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Jun 18

Palmer Park ‘Mico Park & Ride’

It is  important to understand the context of this proposed scheme, if you are local to Reading, you will know that we suffer from traffic congestion particularly during the morning and evening ‘rush hour’.  This, together with our commitment to encouraging more green transport options and our desire to increase the quality of air in Reading means that we are constantly looking for new and different ways to try and get some cars off our roads and passengers onto our buses, walking or cycling.

Sadly, we have no spare land in the Borough boundary to be able to develop large scale Park and Ride Schemes at all compass points, though we are working with our neighbouring Authorities to try and develop some schemes on their land.  The idea of Micro Park and Ride schemes is that they utilise already built and underused car parking capacity at the edges of the town in combination with existing bus routes.  The council approved plans to develop these schemes under the Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme several years ago.

In the case of Palmer Park, we are proposing to charge £4 to use the car park by the stadium and a return bus ticket on the 17 bus route.  This charge has been set to be attractive in terms of long stay car parking charges in the town centre, but sufficient to cover the cost of running the scheme.  It is not anticipated that this scheme will generate an income for the Council.  Indeed, you could argue that we will lose revenue from people not paying the high charges for long stay parking in the town centre.  Our aim is to be cost neutral.

Recent car park surveys have demonstrated that there is capacity in Palmer Park car park.  The proposal is to run this from Mon to Sat from 7am to 11pm.  The car park will remain free for local park and stadium users up to ‘the maximum specified uncharged period’.  This is the part of scheme which we are still currently consulting about.  We initially thought that 2 hours would be sufficient, but have been lobbied hard by park users and community groups. so we  are now working with these different interest groups to work out how long the period of free parking should be.

This will be one of the first Micro Park and Ride schemes in Reading, so it is very hard to predict what the uptake will be. Council officers will monitor its use and operation very carefully and will report back to councillors through Transport Committee how it is running.

I know that has been a fair amount of hot air about this proposed scheme on Twitter and Facebook and in the local press, but I hope we can work together to find  the appropriate length of free parking, whilst encouraging people not to take their cars into Reading town centre, as we will all benefit from less congested roads.

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11 comments

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  1. BeckyM

    I don’t expect you will get a huge uptake all the while that is cheaper to park in Hamilton Rd (not included in the residents parking consultation area) and get the same no 17 bus

    1. jan

      I agree we need to look at the potential knock-on effects, but survey showed that on average 75% of car park was empty during the day. Do many people currently park in Hamilton Road and catch the bus into town?

      1. BeckyM

        there’s someone that parks outside my house every day and does just that

  2. Steve Lewis

    The main flaw, apart from the fact that parking at a place of recreation should remain free in my opinion, is that everyone will be paying towards a bus fare whether they wish to actually use a bus or not!

    1. jan

      Hi, I agree that is why there will be no charge for leisure users of the park. The machines will isue a free ticket for up to a specified number of hours .. we are currently consulting about how long that should be. The survey showed that 90% of park users par for less than 2 hours, so would 3 hours free parking be sufficient?

  3. Sarah Seymour

    Thanks for referring to local residents concerns about this expressed online as “hot air”. Really makes you look like the party of the people

    1. jan

      Apologies, not local peoples real and legitimate concerns I was referring to, but the half-truths and misinformation being put about by some. Let’s have a real debate about the issues with the correct information. The resaon I blogged about this was to stimulate debate. Hope you will engage and register your concerns.

  4. David Dickins

    What ever happened to the process of consultation? Its good to see that a labour majority hasn’t gone to your heads. Refering to the local residents opinion as hot air is very foolish. Perhaps you might actually want to listen to what we ‘the people’ have to say? Probably not, but this article will no doubt be used to much effect by your political opponents to show the caring side of labour.

    1. jan

      Apologies for my lose language. I was referring to the half-truths and misinformation which is being put about. We want to hear peoples views and engage in reasoned debate, but accusations of just wanting to make money etc is also not helpful.

  5. Pat Dyer

    You’ve only got to look at the effect of charging hospital workers to park onsite to see the effect on local streets that offer free parking. From the hospital to Palmer Park on the Wokingham Road, all the local streets are full of parked cars, many of which are parked on the pavement. Not to mention the many rows of terraced houses in Newtown and behind the Wokingham Road shops. I appreciate that you’re looking for solutions to congested roads but this won’t work. I’m afraid there is no solution that can be found using areas in Park and Redlands wards. And I certainly think there should be much greater assessment of the knock on effects, bearing in mind that possible Residents Parking areas in Redlands will also push those looking for parking into Park ward. Cars are coming towards Park residents streets from all directions.

    1. jan

      Thanks for your comments and sorry to have taken a while to acknowledge them, but I have been away on vacation. I agree that there are no easy solutions, but we are trying to find ways to ease the problems for local residents.

      Jan

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