INFORMAL consultation on creating Reading’s first ever Red Route – running the length of the Number 17 bus route – begins today (June 12).
A Red Route is a ‘no stopping’ restriction which has been successfully used on major bus routes in London for many years, helping keep key public transport moving, preventing delays for bus passengers and improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
In Reading, the proposal is for a Red Route to be introduced along the length of the ‘purple’ 17 bus route. Existing parking bays along the route would be maintained wherever possible, and new ones would be added where they benefit local businesses or residents.
‘Purple’ 17 is Reading’s busiest and best-used bus route. Last year over 4.5 million individual journeys were made along the route – more than 90,000 trips per week. The bus route runs from Tilehurst in the west, along Norcot Road and the Oxford Road, crosses the Town Centre, before running east along the Kings Road, through Cemetery Junction and along the Wokingham Road. The introduction of a Red Route would help prevent illegal stopping or parking along the busy route which disrupts the flow of traffic for buses and for other road users.
The Council also regularly lobbied on safety concerns from residents and road users relating to vehicles double-parking along the busy route, or cars illegally parking or part-parking on pavements. The introduction of a Red Route will help prevent this through more effective enforcement, which will create a safer environment for local residents, pedestrians and cyclists.
The Council’s proposed Red Route restriction would be made up of a combination of double red and single red lines. These would mirror the current double yellow and single yellow lines along the length of the route.
Where double red lines are marked, vehicles cannot stop at any time – Monday to Sunday – including for short periods of loading or unloading. Only disabled blue badge holders and Hackney Carriages (black cabs) would be permitted to stop to allow for boarding and alighting, as well as emergency services.
Where single red lines are marked, drivers would only be able to stop or park in accordance with the signed restrictions. For both double red and single red lines, restrictions would be enforced by CCTV cameras.
Importantly, a key element of the Council’s proposed scheme is to retain all existing parking, loading and disabled bays along the length of the route wherever possible. Through the informal consultation process the Council will additionally seek to identify opportunities to add additional parking bays, and more flexible parking along certain sections of the route, where they would benefit local businesses and residents.
Maintaining existing parking bays and identifying further parking provision is a key focus of the 6-week informal consultation exercise, which opens today (June 12) and runs until Friday July 21st. Details of the proposed scheme and how to respond can be found at www.reading.gov.uk/redroutes.
Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“Red Routes have been successfully used in London for many years now, and with great success. Keeping key bus routes clear and free from delays is essential in a busy town like Reading. ‘Purple’ route 17 is by far Reading’s best used bus service. A properly enforced Red Route is the next logical step in further speeding up journey times for bus passengers, and making the service even more reliable.
“A Red Route will also create a much safer environment for local residents who live along the route, cyclists and pedestrians, all of whom regularly complain to the Council about having to manoeuvre around illegally parked vehicles, putting themselves and other road users at risk.
“The success of the Red Route however, will be in designing a scheme which works for residents and local businesses along the route, as well as for road users.
“I want to make it quite clear that existing parking, loading and disabled bays along the route will be maintained in almost all cases.
“The informal consultation also offers an opportunity to assist local businesses by identifying opportunities for additional bays and more flexible parking along certain sections of route, where it is possible and where it benefits local shopkeepers and residents.”
The start of an informal consultation process follows a decision made by Reading Borough Council’s Policy Committee in July 2015 to create a Red Route along bus route 17.
Due the length of the ‘purple’ 17 bus route – which is the longest bus route serving Reading – the Council is presenting the proposal in three separate sections – Western Area, Central Area and Eastern Area. This is to make it easier for residents and businesses to identify and to consider local issues in their area.
The three sets of proposals can be viewed in detail at www.reading.gov.uk/redroutes. Using the feedback section on the same webpage is also the easiest and quickest way people can give their views. Alternatively, people can email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Network Management, Reading Borough Council, Bridge Street, Reading, RG1 2LU.
In order to tailor the consultation to a local neighbourhood level, the Council is also be hosting a series of public exhibition across the three areas. They will take place between the hours of 1pm and 7pm at:
- Western Area: Tilehurst Library, School Road – 22 June
- Western Area: Battle Library, Oxford Road – 20 June
- Central Area: Civic Offices, Bridge Street – 4 July (9am-5pm)
- Eastern Area: Palmer Park Library, St Bartholomew’s Road – 27 June
Maps of the plans for each of the three areas will also be on display in the reception area of the Council’s Civic Offices, in Bridge Street, for the whole of the 6-week consultation period, which runs between June 12th and July 21st.
All feedback from this consultation exercise will be reported to a meeting of the Council’s Traffic Management Committee in September. Officers will then take feedback received into account when designing an initial trial scheme which would be implemented under three experimental traffic orders.
Depending upon the feedback it is possible that an experimental scheme could be prepared to go live in the autumn. Should this be the case, everyone will be able to formally comment on the Red Route having viewed it in operation. If the experimental scheme (with any amendments) is successful, traffic orders for a permanent scheme would then be advertised and would be the subject of a formal statutory public consultation process.
Cllr Page added:
“I’d encourage as many residents and businesses to take some time to look at the proposals during this informal stage of consultation and to feedback views. While the overall intention is that the Red Route restrictions mirror the existing yellow line restrictions, there will inevitably be local issues which arise and which need to addressed before an experimental scheme goes live in the autumn.
“This informal consultation process offers an important opportunity to make positive improvements to existing restrictions, which could benefit local businesses or residents.
“Through proper consultation with local communities along the route, we are determined to tailor the scheme to local needs. That is why it is important we capture as many views as possible at this early stage.”