Rethink over 24-hour bus lanes on A4018

WORK is due to start this month on an upgrade to the A4018 route into Bristol.

The project, first approved in 2019 but delayed because of the pandemic, includes bus lanes, cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings.

The roadworks between Passage Road and Charlton Road are expected to take 18 months and the cost has risen by more than a quarter – from £3.8 million to £5.1 million – since the funding was first approved.

Bristol’s Mayor, Marvin Rees has agreed to take a “fresh look” at plans for the bus lanes to operate 24 hours a day.

Conservative group leader Cllr Mark Weston, who represents the Henbury & Brentry ward, says round-the-clock inbound and outbound bus lanes will cause “mayhem” and are not needed because no 24-hour services use the route.

Mr Rees has now offered to work with ward councillors on finding a possible alternative.

Cllr Weston told a recent meeting of city council member forum: “We have made reservations regarding the proposed new bus lanes previously.

“This isn’t actually a stretch of road that buses get delayed on – feel free to ask the local bus users who on the whole agree

“It is a 24-hour bus lane without 24-hour buses and only the No 1 uses that stretch of road, [which] suffers from natural pinch-points that will cause real mayhem if this plan is proceeded.”

He said that as vehicles travelling north towards Cribbs Causeway crested Brentry Hill, the move from one lane to two allowed a large amount of traffic flow, and that without this capacity, cars would back up over the slope and delay northbound buses. We have seen this previously when the bus lane was first installed by the White Tree roundabout,” Cllr Weston said.

“It was too long and caused massive congestion.

“We in north Bristol remember this and I can assure you this isn’t nimbyism – we understand how the traffic flows in our part of the city as we live with it all the time.”

He said that by contrast, traffic moving south towards the city centre arriving at Crow Lane roundabout on two lanes would suddenly move to one because of the bus lane, creating “entirely predictable congestion”.

Cllr Weston asked the mayor: “In light of the serious probability of causing gridlock along this stretch of road, will he look again at the length of bus lanes on A4018 and preferably abandon this part of the scheme?”

In a written reply to the meeting on Tuesday, November 8, Mr Rees said: “I appreciate your concerns.

“Can I suggest we discuss them further and take a fresh look at the proposals?”

The mayor said that if the council took no action to improve public transport on the A4018 then congestion would get worse because of the development of the massive Cribbs Patchway New Neighbourhood.

By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service