Lessons to be learned on 'pointless' bus lane
TRANSPORT chiefs have been scolded for going ahead with a "pointless" bus lane on a busy Bristol road, which caused daily gridlock.
A hue and cry over the lane on the inward bound carriageway on the approach to White Tree roundabout, Westbury Road, led to most of the 200-metre long stretch being removed in October.
But cabinet councillor Geoff Gollop said the there were lessons to be learned because of the way in which the issue had been handled by council officers.
Mr Gollop said: "If we are going to consult about issues, it doesn't mean ticking a box which says 'consult'. It means actually listening to the views which are expressed and acting accordingly.
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"At the end of the day, the council's purpose is to serve the people it represents, not make them put up with schemes that don't work."
A petition with more than 3,500 names was handed in to the council, which triggered a debate at City Hall yesterday.
Simon Brookes, one of the residents, said: "I am totally shocked that the citizens of Bristol – and their ability to function on a daily basis – have been treated with absolute disdain, a holier-than-thou attitude that has caused people daily hardship and inconvenience.
"These changes must have had an adverse impact on business in the city and an indication to business people travelling into the city that we were not 'open for business'.
Liberal Democrat councillor Gary Hopkins said people's views were taken into account before the bus lane was installed. He said it was naive to think that transport officers always got everything right first time.
Another Lib Dem, Steve Comer, said bus lanes had been very effective in other parts of the city.
Mayor George Ferguson said: "I think there are things which have come out of this which need serious review. I realise the importance of bus lanes in the right places but there could be no hard and fast rules."
He promised that he would never make decisions as a face-saving exercise and hoped that "it will never happen again, if it is judged that it may have happened before".
Councillors agreed to refer the issue to the mayor for further review.