COMMUTERS and residents are being given forward notice of changes to bus stops and the taxi rank to the south of Reading Station, which come into effect from Monday February 20th.
On-going redevelopment work at Thames Tower will see the permanent closure of Garrard Street at its junction of Station Road, from February 20th. The stretch of pavement immediately outside Thames Tower will also be temporarily closed for a period of approximately 8 weeks while improvements to the footpath take place.
Bus stops immediately outside Thames Tower will be suspended to create a pedestrian route to and from the station. Bus passengers who usually board buses at this point will instead need to use bus stop SD in Station Road. Greenwave passengers will need to use bus stop FM in Friar Street. The bus stops outside Thames Tower will re-open once works are completed.
The permanent closure of Garrard Street at its junction with Station Road will also mean the permanent closure of the ‘horseshoe’ taxi rank outside the station entrance. This rank is currently fed by taxis queuing in nearby Garrard Street.
The Garrard Street ranks were always temporary and were set up to help the taxi trade following major changes to town centre traffic flows in 2011. Since that time Reading Borough Council has built new transport interchanges – including much-improved new taxi ranks – on both the south and north side of Reading Station.
From February 20th, taxi passengers will be asked to access taxis from the new rank at the bottom of the steps / ramp. Alternatively they can use the new taxi rank on the northern side of the station.
A number of other changes are also being made to waiting restrictions in roads around the station to minimise the impact on taxi trade. The Reading Taxi Association is fully aware of the changes. Signage has also been further improved to signpost people to the taxi ranks.
Tony Page, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“The next stage of the works at Thames Tower will mean a temporary change in routine for people who regularly use bus stops immediately outside the building. The route to and from Reading Station and along Station Road is one of the busiest in the town and it means a temporary suspension of bus stops is needed to create a pedestrian path.
“The Garrard Street ranks were always a temporary arrangement put in place to aid the taxi trade while the Council built the new interchanges and taxi ranks on the north and south side of the station. The new interchanges have been successfully operating for more than two years now and the on-going work at Thames Tower will now mean the permanent closure of the temporary Garrard Street feeder ranks.
“Improved signage has been put in place and I would urge people who regularly catch black cabs from the station to take a short walk down the steps, or use the ramp, to access the new taxi rank. We would also remind taxi passengers that there is a second new taxi rank on the northern side of the station. The Council recently removed restrictions and taxis can now turn right into Vastern Road, which will further speed up taxi journeys for passengers and Hackney Carriage drivers.”
Ongoing works by the developers of Thames Tower include repaving the entire pavement on the east side of Thames Tower with materials to match the existing paving on the Station southern public square. It will also include a rationalisation of the existing street furniture, the relocation of the bus inspectors hut and improvements to the existing central island, where the statue of King Edward VII is located.
A full list of the changes can be found on the Temporary Traffic Regulation Order advertised locally. Forthcoming changes around the station were also detailed in a report to the Council’s Traffic Management Committee on November http://www.reading.gov.uk/media/6251/Item14/pdf/Item14.pdf