A4 Keynsham bus lanes not the answer, says Labour

DEDICATED bus lanes on the A4 Keynsham bypass are not the solution for better and cleaner travel, according to Keynsham & Saltford Labour Party.

The party has responded to a consultation by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) on proposals to boost bus, cycling and walking options along the route.

Under the proposals, bus lanes would be installed along the length of the bypass in each direction, leaving just one lane on each side for all other traffic.

But Keynsham & Saltford Labour Party believes that installing the bus lanes would be a mistake and says that offering people cheap and convenient alternatives to driving is a better approach.

It said: “After consultation with B&NES and WECA, we understand that they believe that the bus lane would provide guaranteed regularity of service and speed of travel between Bristol and Bath.”

But it added: “It does seem that in the search for a minute or two extra time-saving along the A4, they ignore the hold-ups for that bus trying to leave Bath and its traffic lights and the lights in Saltford and Brislington too.

“Our concern is that if a dedicated lane is provided, it will mean hold-ups for traffic and additional traffic using Keynsham as a bypass for the bypass.”

Instead, the party recommends a regular minibus service from outlying estates to the town centre, railway station and the proposed mobility hubs at Hicks Gate and Station Road, on the edge of Keynsham Memorial Park.

Under the A4 proposals, cyclists would be allowed to ride through the park to reach the hub.

The Labour party said it acknowledged some people’s concerns about cyclists and children mixing and that great care and planning would be required to ensure a safe place for children to play. It also noted that a large green area next to the skate park would be lost to the hub.

But it said “the principle of connecting Keynsham to both the Hick’s Gate faster bus hub and the station, whilst allowing cyclists to join the A4 at this point, is largely approved of.”

The party says it also supports efforts to reduce air pollution on the busy A4 route.

“We believe that reducing carbon dioxide in the environment is a proven fact and necessity. We don’t believe that attacking these facts with ‘anti-car’ accusations is helpful by our current government because it undermines the genuine efforts to make improvements that our councils and WECA are attempting.

“However, we do believe that offering the public cheap and convenient alternative options to driving is the correct approach.

“If we can create a transport system here in Keynsham that will pick you up from your street every 20 minutes, take you to the train station or to the bus hub to get you to Bristol or Bath in 20 minutes for a few pounds, our residents might consider that option and save their car use for times when public transport will not allow them to do what they need to do.”

As reported in last month’s Voice, Saltford Parish Council favours greater use of rail services to improve journeys on the route, include the reopening Saltford Station.

Keynsham & Saltford Labour Party has agreed, saying: “Although we are asked to consult directly on the suggestion provided, we must underline our belief that improved rail infrastructure is cheaper and more straightforward.

“We would ask for the reinstatement of the Saltford station, which our colleagues have been calling for, for the past 20 years.

“We would also suggest that a station at Brislington would bring further benefit too.”

The party adds: “We believe that some of these proposals go some way in achieving our desire for improved transportation around Keynsham – they just don’t take us far enough.

“We believe that, like Manchester, buses must become ‘locally controlled’ in order that they can begin meeting local need and not just be based on profitability.

“We must have a joined up public transport system that works for Keynsham.”

Pictured, how a mobility hub could look.