The proposed experimental Traffic Regulation Order to ban eastbound traffic on Dorchester Street between 10am and 6pm for a period of 18th month for all motor vehicles excluding buses, taxis, cycles and emergency vehicles is, it seem to us, a further example of the failed piecemeal approach to the complex problems of traffic management in Bath. Solving one problem without a plan to address the new problems it will cause.
For a significant number of residents this closure will mean that they will only have one practical exit route out of the city centre over North Parade Bridge and its junctions with the roads at each end which are always chaotic, often heavily congested and regularly completely gridlocked.
Traffic merges on to the bridge from two car parks and the local courts; there are bus stops, coaches park by the swimming baths waiting for school parties and often delivery vehicles block one lane while delivering to the clubs and restaurants. The traffic lights at the junction with Pulteney Road let out very few vehicles at a time and often into traffic which is gridlocked. The few spaces created when the lights change are often filled by the cars emerging from the car parks and so no-one further back moves – and the queue backs up into the city centre.
We are not yet entirely clear what long-term decision about coach drop off will be made following the ill-fated Bog Island experiment but under most likely scenarios they will continue stopping very close to the exit of the road over North Parade Bridge and this will continue to cause additional congestion in the immediate area. It is not clear whether coaches are to be included in the vehicles permitted to use Dorchester Street. If not, this will mean a huge increase in coaches crossing North Parade Bridge.
It is high time that the responsible authorities stopped just tinkering with Bath's real and complex traffic management problems and developed a comprehensive management plan to address them.