Essex Chronicle asks: Which should take priority, more parking facilities or better public transport?

February 21, 2019 1:10 PM
By Cllr Stephen Robinson in Essex Chronicle Series

cycling on a path (Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash)At peak times, the roads in most of our towns are almost completely full. So, more parking capacity would not really help - the roads to get there are full. Also, land in the centre of towns is in short supply and very expensive. So, more car parking there is unlikely.

However, we could provide more parking on the edges of the urban areas and provide Park & Ride buses into the central areas. The site at Sandon, to the east of Chelmsford, has proved very successful and other areas might benefit from similar services.

If buses are high quality, fairly priced, on time and reliable, people will be more willing to use them. They don't just reduce congestion caused by cars, but they also reduce air pollution, especially if they are new, low-emission buses.

Chelmsford also needs its long-promised new railway station at Boreham, and Brentwood looks forward to the (delayed) arrival of Crossrail.

Every urban area in Essex needs an area-wide approach to new cycle paths and secure cycle parking. At the moment, we only get new cycle paths piecemeal, as part of new housing.

If we leave the provision of essential infrastructure like this to the private sector, as the Conservatives tend to, we will not address the problem anything like quick enough. We can only really tackle the issue by a coordinated approach, with councils taking a strong lead.

(Article written for Essex Chronicle by Cllr Stephen Robinson, Chelmsford)