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Jun 20

Palmer Park Pilot ‘Micro Park and Ride’ Scheme Update – new survey to be commissioned

I outlined in this blog post why I was supporting a policy which had been agreed with all party support to trial a Micro Park and Ride Scheme at Palmer Park.  The Greens, who have now come out in opposition to the scheme did not oppose it at committee, in fact the Green Councillor said absolutely nothing, even though it is in his ward.

As I have made clear the decision to see if such a scheme would work in Palmer Park was based on survey data which demonstrated considerable spare capacity in the car park.  Since the meeting on Monday when the scheme was announced we have been contacted by lots of sports and community groups, as well as local people who are very worried and sceptical about whether our data is correct.

We have listened to these concerns and have decided to commission a further survey of car parking capacity which will cover the whole range of times of day and days of week to check out if the data we based our decision on is correct.  We absolutely do not want to discourage local park users or sportsmen and women who use the pitches and stadium.

The results of this new survey and all the anecdotal evidence different groups have offered us will help form a better picture of what the situation is.  We are listening.

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10 comments

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  1. Sally

    It seems to me that this is all being done in the wrong order – the Council has decided they want this P&R, then after public criticism they’re backtracking and doing a consultation. But they already agreed to spend the money on this project. There doesn’t seem to have been any consultation with local people to find out whether they actually want this park and ride in the first place!

    1. jan

      Hi Sally, the idea, which had cross=party support is in the Council’s Transport Plan, this went through considerable consultation processes before publishing. This specific proposal comes out of that agreement, following survey work done of carparks around the edges of the borough to see which had capacity. PP appeared to have quite a lot and so a firm proposal to use this carpark has now been put out to consultation. I agree that from the overwhelmingly negative response from park and staduim user we need to think again. We also need to assess the relaibility of the capacity data that was being used as the basis of this proposal!

  2. Rob White

    Jan, maybe you left the room at cabinet when I spoke on this item and asked for ward councillors to be consulted and involved with the decision-making, which we have not been so far?

    1. jan

      Rob, when the proposal came to TMAP to agree to go out to consultation on the proposal, the Green Councillor member of the committee said nothing, he did not raise any issues or concerns with committee members.

  3. Adele Graham

    I use Palmer Park every Wednesday evening with Reading Roadrunners and occasionally on Thursday evenings. There are usually people also attending classes, using the gym and using the 5 a side pitches at the same time. The car park is normally pretty full…in fact it is often difficult to find a parking spot . I fail to see how there would be any spare capacity for a park and ride without severely impacting those parking to use the sports facilities.

    1. jan

      Thanks for commenting. We are going to do the new survey because so many people and groups have raised concerns about capacity. It is certainly not our intention to penalise stadium and park users

  4. Nigel Hoult

    Could the results of the original and new surveys be published, please? (Or if the original ones have been already, a link would be appreciated.) I am a member of one of the clubs that use the park (Reading Roadrunners), for us 2 hours is definitely NOT sufficient (our training lasts 90 minutes, sometimes longer, not including changing etc) and 3 hours would be marginal, as our members like to socialise after finishing their training session.

    1. jan

      Hi Nigel,
      I agree we need to publish the results and will push for this. Also agree that we to need to find a sufficiently long length of ‘free parking’ to accommodate park and stadium users. Though inconvenient there will be nothing to stop you getting free back-to-back tickets.

  5. Martin Lindupp

    Hi Jan, in my opinion the proposed micro park and ride scheme penalises those wishing to use the Palmer Park sport stadium and its facilities.

    My 11 year old son rides for Palmer Park Velo, a cycling club for children that uses the Palmer Park stadium’s velodrome on Saturday mornings for about 4 hours. He also takes part in the Monday night track (cycling) league, again for about 3-4 hours. As track bicycles are not road legal (no brakes) they have to be transported to the venue by car together with training equipment such as bike rollers.

    The car park is often very busy during sporting events and the proposal may mean that those wishing to use the stadium will have difficulty finding a parking space. Last Monday night it was near capacity.

    I appreciate that the council is trying to improve the transport infrastructure of the town, but this scheme effectively discourages sports participation in the area.

    1. jan

      Thanks Martin for commenting. We have heard all the community groups and you can expect an announcement soon!

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