Strategic Park And Ride Opportunities For The Southampton Area
Project Ref: 12005
1.1. Background to the Study
1.1.1. Peter Brett Associates were commissioned in August 2001 by Hampshire County Council and Southampton City Council to undertake a study of strategic park and ride opportunities for the Southampton area, on behalf of the Southampton Area Transport Strategy (SATS) group of local authorities.
1.2. Aims of the Study
1.2.1. The focus of this study was to produce a strategy for the development of park and ride within the SATS area. Opportunities for park and ride are identified together with the constraints that act as a barrier to successful implementation. The study concludes with options for a way forward and an action plan.
1.2.2. Throughout the study the emphasis has been on park and ride as a strategic transportation measure which can have benefits for the wider south Hampshire area, meeting the travel needs of local communities, increasing travel choice and reducing the impact of the private car on local and sub regional networks.
1.3. Outcomes of the Study
1.3.1. The study identified the key opportunities and constraints through an initial review of the SATS area. It considered relevant policy documents at national, regional and local levels and it confirmed the support for both sustainable transport objectives and specifically park and ride development for the Southampton area.
1.3.2. The study team undertook a comprehensive review of previous park and ride studies, to provide a summary of previous site selection work and preferred options over the last 10 years. Each of the studies (Wootton Jeffreys (1993), Halcrow (1995), MVA (1998)) identified sites on three main corridors and there was some consensus on potential sites in the Nursling, Stoneham and Windhover areas. The key differences were in specific site location, timing of introduction and whether a single, two or three site strategy would be the most effective.
1.3.3. The focus of the study is primarily on bus based park and ride but other modes such as rail and ferry services were also considered. Rail options would need to overcome rail capacity issues on approaches to Southampton, the distance of the Central station from the city centre and funding constraints, therefore they probably represent longer term opportunities. Ferry opportunities from Hythe are also considered to be smaller scale but potentially viable, although impact on local parking and traffic management would need to be addressed.
1.3.4. A detailed site assessment process was then undertaken to identify those sites most suitable for park and ride operations, including new sites not considered by previous studies. 54 sites were identified initially from previous studies, site visits and local knowledge, although this was reduced to 24 sites when sites were rejected for being unavailable due to development, too small, inaccessible or too close to the city centre.
1.3.5. The assessment framework for the remaining 24 sites included the following primary criteria:
· Planning policy compliance
· Intrusion into residential areas
· Site capacity
· Corridor constraints
· Intercept potential
1.3.6. Each of the sites on the Eastern, Northern and Western Corridors were comprehensively assessed and the following sites were identified has having the greatest potential:
· Eastern - Windhover (Site 24) - West of Hamble Lane, the Sunday market site.
· Northern - Wide Lane (38) - Playing fields north of M27, adjacent to Parkway Station
· Western - Redbridge Lane (49) - South east of junction 1 of the M271
It is perhaps not surprising that these identified sites reflect previous studies but there are critical factors in the latest site selection that suggest different priorities for development now compared to previous assessments. Detailed site reviews are included in the main study report.
1.3.7. The suitability of the principal corridors for park and ride services into Southampton were also reviewed. It is important that the choice of an optimum park and ride site also recognises corridor constraints and opportunities, as a good site will not achieve its potential if access to the city centre is severely constrained. The corridor assessment identified the Eastern corridor, via Bursledon Road or Portsmouth Road and Itchen Bridge as having the greatest potential, with appropriate bus priority measures. As the Western corridor approach via Millbrook Road is often considered free flowing there may a perception that car access from this corridor is easy and so park and ride will appear less attractive. The study recognises that the Northern corridor faces the greatest congestion from Bevois Valley into the city centre, but again bus priority measures would need to be implemented to achieve faster journey times.
1.3.8. Following site and corridor assessments the study considered key strategic city centre issues such as levels of parking provision, as this will have real impact on the long term viability of park and ride provision. It was noted that much had been done to reduce city centre commuter parking, for example, but the City Council has limited control on parking as it operates only 45% of off street parking. Therefore the local authorities have only limited opportunity to influence parking demand through pricing strategies.
