Bath’s transport Strategy is now doing the rounds and will be going to Council on 13th November for approval. I find the strategy rather disappointing. I had high hopes for a more radical strategy when I managed to get funding for it back in 2013.
The strategy will probably gain support across the Parties at Council, so from that point of view it will be a success. It does make some good comments about sustainable transport, but does little to improve cycling. The thrust though still seems to be to find car parking spaces for cars, whether that be within the core of the city or at Park and Rides.
The real weakness of the document though is in the shallowness of the consultation. There are 208 responses to it with more than half of the respondents over 55 years of age.
Mott Macdonald were paid tens of thousands of pounds to produce a strategy, yet they could only get this pathetic number of responses from a city with a population of more than 90,000 people. Where are the students and young people, the young mums and dads and young and middle aged single people? Less than 100 responses from people under 55. They didn’t make a presentation to CycleBath either.
I am not surprised that the strategy contains little about real development of cycling routes or infrastructure. It contains the phrase “the topography of parts of the city is a deterrent to some would be cyclists” – have the consultants not heard of electric bikes and do they not understand that modern bikes have enough gears to allow reasonably fit 70 year olds to get up the steepest of hills in Bath. Cycling issues occupy only two sides of A4 in the report.
Targets are set for the increase in bus and rail passengers, in walking and cycling, but there is no corresponding target for the reduction of journeys by motor vehicle. The school run is not mentioned.
Cyclists it seems will be limited to the river corridor with radial routes into the city centre. Assuming present conditions this means a shared path on the riverside walk! There is a reference to the routes that Sustrans have put forward, but I can find nothing that talks about commuting routes by the fastest way possible – on the roads. Nothing about removal of road space from motor vehicles and reallocation for segregated on road cycle lanes.
From my reading of the strategy the car is still king.