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End of the road for park-and-ride services in Worcester says council
NO more park and ride sites will be built in Worcester after councillors decided they were too expensive.
Worcestershire County Council has said future transport policy will be based around the fact that “most people” travel into Worcester by car.
The city’s two existing park and ride sites in Perdiswell and Sixways will continue to operate for the time being, but the council has refused to give any long-term guarantee on their future.
New figures show neither site is attracting support from the public and both are making a loss.
The announcement is a striking turnaround. In recent years the council had suggested more park and rides should be created at strategic points around the city such as St John’s, the Ketch roundabout in St Peter’s, Claines, Lower Broadheath, Whittington and possibly Norton.
When the council originally outlined ambitious park and ride plans in 2009 it labelled the scheme a “real vision”, with previous transport chief Councillor Derek Prodger saying it was a “radical” attempt to get the city moving.
He even went as far as suggesting congestion charging would be a possibility unless more people use public transport – insisting “we have to get people out of their cars” and that a “comprehensive” park and ride package was part of that.
But Councillor Simon Geraghty, the county’s deputy leader and the cabinet member responsible for infrastructure, said: “Worcester is too small to make that type of system work.
“We’ve got no plans for any more park and rides, they are expensive to build but also to run.
“We’ve got a balanced transport plan which recognises most people come into the city via car - this is a rural county and we’ve got to recognise that.
“We must take a balanced view and cater for everyone.” Coun Geraghty said the existing transport plans for Worcester are based around a £14.2m fund from the Government.
The Worcester Transport Strategy includes:
:: New cycle lanes across the city
:: ‘Real time’ electronic information boards at bus stops
:: Revamp of Foregate Street railway station - including new lighting, signs, modernised ticket machines and the canopy.
:: Improvements to Whittington island
:: Enlarged Ketch roundabout in St Peter’s
The total fund for phase one is £19.6 million, including £5.4m from the county council, and includes better footpaths.
As an aside to the spending, the council wants to improve the A4440 Southern Link Road and is trying to pull in cash from private developers to part-dual it.
Existing bus lanes such as in Newtown Road and Bromyard Road will remain, but no more bus lanes are planned for the time being.
The Newtown Road bus lane has proved very controversial with local people angry at the destruction of mature oak trees which were felled to make way for it.
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