Thursday, 8 February 2018

Busted – Will East Reading MRT reduce congestion?

Kennet mouth artists impression one bus only

The Labour-run Council, and the Tony Page-run Labour Councillors, have made lots of claims for the huge, new road planned along our riverside in East Reading, but one of the most insulting is that it will be good for the people of East Reading. A road (that people in East Reading wont be able to access!!) will be good for us - because it will bust congestion coming into town, and - let's be honest - we all want that.

Will it?

'Congestion' is not the amount of traffic on a road, it's the point at which traffic becomes so saturated it leads to slower speeds, longer trip times, and more and more queuing - what the Council's documents term 'driver delay.' None of us want to be delayed, and none of us want queuing traffic outside our homes. What will be the effect then? The Council's planning application for the 'MRT' states an overall assessment of the effect on driver delay as negligible to, at best, not significant. (Environmental Statement Vol. 1 if you want to look it up.)

Wow!

- £35 million pounds.

- An unspoiled riverside we can never get back.

- And a 'negligible to insignificant' affect on congestion in East Reading.

You can view the plans and submit comments to the Council here: MRT Planning Application

or contact the Green Party and get involved, make a difference today

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Will Reading and Wokingham Thamesside road reduce congestion?

A number of people, including me, have wondered how robust the traffic modelling for the East Reading 'MRT' (Mass Rapid Transit / bus lane by the Thames) can be, as it fails to include 'induced demand'. That is, if the MRT is built, and the London Road really was a bit freer in the peak times - wouldn't it just fill up again as people who previously weren't driving think they might now, as it's easier with less congestion?

This is what the Council's own business case says on 'Car Reduction Implications':

5.3.1 ...the reduction in car trips on the network would not be so large as to release substantial road capacity in the corridor.

5.3.3 ...the scale of car trip reductions on the network are quite small.

and

5.3.4 ...the scale of car trip reduction is unlikely to result in trip inducement in the corridor.

In plain English - any shift in usage from car to bus will be so small as to not be a factor in inducing increased demand. The shift, according to the Council, is so small, that the effect on 'driver delay' is classed as negligible - and 'negligible' is helpfully defined as 'average vehicle delay changes are less than 20 seconds as a result of the proposed development during the peak hour periods.'

Your Council will be millions of pounds poorer, your riverside will have been ruined, but the journey into Reading will be (less than) 20 seconds faster in the mornings…

PS: The 'business case' is here: http://www.reading.gov.uk/ media/7933/East-Reading-MRT--- Demand-Modelling-Report/pdf/ East_Reading_MRT_-_Demand_ Modelling_Report.pdf

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Wokingham Road area permit parking consultation deadline this Friday

Residents' parking sign s

The deadline for the Wokingham Road area permit parking consultation is Friday this week (February 2, 2018). Please respond to the consultation or you could submit further comments to responses already submitted online using the link at the bottom of this information. A few things to keep in mind:

  • The Red Route will be implemented soon along the Wokingham Road pushing more parked cars on to the side roads. Also pay-and-display is to be consulted on for the Wokingham Road shopping area and Palmer Park. Again this will push more cars on the side roads.
  • Hamilton Road and some other roads have severe parking problems – go for a walk down there if you haven’t been recently. Hamilton Road residents were surveyed recently and 86% of them supported permit parking.
  • If residents say yes to permit parking then the council will draw up a detailed scheme. The detailed scheme will then be consulted on.
  • If residents say no to permit parking in some roads and yes in others then the council has said it will draw up plans and consult on a smaller scheme – most likely and as a minimum in the Hamilton Road area where there are severe parking problems.
  • It has taken approximately 3 years of working with residents and lobbying the Council to get to the point of consultation. If roads vote no it is unfortunately likely that they will not be consulted by the council again on this issue for some time – even if there are knock-on parking problems.
  • Some extraordinarily high permit parking charges have been mentioned to us by residents. These are not for areas comparable to the east of Reading but for the very centre of places like London and Manchester.
  • Unfortunately the council did not include an option of “I only support permit parking if nearby roads decide to have it”. If this is your position then please put this as a comment in the section at the end of the consultation.

You can respond to the Wokingham Road area permit parking consultation by following the link below. You can also submit additional comments by following the link: http://www.reading.gov.uk/eastreadingstudy

Thursday, 18 January 2018

The dice was loaded from the start (East Reading Mass Rapid Transit



Lots of residents have contacted me recently voicing their outrage at the devastating new road being proposed along the Thames riverside by the Labour-run Council. A lot of people are asking – why aren’t they doing something else?

