Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Palmer Park micro park-and-ride #rdg

As you may have read in the papers Labour are planning on introducing a micro park-and-ride at Palmer Park using existing car parking. Today I finally got my briefing note which is copied and pasted at the bottom of this post.

As I have said before, this is definitely not a done deal. At Cabinet I asked that Ward councillors be involved in the decision-making – to start off with it was just the lead councillor and officers. Please let me, Jamie or Mel know your thoughts on this issue.

Over the last week I have talked to a good number of people about the scheme and have yet to find a supporter who isn't an officer or a Labour councillor.

My default position is against park-and-ride. They normally get sold along the lines of reducing congestion, pollution etc. However, the Council is obsessed with getting more and more people into the town centre and attracting them away from their local town centre e.g. Wokingham or district shopping centre e.g. Woodley. This means more people getting into their car and coming to Reading. The Council isn't going to close any town centre car parks, this is additional car parking, for additional travel by additional cars. This won't tackle congestion in the medium term but will worsen it with more cars driving to Reading – same congestion in the town centre, additional congestion on the outer roads.

Getting onto the proposed scheme. As others have pointed out the Palmer Park car park can already be used as an informal park-and-ride for free? And I can see the time limit creating problems for both residents and Park users.

The officer who I spoke to on the phone informed me that this scheme would make a profit. And said he would send me the figures. Happy to post the figures when I have them.

As things stand at the moment I will be objecting to this scheme.

However, as Labour have a majority, unfortunately they may simply press ahead with it. If they do the length of the free parking period, charges and start time/day and end time/day etc will be key to how much of a pain this is for residents and park users.

Please get in contact with your views.

Below is the briefing:

Micro Park and Ride

Briefing note for Park and Peppard Ward Councillors

The principle of Micro park and ride is to support travel options and make most efficient use of existing car parking facilities, whilst also promoting use of public transport for the onward journey to central Reading, thereby contributing to managing the overall use of the highway network. 

Funding is available from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) grant that has been awarded to RBC to promote more sustainable travel options, and one of the element includes micro park and ride (alongside the wider aim of improved larger strategic park and ride). The initial two locations for micro park and ride are based on the location of available Council owned parking facilities that are also adjacent to existing public transport provision.

In terms of Palmer Park the Traffic Regulation Order sets out the charging period as Monday to Saturday, 7am to 10pm, with the first two hour period being free and 2-16 hours charged at £4 (including the return bus trip).  We have undertaken car park occupancy survey that indicated that approximately 90% of users park for less than 2 hours. During the working day the observed maximum number of cars parked was 47, hence a residual capacity of 150 spaces available (from a total of 200 spaces).

For Clayfield Copse the same Traffic Regulation Order sets out the charging period as Monday to Saturday, 7am to 10pm, with the first two hour period being free and 2-16 hours charged at £4 (including the return bus trip).  It is proposed to upgrade the surface of the car park and install lighting and CCTV upgrades. There is an estimated capacity of 50 spaces.

As set out in the Cabinet report of 11 June 2012 the policy context is “The current parking strategy is a core element of the Local Transport Plan.  The strategy essentially aims to manage the level of long stay/commuter parking in the Town Centre.  A key feature of the strategy is pricing of Town Centre parking to reflect the availability of alternatives, especially long stay parking provided by park and ride.”  “Micro park & ride is a component of our Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) programme that includes improvements to park and ride provision and ‘micro park and ride’ refers to the use of smaller scale existing car parks within the Council’s ownership that are available for mini park and ride sites that also take advantage of the nearby bus services”.

As stated at Cabinet there is a commitment to reviewing the free period and the hours of operation, and this will be considered in the July Cabinet report.

The TRO has now been published for the statutory consultation to be undertaken with the aim of taking a further report to July Cabinet.  The end date for the statutory consultation is no later than the 5 July 2012 and written comments and objections should be made in writing to the Head of Legal and Democratic Services.

If people have comments to make, the Transport Planning team can be contacted on 0118 937 4832 and a record will be kept of the comments made and will be taken into account when the statutory consultation is reported back to the forthcoming Cabinet meeting.


wendy house said...

My gut reaction is "No"
Please use the "Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF)" for actually supporting 'local' centres rather than a singe town centre.
I haven't given alternative options muich thoughts but would look favourably on any Transition Network style activity

Matt Westwood said...

A definite "No".

And while we're about it, we can increase car parking charges in Reading itself, to further encourage people to shop in their local precinct.

sez.seymour said...

I am worried about its affect on the local centre of Wokingham Road - I am sure that Barts Grill is not the only business that suggests its patrons use the Palmer Park car park and this commuter/shopper Park and Ride is schedules to go on til 11pm at night!