News and views from north Bristol's urban village

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Westbury Road Bus Lane to be Removed - Sort of

Westbury Road, Durdham Downs, Bristol
Westbury Road, Durdham Downs, Bristol (Photo credit: brizzle born and bred)

Reports in this week's Evening Post of the demise of the Westbury Road bus lane have, it appears, been somewhat exaggerated.

The controversial bus lane came into being earlier this year between Henleaze Road and White Tree Roundabout on the city-bound side of Westbury Road. It has been blamed by campaigners for significantly increasing car journey times across the Downs at peak times, with motorists (and even buses) routinely backed up to the zebra crossing at the junction with Westbury Hill.

Following a high profile campaign by, among others, Westbury resident Simon Brookes, supported by councillor Geoff Gallop and local MP Charlotte Leslie, it was reported in the Post that the City Council had agreed to remove the lane and restore the road to its former state.

Not so, according to campaign group This Bus Lane is Madness. An update today on the group's facebook page describes the Post's article as "misleading." Tim Kent, councillor responsible for transport,

"has agreed to remove less than half of it."

The group claim that the actual plan is to modify the lane by shortening it. 

"This must be some attempt to save embarrassment as the remaining 120 meters is no use to man nor beast."

Trym Tales supports action to reduce car journeys in and out of the city centre (see photo), and wonders whether it has been possible to even asses the effect of the bus lane with so many other city-bound routes having been partially closed in recent months. Major road works on Northumbria Drive, and the continued closure of Wellington Hill, have meant that the only routes into and across the city centre in recent months have been via Westbury Road or the Portway. Has it, under these conditions, been possible to say how much of the recent congestion is a result of drivers avoiding the road works in favour of Westbury Road?

When the Henleaze and Wellington Hill roadworks are both completed, we may see a different picture emerging.

Or, we may then all conclude that the bus lane was just a white elephant.

What do you think?

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bsk said...

I'd be annoyed to see it go as a cyclist - that road is intimidating enough as it is - the bus lane is the only safe place to be on that road. To shorten it would be just a classic BCC fudge as you may as it will not help anyone.

Once again this will probably go the way of appeasing the motoring lobby as the rest of the travelling public has been forced into doing for most of the past century.

Al Shaw said...

Hi bsk,

There's no doubt that increasing the public transport and cycling options is going to have to be at the expense of motorists in some shape or form.

I guess in the end it's a matter of getting that balance right.

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