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Friday, 24 July 2015

Is it 'Park & Change' or 'Park & Ride'?

There has been considerable speculation about the proposed 'Park & Change' facility north of Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: District Council draft Local Plan: and Park & Change

Following on from the piece looking at housing on the Streetlife site
Futures Forum: Housing issues @ Streetlife

... here are the excerpts from one of those conversations - focussing on Park & Change/Park & Ride

Proposed new dwellings Woolbrook and Opposite Waitrose

Local Conversations in Sidmouth
Sid C.Gull 
 
The park and change.....
Mmmmmm heard this before when they said they would do this when building the new homes in Stowford...i.e. the two sites......  Did it get built?  Can't see it.  Can see the homes!
This is a lot of homes for the Woolbrook area, where it has flooded....I can see this being developed.
Richard E
It is important to bear in mind that park and change is specifically designed to reduce congestion in Exeter.   It will help those working in Exeter and those who wish to shop in the city.
It will not help Sidmouth town centre as there is no provision for a bus service to the town, which is called a park and ride.
Even if there is a bus service, if it is only one bus, then the service will be very infrequent, at every half hour or worse, and slow, so no-one will use it.   If there are two buses, then the annual cost will be in excess of £100,000.   Which is not sustainable.   Persimmon's offer of park-and-change is therefore of no benefit to Sidmouth businesses - it will in fact drive business to Exeter.
Maggie
So why do we want it in Sidmouth. I hope the planners insist on something for Sidmouth.
Be interested to hear what Ian Barlow thinks about this when he's been offering land for park and ride for years. Also recently has application for units refused! Will EDDC accept more houses for not Ian's application.
This will get interesting.
Richard E
Maggie
The supreme irony of this proposal is that the cost of creating the park-and-change at Woolbrook will almost certainly be greater than the sum achieved by EDDC in selling their Knowle car parks to Pegasus:  about £1.5 million.
So instead of retaining the car parks we already have, which are perfectly suited to park-and-ride, and would therefore generate substantial profits, we are considering creating a brand new park-and-change facility in the AONB, that will lose very large amounts of money from day one, will be very little used, and will do nothing for Sidmouth's economy.
Peter S
Richard
I know your opinion on this from way back, I agree that it could be used as a Exeter link, nothing wrong with that, but the last time this was put on the table, Stagecoach were involved and there were plans to have all the Sidmouth bus services call in to the p&c, so there would be plenty of services at no extra cost, these type of schemes work all over the country, with forethought and planning this could stop a lot of traffic entering the town, it would be good for out of town employees and visitors, so freeing up car parks and on road parking in residential areas.
Eilish S
If it is of little or no benefit to Sidmouth why is it even been considered and I agree it would only divert more business to Exeter
Peter S
Can you explain how this would divert business to Exeter, they have their own Park & Rides which are successful, and which type of business, if you are talking about tourism, Lyme Regis P&R has been a success and beneficial to the town.
Sid C.Gull
Richard E
They were going to have a park and change when the Regency Gate? and the lower Wooldbrook were developed......can't see it, but the park and change was to help congestion four years ago?  Does that mean we are owed one from those two developemtns so we are going to now have two......or did 'they' hope we would forget?

Pining Lass
Does Lyme have a 'park and ride' or a 'park and change'? It would be helpful not to use the two terms interchangeably.
Richard E
Pining Lass
You are right to say that the two terms, park-and-change, and park-and-ride, should not be used interchangeably.   This is exactly what has happened in our draft Local Plan:  the officers at EDDC clearly did not understand the difference.
Park-and-change is a DCC policy specifically designed to reduce commuting cars into Exeter, plus helping the city by making it easier for shoppers.   It is particularly attractive to the elderly who have bus passes.
It is a perfectly satisfactory approach but it will not benefit Sidmouth:  it is not intended to.
I am reminded that DCC told us that the parking machines on Peak Hill were installed to fund Exeter's park-and-ride.
Richard E
Park-and-ride only works satisfactorily if a number of factors apply.   The site has to be accessible, it has to be competitively priced, and waiting and journey times must be as short as possible.   Realistically, none of these apply to a Stowford location:  it is not on the main route in from Exeter, which is via Bulverton Road, it will rely upon Stagecoach which is quite expensive, and relatively infrequent ( I think every half hour ).  The journey time, assuming a detour to Waitrose, would be about ten minutes each way.
A park-and-ride at Knowle is at the prime site on the way into town, and a dedicated summer-only hopper would reduce the journey time to four minutes, and the frequency to ten minutes.   It would probably go right into town.  The parking charge would probably be about the same as a return ticket from Stowford.
It is clear that the Knowle option is vastly better, and therefore far more viable and effective.
I would 'double-up' Knowle and Manor Road, so that the dedicated hopper served both sites.   This would add a couple of minutes to the journey and waiting times, however.
By including the car parks in the Knowle development, we have lost the last serious opportunity for a park-and-ride in Sidmouth.   This repeats the error when EDDC sold Powys for redevelopment, when it was a gilt-edged chance to improve Sidmouth's facilities.
Come to think of it, the same happened with Sidmouth Urban District Council, who sold the then Westbank School in similar circumstances.
Maggie
Thanks for the reply Peter, be an interesting topic to follow through.
Nita G
Sidmouth just cant take anymore traffic!

