the range of people who could use a bike, but how good are they on long steep hills?
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.3818527 ... 2?hl=en-GB


I forget what the technical term for this is but it's where an 'extreme' case is used to make something the nornm. How are bliind people supposed to find their way around shops without their guide-dogs? Therefore all people should be allowed to bring their dogs into shops.
A great number of people going up Bathwick Hill of a morning are going to the University. The vast majority of the are relatively young and not be any means infirm. The cars parks are rammed full of cars driven by fit and young people as for years planners have made driving the easiest option.

No one thing will be for everyone but at the moment Bath like most places have been engineered to make most other forms of transport less accessible than driving.

I don't think using Bathwick Hill as an example is unfair. There are two types of land journey in Bath. Along the valley floor, which is essentially flat, or up and down the valley sides, which means not inconsiderable hills. And the people going up and down the hills are not all young. I personally know one elderly lady who lives on a hill overlooking the centre. Any solutions for Bath are likely to be different to solutions for flatter towns.

When I visit Bath by car I generally use the Park and Ride, which is a good facility that saves me the hassle of trying to drive into the centre. For cars targeting the centre, that is the sort of solution that works. Get the drivers out of their cars before they get to the built up area. For cars just trying to get past Bath the answer is not so simple.

You say Bath has been engineered for drivers but I think the opposite is true. It is one of the towns I least like to drive in. The thought of having to drive into Bath would make me feel sick. It already deters a lot of drivers because it is so difficult to get round and park in. More Park and Ride must be part of the answer.


The extreme part was addding 'not the elderly or infirm' in the same way as 'what if you were blind', this is why I said the majority of people using the hill to get to the University were relatively young and not infirm and not Bathwick Hill is flat.
You may find driving in Bath one of the least liked places to drive but even there other forms of transport have taken a taken a second place to the car. The main roads have poor facility for cycling and the minor ones are full of stored (parked) cars. Try and suggest that roadside parking is removed for a cycle lane and you will see how poorly considered motorised transport is?

pwa
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby pwa » 12 Apr 2019, 8:38am

The utility cyclist wrote:
pwa wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:36% of people got about by bike in the late 40s in the UK on much heavier and less efficient cycles, a few hills are a feeble excuse and are what e-bikes are supposed to help with. Trams are bloody expensive, bikes for the most part need not be. Build a direct and wide cycleway between all the villages giving it priority at all junctions. OR, give over one side of the existing infra to those on bikes, massively cheapest option and runs everywhere. Motors can go in one direction only, people on bikes can use the other lane for bi-directional cycling, have enough room for all types and speeds as well as zero threat from passing motorists.
Job done, no need for trams or segregated infra.

Have you spent time in Bath? Have you cycled up Bathwick Hill? Cycling would not be for everyone there, certainly not the elderly or infirm. E-bikes might widen the range of people who could use a bike, but how good are they on long steep hills?
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.3818527 ... 2?hl=en-GB

I don't need to have to form an opinion, have you been to Sheffield, Edinburgh, all other hilly places where people live? In any case where did I say it would be for everyone? Also define 'elderly' and 'infirm', by definition the later group aren't going to be able to use a tram are they, how are they going to get to the Tram stop? As I mentioned e-bikes are supposed to help those not in their younger years or have some other ailment that means they can't get about so readily to do just that, it gives people far more independence to get about, when they want. It's like an electric mobility scooter only better.
And how many days a week does someone who is 'infirm' or is 'elderly' needing to commute in the first instance, what if the tram doesn't go where they want to go, what then? So it could be wheelchair yourself to bus stop, get a bus to get the tram to get another bus and then wheelchair themselves to final destination. Well they can't do that easily and as there are steep hills as you say using a wheelchair isn't an option really is it for a manual one and even the current electric mobility scooters would struggle due to the steepness and massive weight they are. The bus and certainly not the tram doesn't go to the doorstep hence why the bike is the perfect vehicle to get places.

Keep on thinking that the bike isn't useful for most people to get places simply because there are hills and/or because of some backward thinking due to mobility/age and continue to explore massively more costly and polluting options and things will never change. We need to try encourage changes and get people cycling so that when they do become elderly they are fitter than ever and they can use a bike under their own steam or one that is adapted, this in turn will mean fewer people are infirm at a younger age, it's not just about a small part of joining the dots with expensive transport that doesn't cover all the bases but a social change that means people are healthier, live longer and can be more independent for longer, this in turn has a huge effect on mental health and well being as a whole.
Struggling to get to a tram or having to wait in until someone comes to pick you up when they can fit it in etc means none of the positive offshoots frm cycling occurs.


If you haven't been to Bath you should give it a go. It genuinely is a bit different in terms of geography and road layout. I have cycled in Bath and it is mostly not too bad already, except for the hills if that is a problem.

My mother is both elderly and infirm, and she can make it to a bus stop and climb aboard. I think electric buses must be part of the future for Bath. Much more sensible than a hyper expensive and inflexible tram network.

pwa
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby pwa » 12 Apr 2019, 8:51am

Bmblbzzz wrote:Bathwick Hill would probably be extreme if taken as an example of UK urban topography but it is not extreme for Bath. The Wellsway, Prior Park Road, Lansdown Road and Lansdown Lane, Bannerdown, and others are at least as steep and long. And yes, people do live on them, including old people: Bath is quite popular as a retirement place. One of the most congested spots though is Cleveland Bridge, which carries both north-south traffic on the A46-A36, east-west traffic on the A4, and local traffic.

Yes, and that is a bottle neck that a lot of through traffic cannot avoid. I know some people oppose new roads in all cases, but for me that is one of the best examples of what happens when traffic that should be diverted away from a town is instead fed in on a road network that cannot cope. A lot of the traffic at that junction is just trying to get past Bath, not to enter the town at all.

Grandad
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Re: Bath Spa traffic debate

Postby Grandad » 12 Apr 2019, 12:12pm

Probably not on the same scale but Maidstone has a similar problem with traffic from the south travelling north to join the M20. A bypass has been needed for years but when the Borough Council gets to the point of taking the Kent County Council to court over a dispute about who pays for it then it won't be very soon.

Fortunately common sense prevailed and the action was withdrawn - could this be the sign that things might improve and after 20 years of talk there may be something positive happening.