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27 September 1999
A Public Meeting chaired by David Gledhill, Editor, The Bath Chronicle
To open the meeting, Jane McDermott, Leader of the CI:TE (City Initiative: Transport and Environment) Team presented an overview of the proposed changes to the City centre, one of which is the introduction of `bus gates', which are sites where buses (and selected other vehicles) will be allowed to pass but private cars will not. The objective is to prevent cars using the City centre as a through route, but not to prevent them entering it for access. Three sites were originally proposed but it may be decided to install fewer. An assessment of the effects of introducing one bus gate in Northgate Street is being carried out by a movement survey of vehicles. Other assessments are being carried out to estimate the effect on transport & access; the environment; and business & the economy of the City.
The movement survey through Northgate St. counted the total traffic, the number of buses and taxis and noted the origin and destination of the vehicles moving in both directions during four one-hour periods of one day. It predicted which routes vehicles which would be prevented from passing by a bus gate, would use. When the Multi-Modal (Computer) Model is installed later this year, it will be used to simulate the situation and provide another forecast of the effect of the bus gate.
The assessment will be reported in October; consultations will take place during November and the recommendations presented to the PTE Committee in January 2000.
David Mathews then presented the preliminary results of an assessment being carried out for the CI:TE Team by the Chamber of Commerce and amongst residents, visitors and mobility-impaired people.
The discussion revealed that there were two sets of people: those who think about moving around the centre and those who think about getting in and out of the centre. Most people visualise the threat posed before the benefits.
The general view was that it was essential that the preparatory work for an experimental installation of a bus gate must be completed thoroughly, in the form of signs and information to drivers, before the experiment began. This might make the installation of bus gates unnecessary. Also, it was essential that the results of the experiment are evaluated and the effects of various parameters distinguished.