Stuart H
There are so many inaccuracies being reported in these posts and so no wonder everyone is either turning grey or losing their hair with worry.......
The work that is going on in the Woolbrook near the new development is to address the culvert and catchment which wasn't carried out properly and contributed to some of the flooding issues experienced in recent times ... The County Council will not adopt this until it's been addressed.
Secondly Park and Change isn't going to divert hundreds of shoppers into Exeter.... Exeter has already 5 Park and Ride sites of its own .....the Park and Change we've been looking at for Sidmouth would encourage motorists to park and take the bus cycle or walk ....it would also encourage commuters who travel to Sidmouth to work in the town to do likewise and not park in the residential areas close to the town as they currently do. These type of facilities do not have all the lighting etc that you find with Park and Ride. The facilities should always be located adjacent to the primary road in this case the A3052 ...it would also act as a bus interchange...... With two town buses running frequently into and out of town I believe this would encourage more local residents to leave their cars at home and in doing so address some of the congestion issues we experience at certain times of the day.
Richard E
Stuart,
The distinction between Park-and-Ride, and Park-and-Change, is not at all clear, not least because DCC told me today that no Park-and-Change has yet been introduced.   It is a concept dreamt up by DCC, and has no recognised currency, or meaning.     So one thing is for certain it has no place in our Local Plan.   The distinction definitely has nothing to do with lighting.
However, an officer confirmed my understanding, which is that Park-and-Change is simply a car park built alongside an existing bus service, which makes it easier for a driver to 'jump ship' and get on a bus rather than continue to his destination.   A Park-and-Ride is a facility which combines a car park with a dedicated bus service introduced specifically for the purpose of serving that car park.
A Park-and-Change at Woolbrook would not be much use, as the buses only pass every half an hour, and the cost of using the bus will be comparable to the cost of parking a car in the town ( depending on the number of occupants and if they qualify for a pensioner bus pass ).
A Park-and-Ride at Woolbrook would be much better, because it would mean  additional bus services simply connecting the car park with the town centre and returning.    I think in your post, that this is what you are suggesting, and indeed was what I believe you proposed a while back when DCC acquired the site as part of the last Persimmon permission.
If there were two buses running all the time, and especially if combined with existing regular services, then the average wait time in both directions would be dramatically reduced.
The problem then is cost:  two buses throughout the year would cost well in excess of £100,000.   Obviously some of this can be recovered in charges, but the more you charge, the less customers you get.
A preferable option is to utilise the existing car parks at Knowle, which are of course already up and running , so no build cost.  And the same frequency of journey times could be achieved with one bus, thus saving £50,000 per annum.
Furthermore, people are much more likely to walk or cycle from Knowle than from Woolbrook.
This is still possible, despite EDDC exchanging contracts with Pegasus for the sale of the Knowle.  The Local Plan Inspector may intervene, as could the DMC, or EDDC could simply ask Pegasus to vary the terms of the contract.
It seems a shame that such an obvious solution is not being pursued.
Paul
Richard E  ,  good comment,   but when did you ever here of a local council applying common sense and working in the interests of the locals on a regular basis.
hibou
Richard E understands park and change and how it differs from park and ride - but it seems Stuart doesn't! Park and change merely wants to use land at Woolbrook (or wherever) to encourage people to leave cars there on their way to Exeter (tho' as Richard pointed out it will hardly be cost-effective for them). It has nothing to do with providing visitors/workers to Sidmouth with parking and a means to easily get in to town - that's a park and ride and isn't on the cards. But the two ideas are being blurred so that a scheme to help Exeter is being sold as a scheme to help Sidmouth. As Richard says we don't need park and change at Woolbrook - we need park and ride (or walk) at Knowle.
Peter S
I all ways new that park & ride was designed to keep traffic out of towns / city's, which is why Woolbrook is the best option, what you are suggesting is bringing traffic close to the town, which in turn will be increase pollution to whoever are the new residents at the Knowle and surrounding areas with a large car park so close, those who would use it in a completely different way as now with lots of extra car movements all through the day
Lynn E
Thank you Richard for your sensible comments.
I was speaking to an EDDC officer yesterday and he could not understand why the park & ride had been abandoned.
It would solve a lot of problems of car parking especially during the summer months.
They also need to look at this for the future with the sale of the Knowle.
The other thing that has occured to me is that it should be conditional as part of the sale that the developer widens the road . they would have to remove the footpath and replace with once inside the current boundaries. The current road is not wide enough to cope with a coach and a car.
