In response to community feedback, we are proposing a through-traffic restriction on Church Street, Bath, as part of our Liveable Neighbourhoods (LN) programme.
Our proposals aim to remove through-traffic from this residential street, keeping this traffic on the main road network while maintaining vehicle access for residents and visitors. This will make the route safer for local residents, children, pedestrians and cyclists.
In August 2022, we asked whether you supported a trial of a through-traffic restriction at this location and gathered feedback from the community on a preliminary design.
The Liveable Neighbourhoods programme
This is one of four proposals for through-traffic restrictions on residential streets across Bath and North East Somerset being piloted ahead of wider improvements under the community-led LN Programme.
The LN programme aims to improve health and wellbeing through safer, quieter residential streets with better spaces for walking, wheeling and meeting others outside. Not all LN programme improvements will include vehicle restrictions.
Church Street is a 20mph no-through road. The road provides access to St Thomas Church and to the residential properties along Church Street and Church Lane.
Select a topic below to find out more about the challenges on this road, and what residents have told us during our public engagements so far.
Through traffic due to 'short-cutting'
This route is often used by drivers to bypass the main roads (which are designed to take this traffic), especially during the morning and evening rush hours. Resident feedback states that commuters use this route to avoid the queues on the A3062, Prior Park Road/Ralph Allen Drive and Widcombe Hill.
Non-compliance with existing restrictions
There is currently a signed legal traffic restriction stating that the road is for residents' access only, with signs at both ends of Church Street. However, residents have reported a lack of compliance with the existing restrictions.
Narrow carriageway width
Church Street is as narrow as 2.2m in width in some places, which is very narrow for two-way traffic. The recommended minimum width for two-way streets is 5.5m.
Poor accessibility due to pavement parking
Due to the narrow carriageway width, vehicles often park on pathways and sections without yellow lines to avoid damage from passing traffic.
This blocks pathways and limits the accessibility and inclusivity of the route, with pedestrians needing to walk in the carriageway.
In a public engagement on our LN programme in December 2021, 46% of respondents in the area supported the installation of traffic interventions, with 51% neutral and 3% against traffic interventions.
83% of respondents highlighted that through traffic was an issue in the area, 70% of respondents said that school run traffic was a concern and 63% stated that speeding traffic was a problem.
85% of respondents stated that restrictions on through traffic and or HGVs would have the biggest impact to make the area safer.
We are proposing to trial a set of droppable bollards (modal filters) on Church Street to restrict through traffic. We are considering two locations and we are asking for your opinion on these options and whether or not you support them.
The bollards would stop vehicles from using the street as a through-route, without restricting vehicle access to homes and the church.
While the droppable bollard would stop vehicles passing through, it would allow pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchairs to pass freely and safely. Emergency and other key services would be able to drop the bollard to gain access.
We also consulted with key stakeholders such as the emergency services, waste and highways during this engagement. Their feedback would ensure that all services are accommodated should there be a decision to proceed.
Select a topic below to read more about the two options, droppable bollards, how traffic movements will be amended and how these proposals will benefit the community.
This option would involve droppable bollards between St Thomas Church and Bathford House on Church Street.
There is space for vehicles to carry out a three-point turn on both sides of the bollard, and no loss of parking is expected.
Residents would still be able to access either Widcombe Hill or the A3062, and retain access to St Thomas’s Church from both directions.
We would provide advance warning signs to warn motorists that they would not be able to use Church Street as a through route. We are proposing ‘new road layout ahead’ and 'no through road' signs on new posts at the change from Widcombe Hill to Church Street in the north, and ‘new road layout ahead’ and ‘no through road’ signs on new posts at the Ralph Allen Drive/Church Street junction.
Additional waiting restrictions may be required to preserve the turning area, including double yellow lines and signage, although no loss of parking is expected.
We would also have to provide temporary signs for a limited period.
This option would involve droppable bollards at the entrance to Church Street from Ralph Allen Drive.
With this option, vehicles would not be able to access Church Street or St Thomas’s Church from Ralph Allen Drive. Drivers would only be able to access and exit Church Street from the Widcombe Hill junction.
