Work is due to begin today (Monday 19th July) on a Council-run park and ride site at Hunts Ground Road, Stoke Gifford, close to Parkway Station.
The facility, which will cater for up to 200 cars, is being built on the site of an old brick works on the north-west side of Hunts Ground Round [map] between the Esporta gym and Parkway Station.
South Gloucestershire Council puts the estimated construction time at 32 weeks, with completion scheduled for March 2011.
The car park will include lighting and a CCTV system and the gates will be locked at night and opened early in the morning to enhance security.
Parking charges at the new facility will be £5 a day during the week and £3 a day at weekends. Payment machines will accept credit/debit cards only. By comparison, the official APCOA car park at Parkway Station (capacity: 1140 cars) currently charges £6.90 on weekdays and £4.80 on Saturday and Sunday.
Cllr Brian Allinson, Executive Member for Planning, Transportation and Strategic Environment said:
“This is an exciting step in the provision of improved public transport facilities in South Gloucestershire and will provide much needed car parking for those commuters wishing to access the many bus and rail services that call at Parkway.”
The capacity of the current park and ride scheme is much reduced from that envisaged in earlier plans. The Council lost an option on land on the opposite side of Hunts Ground Road, which had originally been earmarked for the scheme, by failing to meet the required Section 106 trigger dates.
Then, the discovery of a colony of the locally rare small blue butterfly on the current site meant that the number of parking spaces had to be reduced by one third in order to leave sufficient space for kidney vetch, the species’ larval food plant, to flourish.
In a separate but related development, the Council has also announced a public consultation on plans to restrict on-street parking with double yellow lines on Hunts Ground Road between the Esporta roundabout and the boundary of the railway property at Parkway station. The consultations runs until Tuesday 10th August.
In its statements of reasons, the Council says:
“In recent years the number of commuters parking cars on the surrounding streets has increased to a level that is becoming a nuisance to residents and it is also becoming a road safety issue. Pedestrian visibility at crossing points is being compromised by on-street parking.”
If approved, the restrictions will be introduced “after the opening of the park and ride scheme in February/March 2011”.
The Journal Comments
With a walk of at least 400m to reach the station buildings, it remains to be seen how popular this new park and ride facility will prove.
Commuters who currently park for free in Hunts Ground Road might be tempted to seek out residential streets slightly further afield rather than pay the £5 charge.
In the longer term, South Gloucestershire’s scheme could face competition from the park and ride facility planned by Bristol City Council at a new junction off the M32, near the junction of Coldharbour Lane and Frenchay Park Road [see North Fringe Rapid Transit].
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