Proposed 24-hour bus lane on Wells Road through Totterdown is withdrawn

As a result of the informal consultation about changes to bus lanes on the Wells Road through Totterdown, the proposal for a 24 hour bus lane in front of the shops between Lilymead Avenue and the junction with St Johns Lane has been withdrawn. The report outlining this decision is reproduced below. The original letter describing the scheme is here:   Appendix A BD9702 – Wells Bus Consultation 

Better Bus Area Fund 2: Wells Road. Results of the Informal Consultation

Purpose of this report

This report provides a summary of the comments received during the informal, non-statutory consultation process carried out from 18th September to 6th October 2017 into the BBAF2 proposals for the Well Road corridor, and how/whether they have been used to improve the final scheme design.

Summary of comments received

In total, comments from 70 people or organisations have been analysed.

We have identified a number of themes / topics from the comments received and this report seeks to address each of these.  In addition, there were more specific requests and/or questions which could not be grouped into one of these themes or topics, and warranted a tailored response.

Where required, we have identified if any action is being taken to resolve an issues raised during the consultation or if any changes have been made to the proposal as result of the comments received.

If, after reading this report, you feel it doesn’t address your specific concern please write to us at:

Infrastructure Team, Sustainable Transport, Bristol City Council, PO Box 3176, Bristol BS3 9FS

Email: bbaf@bristol.gov.uk

The comments received can be grouped into five main themes:

  • The proposed 24 hour inbound bus lane from Lilymead Avenue to St Johns Lane
  • The proposed changes to the times of the existing bus lanes
  • Road safety at Marston Road junction
  • Request for additional pedestrian crossings, signage, and parking restrictions
  • Other issues

Section 6.0 provides a conclusion on the report and outlines the next steps.

1.0   Proposed 24 hour inbound Bus Lane from Lilymead Avenue to St Johns Lane

In light of the concerns raised by Ward Members, local businesses and residents (including 6 petitions received) it has been decided to withdraw the proposal to introduce a 24 hour inbound bus lane from Lilymead Avenue to St Johns Lane. Instead it is proposed to introduce a PM peak period 4pm to 6.30pm Monday to Friday bus lane to complement the existing AM peak inbound bus lane from Calcott Road to St John’s Lane. The proposed PM peak bus lane will operate during the same time period as the current loading and waiting restrictions, therefore there will be no change to peak period parking restrictions  for local businesses and residents.

2.0  The proposed changes to the times of the existing bus lanes.

Various comments were raised during the consultation in relation to the times of the existing and proposed bus lanes.  The rationale for the hours of operation of  peak hour bus lanes within this scheme is based on the following criteria:

  • The Bristol Bus Quality Partnership Agreement in 1999 established general Peak Hour Bus Lane operating Times as Monday – Friday AM Peak 7am-10am & PM peak 4pm – 6.30pm
  • Provides uniformity and consistency with other peak hour bus lanes across the city. This consistency provides all road users with regularity when travelling during these time periods across the City of Bristol. This regularity helps to provide self-enforcement of the Bus Lane operating times.
  • By introducing more bus lanes during the peak periods bus passengers benefit from more reliable journey times; and as buses become more reliable more people will be encouraged and willing to leave their car at home easing traffic congestion for everyone. With less congestion and more people able to access jobs and services more reliably, local economies can grow more rapidly. In addition, the A37 is a very busy arterial route into the City, heavily used by general traffic.  Bus lanes add resilience to a bus corridor by ensuring buses can bypass any queue generated by high levels of congestion.
  • The proposal to introduce a peak period inbound bus lane between Calcott Road and Lilymead Avenue will not affect parking as it will operate over the same time period as the existing waiting and loading restrictions. Currently the majority of inbound vehicles using the Wells Road in the peak periods travel in the offside lane in order to avoid stopping behind buses whilst at bus stops and vehicles wanting to turn left in the side street. It is Bristol City Council policy to allow other modes of transport in Bus Lanes such as Coaches, School Buses, Taxis, motorcyclists, cyclists and all emergency services. By allowing the above specific modes of transport to travel in Bus Lanes, this results in the freeing up of space in general running lanes for all other vehicle traffic.

