Cllr Glen Burrows (Eastover) is Bridgwater Town Council’s Portfolio Holder for Transport. This week she was re-elected to the role and has produced a Sustainable Transport Plan for Bridgwater working with other Councillors and the Bridgwater Transport Forum.
Here is that report.
Many problems arise from decades of car-centric planning within our towns & cities. One way to resolve some of these issues is to re-prioritise and re-balance our streets, to make it easier for people to choose to walk, cycle or take public transport.
Our transport strategy aims to make everyday lives better, support businesses and encourage travellers to be healthier and make Bridgwater greener. This will take account of health and safety, affordability and environmental issues. We will encourage complementary, rather than competitive, transport systems and achieve accessibility for all. Good transport networks are vital to community well-being. Creating ease of access and egress to town and surrounding areas is vital to the development of our community and local economy.
The Bridgwater Transport Forum will work on the following plans in consultation with user groups, Councils, businesses and public to develop the framework for a Sustainable Transport Policy for Bridgwater.
WHAT WILL SUCCESS LOOK LIKE?
We will know we have been successful in delivering our vision when we see the following changes resulting from the four key areas of work:
- active travel – more journeys being made actively by cycling and walking
- bus service improvement and increased use
- better connectivity with rail
- lower demand for parking – fewer car journeys being made, particularly to work and school
- climate change action – lower greenhouse gas emissions from road transport
- BTC Transport Forum regularly lobbying Somerset County Council on Bridgwater’s transport priorities
INDICATORS SHOWING HOW TRANSPORT WILL DELIVER AGAINST THE KEY AREAS
- We will put pedestrians, children and cyclists first, promoting safer transport systems and regular audits of street and pavement safety, along with promotion of safe cycling in schools and via social media
- We will improve well-being and physical health, with an increased number of people walking and cycling via promotion of cycle paths, shared pavements and pedestrianisation
- We will reduce congestion, contributing to a more vibrant and healthier environment
- We will campaign to reduce income inequality with improved travel choices and cheaper fares
- We will protect the environment with lower carbon emissions and improved air quality
- We will make the local Transport Authority accountable, promoting our Transport Strategy through regular liaison via a County Transport Forum
- Bridgwater Town Council will actively promote walking, cycling and bus travel in a variety of ways
- Continually promote & communicate positive messages about the benefits of all sustainable means of transport
- Work with other local organisations/groups who share our aims & exchange information
- Wider pavements required
- Needs of disabled, children and elderly to be more consistently met
- Safety of pedestrians the key factor
- Regular audits of pedestrian provision
- BTC to initiate development of pedestrian and Home Zones in the Bridgwater area
- Better and more logical provision of cycle routes and paths
- Wider pavements, to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians
- Significant improvement in the design quality of main crossings & road junction
- Proper audit of cycle routes & recommendations for new route infrastructure
- Cyclists code to be promoted locally with cooperation & liaison with the local councils
- All new roads should include cycle provision, where feasible
- All new housing/commercial developments to be encouraged to contribute towards the provision of safe cycling & walking infrastructure
- Encourage and support people to enjoy being more physically active
- Campaign for the provision of safe & secure cycle parking facilities
- Complete rail /bus integration. The Celebration Mile project is crucial to this
- Liaison with bus companies to develop new routes, answer need and avoid multiple companies chasing same route
- BTC should take part in or develop a ‘use it or lose it’ campaign
- Provision of digital timetable information at strategic points
- Encourage provision of subsidies for bus routes and explore opportunities for regulation of fares and services via franchising or municipal ownership
- Increased ticket office opening hours necessary to meet needs of growing population
- Provision of bus link from rail station to town centre
- Provision of signage to town centre and supporting information
- Continue to lobby franchise holders for increase in number of HST trains stopping at Bridgwater
- Better provision to meet the gap between platform and train, such as Harrington Humps
- Key through-routes into town centre to be identified
- Cars should be barred from accessing town centre via Eastover and Town Bridge crossing
- Development of Park and Ride facilities on a North/South axis
- Promotion of electric vehicles and development of sites for re-charging them. BTC to call for provision of EV charging facilities, as an integral part of all planning development
- Parking options for traders in streets otherwise closed to private parking
- Better enforcement of parking restrictions
- Residents parking zones to be encouraged where majority residents support provision, with clear guidelines for making application Increased monitoring and seepage into early evening to allow residents to benefit after work.
- BTC to call for a review of town-centre parking, with introduction of 20 mph speed limit, chicanes/chevrons where practicable, and lower parking fees for EVs.
- BTC to initiate an investigation into the prevalence of “engine idling” and a campaign to persuade car/taxi drivers to cease this practice
- Confirm adequacy of taxi rank provision and amend accordingly
- The town’s internal road infrastructure remains largely that of a mediaeval town, with narrow roads and pavements
- Audit of roads in and around town required to assess suitability/availability/diversions required, etc.
- Aim to reduce accessibility of private cars to the town centre but to access edges with increased parking and linkage and therefore more pedestrian friendly central location
- BTC to call for Bascule bridge to be closed to motorised transport, but to remain open to pedestrians and cyclists, with guaranteed future-proofing for water transport, as part of improved cycling/walking access to docks and town centre, and maintenance of Bridgwater’s maritime heritage
- Although there is currently no water-based transport in Bridgwater, there is potential for developments which would fully utilise the docks, canal and river
- We are committed to the docks remaining under democratic control and development as a local asset, with all existing historic features to be retained.
- Bridgwater Local Walking & Cycling Infrastructure Plan (LWCIP) prepared in conjuction with Somerset County Council (SCC)
- Public Transport Services Development Plan including both buses and rail
- Parking Plan
- Our Plan will support and complement the green, sustainable policies of the Climate Emergency Forum