There would be space for vehicles to carry out a three-point turn before the bollards on Church Street and near the church.
The proposed space for the droppable bollard is near an existing bench and bus stop, so there may be the opportunity to create an additional community space for local residents.
We would provide advance warning signs to warn motorists that they would not be able to use Church Street as a through route. We are proposing a ‘new road layout ahead’ and a 'no through road' sign on new posts at the change from Widcombe Hill to Church Street in the north, and a ‘no through road’ sign on a new post as you approach the Ralph Allen Drive junction from Church Street.
Additional waiting restrictions may be required to preserve the turning area, including double yellow lines and signage.
The introduction of a vehicle restriction on Church Street will move through traffic back onto main roads, while maintaining vehicle access for residents and their visitors. It would create a safer, quieter and more pleasant road space for residents, children, pedestrians and cyclists.
Reduced through traffic may also encourage some residents to park back on the street instead of parking on the pavement, making the route more accessible for pedestrians and wheelchairs.
Along with physical restrictions, we are working with residents – especially where issues have been identified – to reduce reliance on cars where possible, especially for short trips that could be walked or wheeled. This is to help reduce congestion on all roads, improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions. There are also health, wellbeing and financial benefits for the individual.
Developing liveable neighbourhoods is not all about physical interventions and will rely in part on everyone finding healthier, sustainable ways to do short journeys.
Droppable bollards are collapsible physical barriers that prevent most vehicles from passing, while still providing space on either side for pedestrians, cyclists and mobility scooters to pass.
Emergency services, service vehicles, and other selected organisations (such as the church and National Trust) will be able to use a key or pin number to lower the bollards, allowing them to pass.
Option 1: St Thomas's Church
If option 1 is trialled, access to the properties on Church Street south of St Thomas's Church would be from Prior Park Road/Ralph Allen Drive. Drivers would be able to drive up to the church, but would have to carry out a three-point turn at the droppable bollards near the church to exit the street from the same side they used to enter.
Access to the properties on Church Street north of St Thomas’s Church and on Church Lane would be from Widcombe Hill. Drivers would be able to drive up to the church (or continue on to Church Lane), but would have to carry out a three-point turn at the droppable bollards near the church to then exit via Widcombe Hill.
As it would no longer be possible to pass from Widcombe Hill to Prior Park Road/Ralph Allen Drive via Church Street (or vice versa), this may add time and distance to some residents’ trips, but would limit through traffic to the main roads and improve residents' parking and safety.
Option 2: Ralph Allen Drive junction
If option 2 is trialled, residents along the entire length of Church Street and Church Lane would only be able to access Church Street and Church Lane from Widcombe Hill.
As it would no longer be possible to access Prior Park Road/Ralph Allen Drive via Church Street, this may add time and distance to some residents’ trips, but would limit through traffic to the main roads and improve residents' parking and safety.
Have your say
We held an in-person public engagement event on 16 August 2022, where residents could discuss the proposals in more detail with a member of our team.
An online and printed questionnaire was available for people to indicate their support for the proposal with an invitation to leave further comments and suggestions.
The consultation closed on 30 August 2022.
Read the engagement feedback report and the single member decision
What happens next
A final decision on whether or not to proceed with a trial will be made in early November.
Assuming there is support for the vehicle restriction, we will draw up a more detailed design, taking on board residents’ comments.
The restriction would then be temporarily installed from Autumn 2022, under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO).
This trial would run for 6 months. During this time, residents and the wider public could experience the changes and see how it affects traffic movements. We would ask for your views on the restriction during a 12-month formal consultation.
We would inform residents and the public of the details before a trial starts, including the final design, installation date and how you can formally have your say. We will consider all comments before we decide whether to permanently adopt any restriction.
Should a trial be approved, we will monitor local traffic movements using automatic traffic counts and cameras. This would happen towards the end of the trial period and will be compared to baseline data collected before any trial starts (in Autumn 2022).
We will publish the data to show the impact of any restriction on local traffic movements. It would inform any decision to permanently adopt the restriction.