3.0 Road safety at Marston Road junction – traffic turning right into Marston Road from Wells Road

In order to improve road safety at this junction it is proposed to shorten the outbound bus lane on the approach Marston Road junction.  It is also proposed to extend the current yellow box.  These proposals will help to improve the visibility for right turning traffic into Marston Road.

4.0 Request for additional pedestrian crossings, signage and parking restrictions

There were requests for new and improved pedestrian crossings at the following locations:

  • Improved crossing between St Martins Road and Greenleaze
  • New crossing  between Sydenham Road and Broadwalk
  • New crossing  between Firfield Road and Knowle Road

There were requests for additional signage along the Wells Road corridor and double yellow lines (junction protection) at:

  • Calcott Road
  • Lilymead Avenue
  • Belluton Road and Rookery Road junctions.

The above requests have been passed to the Area Engineer responsible for the Wells Road (and its side streets) for consideration and further investigation. In addition, all side streets along the Wells Road will be reviewed for junction protection.  If any of the requests for additional works are included in the Wells Road scheme they will be the subject of Statutory public consultation during spring 2018.

5.0 Other Issues

5.1 Shortening of the inbound bus lane outside Knowle Cricket Club

Following requests from members of the public to shorten the inbound bus lane which commences opposite St Martin’s Road and ends by the Cricket Club, it is proposed to reduce the end of the bus lane by approximately 20 metres to help avoid the current conflict which occurs (at this pinch point) when vehicles merge at the end of the bus lane.  By shortening the end of the bus lane to a wider section of road it will help drivers to merge without encountering the current conflict.

5.2  The Bus Lanes are too narrow

There are some locations along the Wells Road where the bus lanes are narrow due to the current geometry of the road.  These locations will be reviewed and if any work can be carried out to increase the width of the lane by realigning the existing traffic lanes this may be included in the scheme.

5.3 Bus lanes will create more stationary traffic and increase air pollution levels

The Council currently has air quality monitoring sites along this corridor and will continue to monitor this corridor into the future.

In addition, a report has been produced following concerns raised by the Traffic and Transport sub-group of the Greater Fishponds Neighbourhood Partnership.  The report addresses concerns that the GBBN bus route improvements along Fishponds Road i.e. the introduction of new bus lanes have substantially degraded the air quality along Fishponds Road.  The report analysed data from continuous and passive air quality monitoring conducted along the route from May 2010 to May 2012.  The route improvements were completed in May 2011.  The report concluded that there had been a slight improvement in air quality since the introduction of the scheme, although the improvement is not statistically significant.  It is perhaps safer to say that there has been no deterioration in air quality since the scheme was implemented and public transport use has increased.  A similar conclusion was reached in a separate analysis of the A420 Showcase Bus Route.

6.0 Conclusion and Next Steps

Conclusion

This report has sought to provide responses to the main issues raised during the informal non-statutory consultation process.  A number of useful suggestions were made on how the design could be improved and, where appropriate and the budget allows we will look to accommodate these.  However, unfortunately, it’s not always possible to positively respond to every request.

The two main issues emerging from the consultation process were:

  • The proposed 24 hour bus lane from Lilymead Avenue to St John’s Lane.
  • The proposed changes to the times of the existing bus lanes.

With regard to (1) , the proposed 24 hour bus lane from Lilymead Avenue to St John’s Lane will be withdrawn from the scheme.

With regard to (2), it is proposed to carry out further consultation regarding this proposal as part of the statutory consultation exercise scheduled for early 2019. 

Next Steps

As set out at the start of this report, if you feel that your specific concern has not been addressed please contact us using the details provided.

The majority of the proposals are subject to a further consultation process – Statutory Consultation – where draft Traffic Regulation Orders are advertised.  We are currently planning to commence this round of consultation in early 2019 although there is a possibility this may change.  All respondents will be notified in advance of the commencement of the Statutory Consultation process.