There was an ‘options appraisal’ done by the firm of consultants hired by the Council. However, they were assessing options against a set of criteria that is already loading the dice. Will the option:

1. Increase capacity and connectivity for movement of people within east Reading and the town centre.

2. Reduce the journey times and congestion along the corridor.

3. Facilitate economic development in the Thames Valley.

4. Allow access for mobility impaired and pushchairs.

5. Develop a system which visibly has priority over the private car.

6. Facilitate a future MRT network for the Thames Valley.

So whilst residents want to know the cost to the taxpayer (massive) and the cost to the environment (enormous), and weigh this against the benefits to congestion (minimal at best) and air pollution (negligible), the Council wants to know if it will 'facilitate economic development' and 'facilitate a future MRT network'.

Other options need to be properly considered. A congestion charge might well be cheap in comparison (say, £5 million to get started,) would return money in the form of those paying the charge, and remove cars from the network, resulting in a reduction in congestion and air pollution. (Would it facilitate economic development? Yes, if the charge was re-invested properly.)

You can view the plans and submit comments to the Council here: East Reading Mass Rapid Transit planning application must click

Or contact us and get involved: https://reading.greenparty.org.uk/get-involved/.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Wokingham Road area permit parking consultation meeting

The Wokingham Road area permit parking consultation is now available online – link at the bottom of this post. If you live in the proposed permit parking area you will get a paper version of the consultation through your letterbox. We are holding a public meeting for people to come along, find out more and ask questions.

Public meeting details below:

When: Thursday, January 25 starting at 8 PM

Where: Alfred Sutton primary school, 148 Wokingham Rd, Reading RG6 1JR. In the community room.

Everyone who lives in the area is welcome. The deadline for the consultation is February 2 2018.

We believe though that the best way to start to tackle road safety and parking problems in the area is to introduce permit parking. If you want to get street emails on issues like this then email me: rob@readinggreenparty.org.uk

Park Ward surrounded parking map

Thanks to Google for the map.

The red lines on the map above show roads which have permit parking in east Reading. You can see that the Wokingham Road area is surrounded. The overspill from these permit parking zones, especially the newly introduced Hospital and University zone is what has caused a worsening of parking problems. These issues start at Hamilton Road, which has recently done a survey showing 85% of people are in favour of permit parking, and head east.

Your Green Party councillors (Josh Williams, Brenda McGonigle and myself) have long been working on this issue. When we surveyed residents about permit parking across the area recently, over 60% said they were in favour of permit parking. This support was either outright or if nearby roads decided to have it.

We believe urgent action is needed on the roads most acutely impacted such as Hamilton Road. There have already been a number of consultations in this area and we believe we could go straight to the design phase. We believe an areawide solution – most likely a combination of permit parking and double yellow lines – is best so as not to simply knock at the problem on to the next road. But if an areawide solution can’t be achieved then we must help those roads most in need with smaller schemes.

We have already held a number of meetings in roads and we have a few more in the pipeline. If you have been to one of the smaller road meetings then you don’t need to come to this meeting.

We have produced a frequently asked questions on how permit parking works.

A link to the consultation and supporting documentation can be found below. Please either respond online or by post to the one which will come through the letterbox: https://consult.reading.gov.uk/dens/3bb628e4/

We care about the local area keep working with you to improve it.

Monday, 18 December 2017

A new café in Palmer Park…

Chalkboard cafe sign s

Following the sad demise of the Chalkboard Café in Palmer Park we have been continuing to lobby the council to get a café reopened as soon as possible – Green councillor Josh Williams is taking the lead on this.

The council says that they will be starting the letting process this financial year (and inviting people to apply). They hope to have a new operator back up and running for spring 2018.

Luke Lloyd at the council is overseeing this process. He says that the letting opportunity will be advertised via the Council and Reading Voluntary Action channels. But if anyone wants to register interest in advance they can do by emailing him: luke.lloyd@reading.gov.uk

We care about the local area and will keep working hard to get the café back open.

Why not join the Green Party and help us make a difference? http://greenparty.org.uk/join

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Blindingly obvious: new street lights too bright

LED streetlight s

Despite repeated warnings, Labour Council continues with over-bright LED street lights.

New LED street lights are being rolled-out across Reading as the old amber lights need replacing. The Council has ignored warnings that the ones being used are too bright for residential streets, for motorists, and for the environment; causing damage to insects and creatures that come out at night.

Brenda McGonigle said, “We’ll continue to campaign for appropriate lights in our streets, but you can ask the Council to reduce the power to the lights, or fit a shield that will stop the direct glare towards your house. Get in touch!”

.