AskBoA: We all agree BoA is in need of a solution to a problem so let’s use the current momentum to tackle it

So the vote for the HCZ was a no go, the town clearly spoke, shame for all those who fought hard, you did a good job, truly big pat on the back for trying, moving forward we all agree BoA is in need of a solution to a problem so let’s use the current momentum to tackle it.

So we have a town that is in desperate need of congestion relief, its unfit currently for both pedestrian and driver traffic and is choking local business due to lack of convenient parking and walking from current car parks is unpleasant and a dangerous shopping experience.
What to do, let’s discuss?

A bypass
Will be expensive and cause upheaval but will move traffic out of town but therefore potential customers away from the town centre, I can understand why that would get resistance, however resistance does not mean that isn’t not the right thing to do or impossible, but considering we just had a vote let’s think of this as an exercise in what the majority of people will find suitable and correct.

One-way system
This would relieve some congestion in places and spread it around, this would be a very small minimal cost to set up, some white road paint and a few signs! but the speed of traffic would no doubt pick up, but in the unused lanes this scheme would create more parking spaces in town, however, this option too would get some resistance from residences where traffic increases but it is however ‘better’ that what we have now.

Congestion charge
A modern way of looking at a toll bridge if you like, but a replica of the CC in London but on a smaller scale in BoA. A minimal amount of upheaval and cost to implement the cameras and an office for screening, volunteers could start the monitoring process followed later by full time staff paid for by the process; screening would not be able to check every car but a high amount at random. Registered local traffic can drive free, commuters and tourists drive at a small fee of say £5 but fined at £30-£50 if the daily charge is not paid, London CC can now be paid on-line but in the early days drivers needed to stop at local shops to pay for the charge, if this approach was adopted this would then encourage customers to stop in the town and visit the shops. Any money generated from the scheme can go towards maintenance and remaining revenue collected could be redirected to town projects and regeneration. The BoA CC should start at the town boundaries with special dispensation for those working in the town but living outside. Commuter traffic could either pay for the charge but I suspect most will choose alternative routes, reducing traffic in town and making current driving and walking in town far more pleasant and less dangerous. Maps can be provide on request for alternative routes, however traffic seemed to manage when floods in BoA town centre were present. Any road works on alternative routes could mean that the CC through BoA is rescinded for a short time.
This approach could also easily be introduced for a trial period for those who have doubts.


    • Leonard
      I give you credit for trying. However you make two basic (but very common) mistakes. The first is to assume that you know what’s causing the problem, and the second is to go straight to some solutions without knowing anything about whether they’re achievable.

      So, here’s a link

      which takes you to the minutes of the last Area Board meeting. Scroll down to item 9 which will give you a link to the Draft Air Quality Plan, put together by a group of people who have been working on these problems, in some cases for over 15 years. This is just a taster of the sort of thing you are going to have to wade through in order to speak with any authority about traffic in Bradford on Avon.

      As yet there isn’t a weblink to the 2013 Traffic Study, but I understand it will be on the agenda for the next Town Council meeting at the end of February (probably the 24th) so you should be able to get a copy then.

      Once you better understand the realities, you will hopefully understand that the answer is to effect behaviour change amongst residents. Simply put, we all have to drive less. This is much harder than just deciding that someone else should build us a bypass, or that some residents should suffer more traffic because of a one-way system, or that someone else should pay for ANPR cameras permanently around town to check number plates.

      In an earlier post on a different thread, you say ‘why should I drive less when all these commuters are driving through?’. The commuters are a minority. We are the majority. That’s why you should drive less.

      Once you get that you might get as far as thinking “Well, if we want to encourage pedestrians, maybe we should look at a scheme which makes them feel safer”. And you’ll get to where we were last week. Sadly we are now back to where we were ten years ago, because last Thursday people voted No as they “just didn’t think it would work”. I hope when you make it back around to trying to convince the town that a similar scheme might be a good idea, you do a better job than we did.

      I hope you’ll understand that for me, the thought of going through the whole process again is just unbearable. Maybe others will find the enthusiasm, but I’m done. I wish you all good heart.

    • Are you a qualified transport consultant or have you been strategically involved in the process over the last 6 or 7 years to already know the workable options? If not, I suggest lay people leave it to those experts to model sensible scenarios.

      • Quite an insulting comment. Perhaps the experts are as closed minded as those they seem to be attacking in this comment. The issue in this town is traffic. Until that’s sorted by whatever means, people will continue to be angry. The council demands that more and more dwellings are built but seem to have no funding for a by-pass or one way system to alleviate the growing traffic. At every meeting I attended it was made clear that the HCZ would NOT alleviate the traffic. That, and the issue of zebra crossings is what caused the plan to be voted down.

