Stretch of bus lane to be removed by council
PART of a bus lane is set to be removed after motorists complained that its introduction had caused heavy congestion on a major route into Bristol.
Bristol City Council has announced it will remove a stretch of bus lane in Westbury Road and reinstate two lanes for traffic.
The authority has acted after residents and councillors protested against the introduction of the lane, which they claimed caused traffic congestion between White Tree roundabout and Black Boy Hill in Clifton.
The protests were led by Simon Brookes, 61, of Westbury-on-Trym, who became incensed at the queues building up after the installation of the bus lane in February.
Mr Brookes was supported by residents as well as his Conservative ward councillors Alastair Watson and Geoff Gollop and Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie.
His group, calling itself This Bus Lane is Madness, claimed the city council had refused to admit there was a problem.
But Tim Kent, city councillor responsible for transport, did concede in July that congestion had become worse after the introduction of the lane.
Work will start within the next few weeks to reinstate the original layout in Westbury Road at the junction with the White Tree roundabout, to ease traffic flow in the area.
The inbound bus lane will be shortened to increase the length of road with two lanes on the approach to the roundabout.
Mr Kent said: "There have been some discussions about traffic flow on this section of Westbury Road. We've looked at the layout carefully and what we propose now is a further improvement.
"Not only will it reinstate the two-lane approach to the roundabout for motorists to help traffic flow, with the previous lane markings reinstated, it will in fact slightly increase the capacity compared to previous levels. It is important to remember that this inbound stretch of road was always just one lane prior to the immediate approach to the roundabout.
"The new additional bus lane was created from the outbound section of the road, using a redundant right-turn lane for Henleaze Road.
The shortened bus lane will continue to run, speeding up journeys for bus passengers coming into Bristol.
"We believe that this will improve the situation along Westbury Road but this area around the Downs will continue to experience traffic problems because of the extensive works by Bristol Water as part of their £22 million Bristol Resilience Scheme. This is currently taking place on North View but will cross Westbury Road over the next few weeks, before then extending to Upper Belgrave Road."
Among campaigners who fought for the changes were Tory mayoral candidate Geoff Gollop and Bristol North West Tory MP Charlotte Leslie. Mr Gollop said: "This bus lane highlights waste of public money – a bus lane that no one wanted, installed at great cost, followed by more expense to put it right, ending up with a more dangerous road than we started with."
Ms Leslie said: "In a so-called attempt to reduce congestion and free up buses, we had the farcical situation in which buses themselves were being caught up in the congestion and would sit idle for long periods before they even reached the bus lane."