'50 years of missed chances' to solve transport problems

October 02 2017

A CRUCIAL first step has been taken towards improving transport links for commuters in the Downend area.

A CRUCIAL first step has been taken towards improving transport links for commuters in the Downend area.

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA), formed earlier this year and led by the new Metro Mayor Tim Bowles, has agreed to spend £1.2m investigating the feasibility of several schemes in South Gloucestershire, Bristol and Bath & North East Somerset.

These include park and rides, cycle routes, improvements at Yate and Keynsham stations, and better links between Yate and the A4174 Avon Ring Road along the A432 Badminton Road, including the extension of MetroBus to Yate.

The proposals also revive the idea of a park and ride at the top of the M32, which was dropped from the first phase of MetroBus works. The WECA meeting at Kingswood Civic Centre was told the feasibility studies were needed to gather evidence and prepare and cost the proposals for measures to improve connectivity across the area.

Transport campaigners said it was important to be realistic about what could be achieved.

Professor Steve West, interim chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership, which works closely with WECA, said it would be vital to work together for the best solutions.

“We can’t resolve 50 years of missed opportunities and poor thinking and planning across our city region all at once. We now have the opportunity to be very radical and ambitious about the future. This is the start,” he said. 

South Gloucestershire Council leader Matthew Riddle said WECA was hitting the ground running with the £1.2m transport package, which would bring potential benefits across council boundaries.

Bristol cabinet councillor Nicola Beech said: “This is the start of our plans to ensure that connectivity around the region improves in the long term.”

B&NES council leader Councillor Tim Warren welcomed the proposals for the A4, which he said would be a big help to people in the Keynsham area. 

WECA is set to look at another package of transport schemes at its meeting on October 30.