    • Bravo for trying to get the debate on a more positive note.

      The trouble is that many people have been over and over these alternative suggestions already. It’s very unlikely that those in favour of the HCZ scheme will be able to face going over all the arguments again.
      The HCZ was the best compromise devized after years and years of trying to find a workable solution and it was one that might actually happen.
      There has been plenty of opportunity for public input over the years too.

      That’s why the yes voters are so cross and so disappointed. It’s as if 20 years of thinking and planning and debating work has just been undone.

    • Shay
      Forgive me but what I’m hearing seems like sour grapes, your done but still enjoy picking apart any idea on the table other than the one you think is correct. Just because you have history and a little more detailed insight in the issue does not mean that fresh comments are less valid. This was proved by a voting system last week.
      The HCZ seemed to deal with symptoms of a problem and not the cure for the problem overall. Logic suggests that if you deal with a cure the symptoms are abated.
      If you read my previous post you will have also read that just because the majority of traffic is local that targeting commuter traffic passing through the town does not mean this approach is impractical. Let’s say the percentage of local traffic is 60% so in every 1000 cars a CC approach would potentially reduce traffic by 400 less cars, that is a reduction is traffic is it not? Yes when the report is out let’s have a look.
      By talking down to me from your superior position I and people like me stand their ground more. God knows I’m open to suggestions, but when people reply but only cherry pick points raised no wonder it has taken 15 years with zero outcome. Please be more constructive with your comments otherwise it seems to me your in fear of becoming one of the ‘ignorant nay says’ you so clearly desperately despise, I’m not writing this to be an outlet for your HCZ disappointment. If you’re not part of the solution your part of the problem etc.

      No I’m not a qualified transport consultant are you? Were the people who voted yes or no for the HCZ? Don’t get personal. Can you make sensible replies.

      So with that in mind, and as I was saying the purpose of this post is to discover what other possibilities other than the HCZ could potentially be agreeable to the residents of BoA and to identify the overall problem. If we move forward together you are not aligning residents and we can find a solution together.

      Remember come with solutions not problems.

    • Now here’s an idea for a bypass that would not cut off the town. You have a bypass with a car park attached to it and a short walkway from it into the town. I don’t know if it is geographically feasible but it is worth thinking about.

      Many people are against bypassing towns because they say that this would lead to greater traffic overall. This may be true but it would lead to less pollution in the town centre where people live, work and shop.

      • And how would you pay for a bypass?

        • Looking forward to hear how Doreen and others intend to fund a bypass, detailed proposal please with list of stakeholders, planning, budget, etc or are going to say that’s for others to work out because you are not the experts. Enough said!

        • I would point out to the government that the pollution levels in the town centre break EU pollution laws and that the only was to improve them would be a bypass. That is what the council should have been pressing for 7 years ago.

          Of course, if it is accurate that 75 per cent of the traffic is local, it might be cheaper to supply all local residents with a free electric car. How is that for ‘thinking out of the box’?

          • Doreen,
            It’s a brilliant idea to give us all electric cars and definitely thinking out of the box. It would certainly reduce pollution, but I’m not sure it would help pedestrians cross the road any easier.
            Anyway I do like the idea, but I can’t believe the government will have any likelihood of funding it? In the end it comes down to what we can afford.

            • With regard to pedestrians crossing the road, you are right it would not help them, in fact electric cars are so quiet that probably more pedestrians would be knocked down. I thought about this after I had made the ‘tongue in cheek’ off the cuff comment. My real point was that a lot of money and time was wasted on a scheme that was far from pedestrian friendly and should never have been advertised as such.

              Someone made a comment that a policeman told him that courtesy crossings and zebra crossings are no different in that if someone gets knocked down the police will investigate in the same way. That may be true but the whole point of zebra crossings is that the Highway Code requires cars to stop. There is no requirement for courtesy crossings. I tried to cross one in another town the other day, the traffic was as bad as Market Street and no one would stop. In the end I started edging out into the road, pointing a stick in front of me and still no one would stop! I was about to give up when a car turning gave me enough time to cross the road.

              I had done some simple research on other towns where this type of scheme has been installed on inappropriate roads (by this I mean roads with a lot of traffic). No one likes them and most pedestrians want to get rid of them. I say no one likes them but possibly some car drivers do as they are not obliged to stop as they would be for a zebra.

              People who think the zebra lines could just be painted back in are fooling themselves and certain councillors should be ashamed that they suggested this would be possible. As someone else complained, the vote should be invalid if that was the case as we were all told it would not be possible. The vote is not invalid because it would not have been allowed. I challenge the councillor concerned to get the Highways Authority to state for a fact that it would have happened (in a reasonable timescale, say one year, not the ten years or more it usually takes to right poor highway planning). I am confident this won’t happen.

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