Thursday, August 14, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
Historically Bath and North East Somerset Council has been slow to assume a leadership role in promoting green travel choices. Now Councillor Paul Crossley (Southdown) has asked the Council to join the Cycle to Work scheme which offers employees VAT-free bikes, repaid by loans that are exempt from income tax and national insurance, through a salary sacrifice system.
Cllr Crossley commented, "Cycling is not only good for the environment but it also reduces road congestion and improves health. Many other Councils offer such schemes to their employees, as do several firms here in Bath. The Council should be leading on the green travel agenda and cutting the carbon footprint of the area. The cycle scheme is a great way of getting more people onto bikes and properly equipped for safe and comfortable commuting to work."
Cllr Roger Symonds (Combe Down), another keen cyclist, added, "In fact in Bath we are lucky to have Cyclescheme - the country's leading company in promoting this salary sacrifice idea - right here in the city. This is a great scheme, which I fully support, to get employees on their bikes, not only will it show that the Council values its staff, but a fitter healthier workforce will give better value to the Council."
City MP Don Foster added, "Getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, or cycling and walking should be a high priority. When one of the leading companies offering this scheme is based here in Bath, it amazes me that our Council is so far behind the times.
"With so many Council offices based in Bath city centre, the Council should be taking a lead in promoting sustainable methods of getting to work, as well as cutting congestion in the city."
Richard Grigsby, Director of Cyclescheme said, "We are currently working with nearly seventy employers based in Bath alone and over 80 councils and boroughs within the UK. This includes the RUH, the University and other leading private firms such as Buro Happold and Cross Engineering. Cyclescheme has it's roots in Bath commerce, since the early 90s, and offers an excellent service to employers and employees who have a choice of all of the very best independent bike shops in the south west.
"Our friendly and efficient services are entirely free to the employer and fully compliant with government legislation. In fact we run schemes for the Department for Transport and Office of Fair Trading - the two leading protagonists of the cycle to work initiative.
"I find it ironic that we provide our free service for every public body in the Highlands for instance, but Bath and North East Somerset Council have so far managed to miss out on the best government initiative to date."
Monday, August 04, 2008
The Council have now reconsidered Lambridge as the prefered location for a park and ride site and Mill Lane near Batheaston is now the prefered location, this will deliver 540 more car parking spaces for cheaper, but will of course mean higher volumes of buses using the London Road bus lane and the Bath Package include London Road and Walcot Street as a rapid transit link, similar to that planned to rail road through people's gardens in Newbridge.
Cllr David Dixon said, "Although this will not be an open public tour, the views of residents who use Walcot Street and the London Road are important to us as local councillors. Anyone who has a particular view that they would like to share are encouraged to contact us on 01225 462590 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org . We want to help get this right, hopefully then we can ensure that the delivered scheme is responsive to the needs of local residents and businesses, and will go someway to improving highway safety along the London Road."
Following pressure from a number of councillors including Cllr David Dixon and and Cllr Colin Darracott, the Council is currently advertising for a Road Safety Accident Investigation and Prevention Engineer. This person's role would revolve around looking into accident clusters and coming up with ideas for remedial measures. It is envisaged that the first area for the new engineer to deal with will be the London Road.
With so many accidents occuring on the busy London Road, local residents and ward Councillor David Dixon, are calling for more safety measures to be introduced and for the bus lane to be reconsidered as 24 hours.
Cllr David Dixon said, "This stretch of road is becoming very dangerous and the Council must come up with solutions and put them in place. People are having accidents, in some cases very serious ones, due to the lack of visibility and speeding traffic coming along the bus lane. Vehicles are also ignoring the merge at the end of the bus lane near Morrisons and are quite often cutting up traffic as they pass the lights."
Friday, August 01, 2008
However, they have urged the Council to use this proposed change to the Bath Transport Package to also reconsider the route of the Bus Rapid Transit scheme.
Bath MP, Don Foster commented:
“I have always opposed the Lambridge Park and Ride scheme. It would have cost a fortune, done nothing to reduce congestion and pollution on the London Road and would, in effect, be a city centre car park. I’m delighted the Council has been prepared to think again.”
Cllr David Dixon (Walcot) added:
“After 20 years of discussions and consultation – and after the previous Conservative member in charge of transport wasted 4 of those years trying to force through an ill thought out scheme at Lambridge – I am pleased that the current Cabinet member has seen the light. Mill Lane will provide more spaces and really will have an impact to the traffic which clogs up the London Road.
“This change of heart is a victory for local residents in Lambridge and London Road who have consistently opposed the Lambridge site – were it not for their opposition, the Lambridge park and ride would have already been built.”
Councillor Caroline Roberts (Newbridge) said:
“Until this announcement, the Cabinet had been taking the line that no changes were possible to the Bath Transport Package or the Council risked being sent to the ‘back of the queue’ for funding.
“Now the Executive has decided it’s possible to change one end of the route, let’s hope they will now turn their attention to the other end. Surely the huge outcry about the proposed route of the western end of the Bus Rapid Transit scheme, deserves as much of the council’s attention as the outcry about the Lambridge Park and Ride.”
Cllr Loraine Brinkhurst (Newbridge) added,
“The proposed BRT route costs a fortune to save just a few minutes travel time. If the council wants better value for money, then they should also think again about this route.”