Reading Borough Council is exploring the possibility of a workplace parking levy closely based on Nottingham’s scheme. A borough-wide car parking and air quality strategy will consider “demand management measures” such as a workplace parking levy, road user charging, clean air zone and low emission zone. The council aims to carry out a feasibility study to consider a workplace parking levy “largely following the Nottingham model, within the administrative area of Reading Borough boundaries”.
The council notes: “Nottingham’s scheme was implemented in 2012 and has been running smoothly since then.”
Other measures in the council’s new Local Transport Plan (LTP) include an extra 1,000 park & ride spaces, a mass rapid transit system, bus priority, public transport information and walking and cycling improvements.
A comprehensive borough wide survey of commuter movements and parking will take place in the autumn to inform the strategy.
The position of key employment sites partly outside Reading - like the University and Green Park, or Thames Valley Business Park, located entirely outside of the borough - means officers would also start early discussions with Wokingham and West Berkshire Councils.
Reading Borough Council officers are seeking discussions with Oxfordshire and South Oxfordshire about their potential housing sites located the north of Reading, a third river crossing and possible measures to manage potential displaced local traffic.
A report to Reading Borough Council’s policy committee on 16 July will outline the proposals for a new Local Transport Plan for Reading.
The borough council’s lead member for strategic environment, planning and transport, Tony Page, said: “The new Local Transport Plan for Reading will have three key aims – improving air quality, reducing congestion and encouraging more people to switch to sustainable transport.
“The council has had some considerable success in encouraging the use of alternative forms of transport – particularly public transport, walking and cycling. For example, bus use in Reading has increased by 30% in just seven years. The council owned bus-company also continues to be at the forefront of technology using low emission buses.”
A key element of the new LTP will be to develop a new car parking and air quality management strategy, said Page. “This will reflect up to date information on commuter travel and parking and the obvious impact on Reading, both in terms of congestion and the health of local residents.
“The council will look closely at demand management measures already in operation in other parts of the country and the benefits or otherwise of introducing such schemes in Reading. With government funding unlikely, a key consideration will include using income generated by any demand management scheme to fund other transport improvements, whether that be a low emission zone for Reading, new park & ride facilities, further developing the case for a third Thames Bridge, more investment in public transport and much-needed investment in better road surfaces in Reading.”
Reading is home to a large number of international and blue chip companies, with rising demand for new homes, and the town is a key shopping and leisure destination in the region.
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