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Letter: Park & Ride Is Not Fulfilling Intended Purpose

Published on: 21 Nov, 2015
Updated on: 21 Nov, 2015
Park & Ride LetterFrom Bernard Parke
Those of us who live in the area believed that the Onslow Park & Ride project was flawed mainly because or its inaccessibly from both the A3 and the A31.
Sadly it would seem that we have been proved right.
When doubts were expressed on this matter it was said that if we did not go ahead we would lose the grant of £4m. Another £4m was earmarked to widen the road which leads to the hospital and research park.
I visited the park site to-day (Nov 19) to find the parking well supported but the staff said this is now being widely used be commuters working in the university and hospital area.
I am told that the grant was solely to be used only for  the park and ride service and not for any other purpose but the bus service to the town is greatly underused.
Two buses run every fifteen minutes with few if any passengers at all. Naturally this is a burden on the council tax payer and has led to senior citizens now having to pay to gain access to the town, whilst others in regular paid employment park free of charge.
This is a flagrant breach of the conditions to which the grant was advanced.
Cllr Furniss (Con, Christchurch) lead councillor for infrastructure has been invited to respond but is currently unavailable.

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Responses to Letter: Park & Ride Is Not Fulfilling Intended Purpose

  1. John Lomas Reply

    November 21, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    The answer is surely to switch over to “pay to park and ride for free”.

    It can facilitate or encourage longer stays in town for shoppers who need to make return trips to their car with additional shopping loads.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    November 22, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Current access to the Park & Ride from Egerton Road is not ideal but GBC and SCC had no option but to progress this layout so as not to lose the £4m funding while improving access to the hospital and the research park by replacing the roundabout with traffic lights.

    Ideally an access from and an exit to the A3 should be provided. The problem of the A31 merge with the A3 and the off-slip to this Park & Ride happen to be in close proximity and create a merge/diverge conflict. Highways England is currently looking to widen the A3 and improve its junctions on the Guildford stretch and should consider a layout that enables this conflict to be removed.

    I have suggested a layout that allows widening of the A3 without demolishing the arch bridge and the slip road bridge to Farnham on the A3. This is covered in my website (please click on my highlighted name in red) and go to the link for the A3 improvement sketches.

  3. Dave Middleton Reply

    November 22, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I agree that a switch to paying to park and getting free bus travel into town would perhaps deter the people who work locally from using the Onslow Park & Ride as a free car park but, of course, these people do need somewhere to park. Perhaps a reasonably priced season ticket might be an answer.

    As for accessibility from the A3 and A31, I can’t see that there’s a problem. All you have to do, travelling from the south-west, is negotiate an off slip, one roundabout and one set of traffic lights and you’re there. Coming from the north, it’s two roundabouts and a set of traffic lights – hardly an arduous piece of navigation.

    Better signage might help, but since most people don’t bother to see the existing signs, what’s to say they’ll take note of any new ones?

  4. Bernard Parke Reply

    November 22, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Does this justify the case for a scheme which is a burden on council tax payers?

    Even to-day the government has indicated that local authorities can levy a further Council Tax increase next year.

  5. John Robson Reply

    November 23, 2015 at 10:07 am

    On the contrary, I would suggest it is fulfilling the purpose it was designed for – as a free overflow car park for the university and hospital, both of which charge their employees and the general public respectively, to use their car parks.

    As stated many times, unless you provide easy access and incentivise this type of scheme, why would people leave their cars for the last two miles of the journey and swap bus fares for parking charges? They won’t, they haven’t – it’s not rocket science is it?

    If the funding constraints dictated that there was no direct access from the A3, GBC/ SCC should have invoked the sporadically used “common sense” clause and challenged it.

    But here’s the rub, when it comes to any community projects that stray into the cross-hairs, GBC proclaim, “The cupboard is bare,” but when it comes to dealing with profitable institutions such as the university, it appears to be, “How may we be of assistance?”

  6. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    November 23, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    I agree with John Lomas and Dave Middleton that “pay to park and ride for free” should be appropriate and in keeping with the objective of creating this Park & Ride. However, access to it from the A3 in the morning peak hours is difficult due to congestion at the Tesco roundabout on both the “off” and “on” A3 slip roads.

