3 Aug 2010

Elmbridge Park and Ride cut

In this blog I wanted to set the record straight re the loss of the Elmbridge Park and Ride in Gloucester as I was not as enthusiastic for the scheme as an article suggested.

The Citizen recently ran a story: "Park and ride shelving bad news for city - green campaigners" - they reported that the proposed 1,000 spaces park-and-ride has been seen by some as "vitally important" to beating congestion in the city. It would have been serviced by park-and-ride buses into Gloucester every 10 minutes, and have more bus lanes towards both Gloucester and Cheltenham.

The County Council was informed about the decision via a letter from the DFT, which also refused several other transport bid around the country.

The story went on to say that the Green Party wants to see plans for a facility at Elmbridge Court revived following the news that the multi-million pound scheme has been axed. I'm quoted saying: "It is very disappointing, just at the very time people are looking for better quality public transport we are being told this scheme won't happen. Some people think park-and-rides are just good for those who shop, but they are great for getting to work and at a time when the costs of running a car is high, it would have been a great option for commuters. The Government is not prepared to invest properly in public transport. People want different alternatives to using the car, and the only way to do that is to offer a good range of public transport and cycle lanes."

My emphasis was on getting the whole public transport system right - that is where we need priority investment - but I did also say that generally park-and-ride can be good - but care is needed as not all schemes are the best use of money. There could have been some significant benefits from some of the scheme at Elmbridge but in fact more of the road traffic is coming from west of the city - Greens have argued we need to give attention there and look to improve our whole public transport system.

In 2008 Gloucestershire CC Local transport plan (LTP2) had a site to the west planned at Linton's farm across from Highnam Court, still not quite the right place but better than north of the city. There are now many changes with cuts to funding - we are also now into the third transport plan consultation in the County - see here details of the consultation - Greens are already looking at what opportunities this might bring - if any!!

See also here Martin Whitesides' letter last week to local press about the disastrous train fares increase and concern at the poss loss of the promised doubling of line near Kemble. I was going to write more but have run out of time - will return to transport again soon!!

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