Over the past five years the concept of Park & Ride on the outskirts of the city has occupied every position on the spectrum from "flavour of the month" to outright rejection. As an idea to contribute to the solution to the city's congestion problems could its time have come again?
At a meeting of the City Forum to discuss transport (see earlier story on Barnstorming Debate at City Forum Meeting - 8th March 2003) Council Chief Executive David Panter said that, while the final decision was in the hands of politicians, he "could not personally see a solution that did not include Park & Ride" but stopped short of naming particular sites. He went on to suggest that this could possibly also offer some solutions around enhanced rail links. He highlighted the inefficiency of making commuters come all the way into the city centre to get trains to take them out of the city.
Roger French from Brighton & Hove Bus & Coach Company was rather more specific naming Braypool or Waterhall as possible sites for a 3000 space park and ride but local conservative politician Geoffrey Theobald (Patcham ward) said that this was too far outside the city and a location much closer to the centre would be more appropriate. Concern was also expressed by Selma Montford (Brighton Society) that any increase in parking on the outskirts of the city would have to be matched by a reduction in the city centre itself.
However, a factor that has perhaps not been taken into consideration is that the city centre has already lost close to 1000 parking spaces over the last few years without any compensating increase on the outskirts of town. This loss is likely to continue on a small scale with proposals for pedestrianisation of city centre streets. Also, as Deputy Chief Executive Alan McCarthy pointed out at the meeting, the city must make allowances for the growth in visitor numbers that is expected as a result of redevelopment of the Brighton Centre and our continuing popularity as a resort.
See Knowledgebase for further stories on Park & Ride and click on download below for a diagram showing a possible Braypool park & ride site (pdf file 76KB)
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