    The problem of accessibility from the A3 and the A31 during peak hours is congestion. I suspect many motorists drive into town centre instead and park in one of the car parks especially if their stay is for a short duration only.

    The purpose of creating Park & Ride is to reduce traffic in the town centre but motorists do not want to spend more time sitting in a traffic jam to get to and from a Park & Ride; it defeats the purpose.

    The maintenance and improvement of local roads are funded through local council taxes, fees, and central government grants, whereas strategic routes like the A3 are funded entirely by the central government. So improvements to the A3 and its slip roads in Guildford would not be a burden for the local tax payers.

  7. Neville Bryan Reply

    November 23, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    So putting this another way we, the tax payers, footed a £8m pound bill to expand university/ hospital car parking, while the university were already at the the 2,100 odd car parking limit they were restricted to under the 2003 agreements on Manor Park.

    Instead, all we get is a “virtuous” university saying how good they were to part fund the junction into the Surrey Sports Park, while in really we have paid them for the privilege of a facility they use. This makes no sense to me whatsoever.

    Perhaps the university/ hospital should have paid for the car parks in the first place, plus put some flats above them to house their students / staff and let the borough use the £8m for some roads and facilities we really need, like better town centre access or a new river bridge.

    Once again all this shows how badly our planning system is broken.

  8. Bernard Parke Reply

    November 24, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Free parking for some but those visiting the sick at the hospital have to pay a minimum of £3 per visit.

  9. Mary Bedforth Reply

    November 24, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    The discussion might be academic. On BBC South tonight, it was reported that councils all over the region are closing their park and rides due to the cuts and lack of funds. Mobile libraries in some areas are going to disappear.

    We aint seen nothing yet. Wait for tomorrow’s announcements.

    • Dave Middleton Reply

      November 25, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Our own mobile library service in Surrey was done away with about three years ago by the county council – a sad loss to the people of Surrey.

  10. Martin Elliott Reply

    November 25, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Not just those visiting the sick. The sick themselves have to pay the parking fees, even those on daily treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, etc.

  11. Eddie Russell Reply

    December 7, 2015 at 11:29 am

    I fear the use of the car park by commuters to the hospital is about to increase significantly.

    The 802 Arriva service which operates from the Westway car park (the former Puttocks site) to the hospital is to cease on January 8.

    I’m guessing the users of this service will switch to the Onslow Park & Ride, given what has been written above.

    So there are another large number of cars who will cause even more congestion at the Southway roundabout and the hospital/university junction in the morning rush hour.

  12. Christina Rule Reply

    December 8, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    I agree with Eddie Russell’s comments regarding the traffic congestion in this area.

    I live at Park Barn and work in Guildford. The journey into work and home again is becoming more and more of a nightmare.

    In the morning it is difficult to get off the estate with the volume of traffic approaching from Southway and Park Barn Drive.

    The traffic from the research park seems to have priority in the evening, and with two lanes of traffic pouring out it inevitably backs up trying to access the A3 in both directions.

    Cars block the Tesco roundabout causing tailbacks into Guildford.

    The cathedral underpass has become four lanes wide!

    I should have thought that people were sensibly avoiding using the park and ride due to the difficulty getting in and out of the area.

  13. Bernard Parke Reply

    December 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    If you think it is bad now, just wait to see what happens if the cathedral development goes ahead and with the 3,000 or so houses in the Hog’s Back area.

  14. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    December 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I believe there is a solution to reduce the congestion a little.

    Tesco roundabout could have part-time signals and the on-slip to the northbound A3 from this roundabout could be closed off and traffic diverted to Cathedral roundabout and back through the underpass.

    The road layout could be one lane towards the Cathedral roundabout and two lanes towards Tesco roundabout.

    The nearside lane towards Tesco would become a dedicated on-slip of the A3 and the offside lane would proceed to the roundabout.

    I do not know whether Surrey County Council have thought about it but they could try this on an experimental basis with temporary lights and a few signs and cones to see if it relieves the congestion a little and then if it does, make it permanent.

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