Expensive bus lane reversed and the Torbay palm tree

October 17, 2012 5:31 PM

More bad news for Bristol Cllr Tim Kent, recent recipient of our Pinhead of the Month award. The enthusiast for multi-million pound taxpayer funded transport schemes has had to admit that Bristol City Council got it wrong when they introduced a costly stretch of bus lane in Westbury Road in February.

Thanks to the dogged campaigning of local residents, the full extent of this transport error was revealed shortly afterwards when congestion started building up as traffic was forced into a single lane. By July, Cllr Kent, responsible for Bristol city transport, conceded the chaos and delay caused by the bus lane and now wants to spend more taxpayers’ money on reversing its effect.

‘We've looked at the layout carefully and what we propose now is a further improvement,’ he claims, although one wonders how carefully they looked at it the first time round. ‘Not only will it reinstate the two-lane approach to the roundabout for motorists to help traffic flow,’ he insists, ‘with the previous lane markings reinstated, it will in fact slightly increase the capacity compared to previous levels.’

‘This bus lane highlights waste of public money,’ says mayoral candidate Geoff Gollop, ‘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.’

‘In a so-called attempt to reduce congestion and free up buses,’ agrees Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie, ‘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.’

With decisions like this, it’s a good job Cllr Tim Kent called time on his big idea to improve Bristol city transport—the Workplace Parking Levy—thanks, of course, only to the intervention of local protestors and the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

In the meantime, the mayor of Torbay is getting it in the neck for spending £20,000 of taxpayers’ money on planting a palm tree on a roundabout leading into the Devon seaside resort. Such an extravagance in an age of austerity, says a BBC report, seems unnecessary, but, to be honest, a giant palm tree is probably a good way of advertising the particular mild climate appeal of Torbay and has the support of some local businesses.

Where the mayor gets it wrong is that the expensive 20-foot palm tree, brought in from Spain, will only sit in the roundabout for three years before it is moved as a result of a bypass making the roundabout redundant. ‘The mayor's temporary palm tree is another example of poor management when plenty of schemes exist which could benefit Torbay for generations,’ says an opposition spokesman. ‘If this was a 20-year feature it would be worth considering, but this is spending £20,000 on window dressing rather than tackling the real issues. It’s a complete waste of money.’

 More bad news for Bristol Cllr Tim Kent, recent recipient of our Pinhead of the Month award. The enthusiast for multi-million pound taxpayer funded transport schemes has had to admit that Bristol City Council got it wrong when they introduced a costly stretch of bus lane in Westbury Road in February.

Thanks to the dogged campaigning of local residents, the full extent of this transport error was revealed shortly afterwards when congestion started building up as traffic was forced into a single lane. By July, Cllr Kent, responsible for Bristol city transport, conceded the chaos and delay caused by the bus lane and now wants to spend more taxpayers’ money on reversing its effect.

‘We've looked at the layout carefully and what we propose now is a further improvement,’ he claims, although one wonders how carefully they looked at it the first time round. ‘Not only will it reinstate the two-lane approach to the roundabout for motorists to help traffic flow,’ he insists, ‘with the previous lane markings reinstated, it will in fact slightly increase the capacity compared to previous levels.’

‘This bus lane highlights waste of public money,’ says mayoral candidate Geoff Gollop, ‘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.’

‘In a so-called attempt to reduce congestion and free up buses,’ agrees Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie, ‘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.’

With decisions like this, it’s a good job Cllr Tim Kent called time on his big idea to improve Bristol city transport—the Workplace Parking Levy—thanks, of course, only to the intervention of local protestors and the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

In the meantime, the mayor of Torbay is getting it in the neck for spending £20,000 of taxpayers’ money on planting a palm tree on a roundabout leading into the Devon seaside resort. Such an extravagance in an age of austerity, says a BBC report, seems unnecessary, but, to be honest, a giant palm tree is probably a good way of advertising the particular mild climate appeal of Torbay and has the support of some local businesses.

Where the mayor gets it wrong is that the expensive 20-foot palm tree, brought in from Spain, will only sit in the roundabout for three years before it is moved as a result of a bypass making the roundabout redundant. ‘The mayor's temporary palm tree is another example of poor management when plenty of schemes exist which could benefit Torbay for generations,’ says an opposition spokesman. ‘If this was a 20-year feature it would be worth considering, but this is spending £20,000 on window dressing rather than tackling the real issues. It’s a complete waste of money.’

 

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