1.3.9. The study report concludes with an assessment of the overall park and ride strategy and recommendations for further action and scheme development.
1.4. The Way Forward
1.4.1. Immediate action:
· Agree and adopt strategy
· Develop strategy for determining policy to implement Park and Ride (trigger points)
· Agree Action Plan and assign roles in park and ride development
· Secure the sites for future park and ride development
· Safeguard the park and ride corridors. e.g. ensuring sufficient carriageway width is preserved for physical priority measures
1.4.2. Work to be completed before the first park and ride site is implemented
· Making the case for park and ride through promotion, public debate.
· Scheme development
· Consultation with key stakeholders
· Obtaining planning permission to develop the favoured sites.
· A review of city centre parking strategy - to establish how parking charges can be revised to complement park and ride
1.4.3. Implementation process for the first park and ride site
· Timing of the implementation - based on the agreed trigger points
· Identify and promote scheme to the target market
· Branding and marketing initiatives
· Further travel awareness work
· Linkages to employers travel plans
1.4.4. Post implementation review - within 12 months
· Who uses park and ride in Southampton? What is their willingness to pay and their price sensitivity
· What has been the impact on the key indicators - congestion levels, air quality, parking availability, etc?
· How can park and ride be adapted to best serve the needs of the city?
· Should park and ride be developed further?
1.4.5. Long term - Developing a City wide park and ride network
· Which sites should be developed next?
· How can sites be linked together to provide a better service?
1.5.1. The development of a strategy for park and ride in Southampton is therefore based on the detailed analysis described in the report. From that work the key elements of the strategy are identified:
· Three preferred sites for park and ride have been identified at Windhover (Site 24), Stoneham (38) and Redbridge Lane (49). These sites should be safeguarded for this use in local plans.
· Park and ride has a key role to play in delivering a sustainable transport solution for an area, as part of a strategic policy direction. Work should be started on preparing this wider strategy for the south Hampshire area, so as to anticipate the solutions to emerging transport problems in the area. Permanent park and ride facilities on the preferred sites identified in the current study will best be implemented when an assessment of conditions indicate that they would be effective and viable. The strategy will need to determine the conditions that support development of each site. These may be traffic and air quality levels, city centre parking utilisation and charging, public attitudes to park and ride, parking problems, etc, which will have to be identified and measured.
· In the short term opportunities for trial seasonal park and ride schemes should be explored.
· The recommended order for implementation of permanent sites is Redbridge Lane, Windhover and Stoneham, but with some important caveats as identified in the main report concerning availability, development, funding, etc.
· Both securing significant additional bus priority measures and reviewing city centre car parking will be essential components in delivering an attractive park and ride journey and reducing car trips to the city centre
1.5.2. Applying the strategy suggests that the immediate action required should be:
· To investigate the effectiveness and viability of the Redbridge Lane site (49) as a staff park and ride facility for the General Hospital and other major employers in the area in the short term and to consider its suitability as a site to serve Southampton city centre and other potential locations in the medium and long term.
· Apply for planning permission to use Windhover site 24 as a permanent park and ride for retail, football and special event purposes, including access to the Hamble peninsula.
· Retaining an option on the use of Stoneham site 38 for a park and ride service. This might serve the University, football stadium, city centre and through an orbital link to the General Hospital.
· Safeguarding of the Thomas Lewis Way/Bevois Valley Road corridor against highway measures or developments which would impair the potential for future bus based park and ride provision along this route
1.5.3. Implementation of the first site is therefore proposed at Redbridge Lane which would help respond to one of the most urgent parking problems within the SATS area, at the General Hospital. The demand case is thought to be robust for this service.
1.5.4. The next site for implementation is proposed for Windhover subject to planning approval for the development of land within the strategic gap. In practice the timing of this implementation might be quite close to that of Redbridge Lane. This is not perceived to be a problem since these sites target different transport markets.
1.5.5. The need for a third park and ride site can be reviewed in the light of the demand for the Redbridge Lane and Windhover sites. In the short to medium term a two site strategy may be sufficient to meet the transport needs of the city. However the northern site has strategic value should city centre and University bound road traffic increase substantially.