This road improvement scheme forms part of our district-wide strategy to make it safer and more convenient for you to take short journeys by walking, cycling or wheeling (using a wheelchair or mobility aid).
This strategy aims to help residents, businesses and visitors to our area live healthier lives by reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality.
The scheme will be paid for by grant funding from the government's Active Travel Fund, which offers time-limited grants for specific projects that promote active ways of travelling. The Department for Transport initially set the completion date for these projects as March 2022, but has extended it to July 2022 for this scheme.
The Upper Bristol Road scheme will provide a safe and convenient cycle facility and improved pedestrian routes, as part of a first phase of putting in place wider cycling infrastructure along the A4. This aims to achieve the following:
- Encouraging and enabling more journeys by bike and on foot
- Improving the confidence of people to cycle and walk
- Giving greater priority to cyclists and pedestrians on the road
- Improving the health and wellbeing of residents
- Supporting our wider work to address the Climate Emergency
We are undertaking the project alongside, and in conjunction with, plans for wider improvements along the A4 Bath – Bristol corridor to improve measures for buses, walking and cycling, which the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) is currently investigating.
Bath's strategic cycle network
The provision of a high quality network of safe, direct, and continuous cycle routes is central to encouraging more people to take up cycling, both for leisure and as a primary mode of transport. The Upper Bristol Road scheme will be an important part of our plan to develop this network. New cycle lanes on Upper Bristol Road will link to existing facilities in the city:
- Existing cycling routes from Monmouth Street, New King Street and James Street West, and the riverside path
- The new signalised junction being planned at the junction with Midland Road, which will include a link for cyclists between Upper Bristol Road and Destructor Bridge, as well as a better crossing for pedestrians
- Newly-provided ‘early start’ cyclist traffic lights at some of the traffic lights in Queen Square, which help cyclists move off ahead of motor traffic
We are constantly working to create this cycling network and will continue to plan new improvements every year. The extension of the proposed cycle scheme further west along the A4 corridor will be influenced by developments along this section, including the redevelopment of the recycling site.
National policy and cycle lane design
The government’s walking and cycling policy, Gear Change, has set a target for half of all journeys in towns and cities to be taken by walking or cycling by 2030. The government has also updated local authorities’ Network Management Duty (our legal obligation to efficiently manage foot, cycle, wheeling and motor traffic), telling us to reallocate more road space to walking and cycling.
In July 2020, the government published new national design standards on cycle infrastructure. The government has made it clear that it will not fund schemes if they are not built in accordance with these standards of quality and design, and that it will reduce funding to local authorities who do not intend to provide such infrastructure.
We will build our cycle infrastructure in accordance with these standards. The historic nature of many of our streets in Bath means they are often narrower and more congested than many other towns and cities, which will present challenges in building to these standards.
However, to tackle the Climate Emergency, improve air quality, and help people lead healthier lives, we need to make our roads more accessible for journeys by bike, scooter, and on foot.