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New figures produced to justify Hatchet Road bus lane but cost pressures might just kill it off

Posted on Sunday 3rd December 2017 at 5:35 pm by SH (Editor)

Indicative artist’s impression of proposals on Hatchet Road (looking north).

The future of a controversial plan to construct a new southbound bus lane on Hatchet Road in Stoke Gifford looks set to be finally decided, without further public consultation, at a meeting of South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) Cabinet on Monday 4th December.

The move is likely to anger local campaigners who collected more than 3,300 signatures on a petition that called for the original decision to be reviewed, leading to the council resolving in July 2017 to bring forward alternative proposals for consideration and carry out further consultation.

The proposed new bus lane will form part of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) scheme, which will link The Mall at Cribbs Causeway with Bristol Parkway Station and serve the new developments planned for the former Filton Airfield site.

Local residents and councillors have expressed strong opposition to the bus lane because it will require mature hedgerows and trees to be removed from both sides of Hatchet Road. They also claim it is a waste of money, costing £2m to reduce bus journey times by just 29 seconds (revised to an average of 93 seconds in a new report prepared for this month’s meeting).

The overall cost of the CPME scheme is estimated at £35m, a major part of which will be spent on replacing the railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane with a much wider concrete structure that can accommodate a bus lane and a general traffic lane in each direction.

Members of the Hatchet Road Action Group have previously expressed preference for an alternative scheme involving the implementation of lay-bys at bus stops, which they claim would facilitate better traffic flow for all road users. This was substantiated by figures in SGC’s original report, which showed that it would achieve improved bus journey time savings in comparison to the bus lane option. However, officers advised against it on the grounds that it “would not necessarily deliver consistently reliable bus and MetroBus journey times”.

In the latest report, consultants say they have revisited the original analysis and identified shortcomings, such as a too pessimistic view being taken of the chance of MetroBus vehicles having to wait at pedestrian crossings and behind other buses at non-MetroBus stops. They also claim insufficient allowance was made for delays faced by buses re-entering the main traffic flow from lay-bys. The net result, it is claimed, is that the bus lane option can now be shown to perform better than lay-bys.

More: Hints that cllrs might nonetheless scrap bus lane to save money »

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Hatchet Road bus lane decision put back by SGC

Posted on Sunday 5th November 2017 at 10:36 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo showing members of the Hatchet Road Action Group standing at a bus stop.

Campaigners opposed to the construction of a new bus lane on Hatchet Road in Stoke Gifford will have to wait a further month to learn the outcome of a review they secured through a 3,000+ signature petition.

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) previously said it anticipated presenting the results of a review into route options for the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) scheme at a meeting of its Cabinet on 6th November, but when the topic was entered into the Cabinet’s published work plan at the start of October, the ‘decision due’ date was given as 4th December.

Asked why the decision had been put back from the originally anticipated date, a South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said:

“We found we needed to do further work resulting in us having to revise the meeting date.”

On the subject of the leaked report which showed that SGC was considering the option of closing the Parkway railway bridge to general traffic as an alternative to constructing a bus lane on Hatchet Road, local resident Paul Tanner, who leads the Hatchet Road Action Group, says he has “been informed from a reliable source that this is no longer an option for the forthcoming Cabinet meeting to consider”.

• Read more at ‘Hatchet Road 2016’ on Facebook.

Photo: Members of the Action Group at a bus stop on Hatchet Road.

This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 17). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Study looks at closing Parkway bridge to cars

Posted on Saturday 21st October 2017 at 9:11 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of the railway bridge near Parkway Station, with a "buses and cycles only" sign superimposed.

Leaked document reveals council is looking at closing bridge to general traffic, to help speed MetroBus journeys.

Campaigners who successfully petitioned for a review of South Gloucestershire Council’s decision to construct a new bus lane on Hatchet Road, Stoke Gifford say they are shocked to hear that one of the alternative proposals being actively considered by the council includes the closure to general traffic of the Parkway Station railway bridge (linking Hatchet Road to Brierly Furlong).

The bus lane, or whatever alternative proposal might replace it, is required to support a ‘second phase’ MetroBus route known as the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME), which will link The Mall at Cribbs Causeway with Bristol Parkway Station and serve the new developments planned for the former Filton Airfield site.

The council insists that measures are needed to shorten MetroBus bus journey times and “increase reliability” on the Hatchet Road section of the route, but campaigners have argued that the bus lane scheme represents poor value for money and will only achieve minimal journey time improvements.

Their preferred alternative, which would remove the need to remove mature hedgerows and trees from both sides of Hatchet Road, is to review the number of bus stops and implement lay-bys at those that are deemed necessary.

A study note seen by the Journal and known to be in the possession of local councillors and campaigners, describes a £1.5m scheme to restrict the Parkway railway bridge to buses, taxis, pedestrians and cyclists only. This would be supported by a £6.5m scheme to widen the Winterbourne Road to dual carriageway along its full length between the Hatchet Road Roundabout and Great Stoke Roundabout (a.k.a. Rabbit Roundabout) and a £5m scheme of improvements at Great Stoke Roundabout.

The supporting elements are understood to be necessary to handle the general traffic that would need to use the soon-to-open Stoke Gifford Transport Link as an alternative route.

More: Scheme "would have a good chance of achieving funding" »

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Stoke Gifford By-Pass to open “by Christmas”

Posted on Saturday 14th October 2017 at 10:49 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo: Looking from north Highbrook Park, towards Hambrook Lane.

Commuters heading south from Bradley Stoke towards the A4174 Ring Road and the M32 could soon have a new route option open to them with the news that the currently under-construction Stoke Gifford Transport Link (SGTL, known locally as the Stoke Gifford By-Pass) is set to open before the end of the year.

The new road, which will be open to all traffic (not just MetroBus), will link Parkway North Roundabout on Great Stoke Way (A) and the A41474 Ring Road (D), close to the Holiday Inn. [See annotations on map below.]

Its construction has required the installation of two new bridges, one over the main railway line (B, near Kings Drive) and the second over the Ham Brook (C, close to the new Crest Nicholson housing development at Highbrook Park).

Contractors Alun Griffiths report that the carriageway is now fully surfaced, with the exception of the section over the Ham Brook bridge.

A MetroBus spokesperson has confirmed to the Journal that it is hoped to have the new road open “before Christmas”. The Ham Brook bridge is expected to be completed in mid-October. Work on the installation of traffic signals is ongoing.

MetroBus services on the North Fringe to Hengrove (NFHP) route, which will make use of the SGTL, will now not begin until 2018. Information on operators and the service start date “will follow next year”, added the spokesperson.

Photo: Looking north from the Hambrook Lane junction, towards the new railway bridge and Bradley Stoke.

Top: Looking from north Highbrook Park, towards Hambrook Lane.  Above: Looking north from the Hambrook Lane junction, towards the new railway bridge and Bradley Stoke.

More: Junction of Hambrook Lane and the SGTL will be restricted »

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