As far as i can see if it is to be sold then Council need to make sure the infrastructure is part of T&C rather than just giving 106 monies.
They need someone with future vision to instigate this rather than just taking the money & running
I'm with: Rotary
hibou
But Peter, it's not a park and ride (for Sidmouth) - it's a park and change (for Exeter). There will never be a bus purely taking people from carpark to Sidmouth (the definition of park and ride) will there?
Stuart H
I'm afraid Richard and I will have to disagree on this point. park and change is a concept that we at DCC are looking to take forward and must be located near to a primary road and in this case the A3052 ....why would you wish to take park and change users all the way down the B3176 to Knowle and which bus service serves this site? The narrow section of Station Road already snarls up with coaches. One of the big pluses for the Woolbrook site was it sits nicely with the future Sidmouth to Feniton Cycleway and the bridge across the A3052 .....
hibou
Stuart, what use to Sidmouth is park and change? What Sidmouth needs is park and ride. Methinks your DCC hat is bigger than your EDDC hat. Park and Ride, as exists in the rest of the country, such as in York and Derby, involves people parking on the fringe of the town centre for £4 or so a day to include free bus ticket for all occupants in the car on a bus which serves the car park to town centre and back every 10 mins or so. The ideal site for this is Knowle - especially as it can be effective with one minibus which won't cause problems on Station Road and would be relatively low cost.
Stuart H
Hibou
There is very little difference between Park and Ride and Park and Change. I've been involved in am the P&R sites in Exeter and other parts of Devon. Park and Change allows what it says Drive to the site and then catch the bus into town.... Cycle into town or walk. This type of site will blend in well to the surrounding area.... We were/are looking for two of these sites to the east and the west of Sidmouth.....
Peter S
hibou If the existing buses that serve Sidmouth call in at the facility, then there will be a P&R Service. Not all P&R sites around the country have a designated bus service, some use normal services to provide this.
hibou
It's not a park and ride if there are only two buses an hour - it just doesn't work. There have to be frequent buses for it to work - no-one will park and ride if they have to wait up to half an hour for a bus. And another half an hour to get back.
Stuart H
Frequency of buses is something you build into the detail once you've got the go ahead for the Park and Change site.
Paul F
Could one of you explain where the empty busses will be coming from?
I confess I've only lived in Sidmouth for 6 months, but the Exeter bus is generally well used and fairly full, admittedly there is standing room. But with the move of the doctor's surgery to Woolbrook, the bus service will become even more heavily utilised especially on the local part of the run between town and Woolbrook. Where are the additional spaces on the busses coming from to enable tourists to travel into town and back, or will there be a ban on local elderly folk going to Exeter using their bus passes?
Richard E
Peter,
The most successful park-and-ride I know is the excellent service at Dartmouth.   It provides a bus approximately every ten minutes Mon-Sat and every twenty minutes on Sunday.   It operates from Easter to the end of October and is very well used.
The cost is £5 for all day and £3 after 2pm.
I would suggest that this is an excellent model to follow.  I have used Dartmouth many times.  The charge is competitive with alternatives, and, of course, it avoids the frustration of finding the car parks full when you get to the town proper.
I think the Knowle site could operate on a ten minute basis using one bus only.   From Easter to October would cost about £35,000 pa.   At £5 per day, that is 7,000 users over a period of 200 days, so 35 per day using a 193 capacity car park.   I would suggest that is very feasible indeed, and actual usage might be more like 100 per day.
Stuart H
The reason the Dartmouth Park and Ride is so successful is because of the lack of car parking in Dartmouth itself. It is also located way outside the town on the primary route into Dartmouth.
Pining Lass
I think Richard's point is that the further out of town the parking is the greater the number of buses needed to achieve a frequent service.
This causes two problems, a) it becomes more expensive as you need to buy or hire more vehicles and drivers b) the number of buses on the road creates the travel congestion you are trying to alleviate.
Peter S
There are so many variables to look at in this type of scheme, and a lot of diverse opinions, your comments on number of buses is valid at this time, because we do not know, it depends on some assumptions of number of vehicles and type, people, size of bus, number of journeys, hours of operation (seasonal), facilities requires, etc. etc. something for the number crunchers at County to put together so we can see. As I had an involvement in a past life with a new tram system + P&R where people said a lot of what people are saying on here, but after a year the car park had to double in size (they had planned for just in case), this was for a community of about 9000 people to travel into a city for whatever reason, not what we are discussing but the basics are the same, avoiding traffic congestion, releasing car parking spaces, cutting down on pollution, at a reasonable cost, so a lot more needs to be known on what the plan actually is.

Streetlife | Proposed new dwellings Woolbrook and Opposite Waitrose
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