Six new bus lanes are set to be introduced on major routes across Reading.
Road space on Oxford Road, Bath Road, London Road and Southampton Street will be given over to buses under £26 million plans recommended for approval at the January 11 meeting of Reading Borough Council’s traffic management sub-committee.
The new lanes will be at:
- A329 Oxford Road – outbound bus lane between Zinzan Street and George Street
- A329 Oxford Road – outbound bus lane between Pangbourne Street and Norcot Junction
- A4 Bath Road – outbound bus lane from Circuit Lane to Granville Road
- A327 Southampton Street – inbound bus lane from Pell Street to The Oracle roundabout
- A4 London Road – inbound bus lane between Sidmouth Street and London Street
- A4 London Road – inbound bus lane between Liverpool Road and Cemetery Junction
The council says 17.5m passenger journeys were made between April 2022 and March 2023 and that number is expected to rise to 20m by March 2024.
The new bus lanes have been identified in areas where services incur delays, particularly at peak times.
Consultations carried out last year prompted a number of responses, arguing that motorcycles should be able to use the bus lanes and the council has proposed an experimental Traffic Regulation Order to allow them to for a trial period.
Cllr John Ennis, lead councillor for climate strategy and transport, said: “The proposals for six new bus lanes are part of a much bigger picture to cut congestion and improve the environment and health and wellbeing of Reading residents.
“We know that transport accounts for about 20 per cent of all carbon emissions in Reading. We also know poor air quality is directly related to diseases such as cancer, asthma, heart disease and diabetes and can impact our most vulnerable residents.
“Reading already has a popular and well used bus network and it will become even more attractive to people if buses can avoid congestion and run even more reliably, faster and more frequently.
“Everybody knows there is limited road space in Reading and some of the proposed changes will impact on traffic flows in the short term, but this has been taken into consideration in the design of the new lanes and measures will be taken to mitigate this where possible.
“Without taking action now and investing significantly in public transport, car usage will continue to grow and lead to greater levels of congestion and poor health in our town.”
The proposed new bus lanes form part of the council’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), which secured funding from the Department for Transport.
If councillors approve the scheme, work will start on the first new bus lane (A329 Oxford Road from Zinzan Street to George Street) next month with its completion in April.
Others will be staggered throughout the year apart from the Bath Road bus lane which will start being constructed in January 2025 with its completion not due until September 2025.
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