Ringing the changes on the ring road

NEW paths, crossings and a 40mph limit could be introduced on the Avon Ring Road near Downend.

South Gloucestershire Council has launched a consultation on plans to widen paths to help create two-way cycle lanes alongside the A4174, between the Wick Wick roundabout at Badminton Road and the Coldharbour Lane junction near UWE’s Frenchay campus.

The proposals involve reducing the speed limit from 50 to 40mph on the westbound carriageway between the Bromley Heath and Abbey Wood roundabouts – the eastbound limit would remain at 50mph.

A new bus stop would be built near the Wick Wick roundabout, west of the roundabout and behind homes on Lingfield Park, at a spot currently used as a lay-by. The 2+ lane would be extended to the bus stop.

A segregated two-way cycle lane and separate footpath would be built south of the ring road between the Wick Wick roundabout and Coldharbour Lane, with the exception of a short stretch over the Bromley Heath viaduct, where the path would remain shared between pedestrians and cyclists.

New pedestrian crossings at the Wick Wick roundabout, to allow people to cross from one side of the A432 Badminton Road to the other to the north of the ring road, are also planned.

The council says it wants to “deliver a step-change in making it much easier for people to walk, use a wheelchair or pushchair and cycle around our area, and improve public transport.”

The consultations are the latest stage in the region’s Joint Local Transport Plan, adopted in 2019 by all West of England local authorities, including South Gloucestershire Council.

The council asked for initial views on changes to the ring road and A432 early last year, and says the new proposals, out for consultation until December 17, address the “high number of comments” made by the public on the initial scheme.

Works will be paid for from £105 million in Government funding, allocated to the council for transport infrastructure investments through the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement two years ago and administered by the West of England Combined Authority.

The council said: “The money available for these projects can only be used for new transport infrastructure and cannot be used for funding bus services, filling potholes or other council functions such as social services, education or libraries.”

Some proposals from the initial plans, including a ‘bus gate’ junction at the Hambrook traffic lights, and a metrobus stop near Bromley Heath Park, are not in the current consultation.

Cabinet councillor for transport Chris Willmore said: “People are telling me that right now their priority is to have buses, more routes and more frequent services – this is a separate capital fund from government to help make it easier for people walking, cycling or using wheelchairs and to provide a long-term bus corridor in the A38.

“So our question is – how do we best use this money for the purpose it was given to us?

“It’s about reducing barriers so people have more choice about how they get about, and getting our roads ready for better bus services.

“We really need your ideas about how to achieve that goal of improving cycling, walking wheeling and bus facilities on these routes – and support people who live along it.”

More details about the plans, along with a short survey, can be found at www.southglos.gov.uk/a4174-improvements.

Online consultation events are being held via Microsoft Teams on December 5 between noon and 1pm, and from 6pm to 7pm, and can be accessed via the consultation website.

A council drop-in consultation event in Bromley Heath has already been held: it was announced after November’s Voice went to print.

Anyone who is not online can call the council’s transport department on 01454 868004 for help.