Live Online Q and A Session on Reading’s New Local Transport Strategy

Reading Borough Council will host a live online question and answer session at 6pm on Tuesday May 26th, as part of an on-going consultation on its new Local Transport Strategy (LTS).

Residents, businesses and organisations across Reading who hold an interest in the future of transport in the town and who have an opinion on how the Council should tackle poor air quality and congestion, or who have questions about how the Council is preparing for changes in travel behaviour as a result of the current health emergency, are being invited to submit questions in advance.

They can do that on www.facebook.com/Readingcouncil and www.twitter.com/ReadingCouncil by tagging in @ReadingCouncil and using the hashtag #AskTransportRDG. People can also email transport@reading.gov.uk, adding #AskTransportRDG in the subject line.

Questions will be selected and put to a panel on the night, made up of Cllr Tony Page, Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, and Cllr Adele Barnett-Ward, Chair of the Cleaner Air & Safer Transport Forum.

Those watching live will also have the opportunity to post questions on the night and have them submitted to the panel during the live event. Time constraints may mean not all questions will be answered on the night, but a Q&A will be published on the Council’s website in the days that follow, answering as many of the most frequently asked questions as possible.

Next week’s live event will be hosted by Giorgio Framalicco, Reading Council’s Deputy Director of Planning, Transport & Regulatory Services. It begins at 6pm. It can be accessed by Microsoft Teams and via a link which will be posted nearer the time on the Council’s social media channels and at www.reading.gov.uk/asktransportrdg.  Microsoft Teams is free and easy to use. You can watch via your browser, or download the free app. The event will also be recorded and available on demand after the event via the  Council’s news Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9MI4CQ3YjKUZGjA-SGhC_g

The event will also include:

  • A brief presentation on the Transport Strategy vision and objectives, including an outline of potential initiatives for Reading;
  • A discussion around the impact of Covid-19 on transport, traffic levels and the impact on Reading’s environment;
  • Information about options to re-allocate road space in parts of Reading to make walking and cycling easier and safer

The Reading Transport Strategy 2036 is its most radical yet. It contains a series of schemes and initiatives to combat the poor air quality and congestion affecting parts of the town. When finalised it also aims to take into account the long term effect of the Covid-19 outbreak on society, the local economy, the environment and on people’s travel and work behaviour.

People can read the draft LTS strategy in advance of the event at  www.reading.gov.uk/transport2036 and have their say, either before or afterwards. The closing date for comments is Sunday 30th August. All responses will then be taken into account before the final Reading Transport Strategy is adopted in the winter.

Tony Page
Cllr Tony Page

Cllr Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“On going social distancing guidelines means that it remains very difficult to host public drop in events at this time, as was originally intended as part of the Local Transport Strategy consultation. By hosting this live online event, we hope to encourage residents, business and organisations to  tune in on the night to find out more, or to ask a questions of their own. Questions are being invited in advance and we will do our best to answer as many as possible on the night itself.

“The Reading Transport Strategy 2036 is the most radical yet and the consultation is one of the most significant the Council will ever undertake, especially in the context of the current health emergency.

“In ordinary times, air quality in Reading remains badly blighted by the many thousands of vehicles and lorries who have no origin, destination or purpose here and which continue to use the town as a short cut, polluting the air and damaging the health and wellbeing of residents. The new strategy aims to tackle that head on by providing attractive, reliable and affordable alternatives to the private car. It is also a key cog in tackling the climate emergency in Reading and meeting our net zero carbon target by 2030.”

Councillor Page added:

“Last night (May 18th) the Council agreed a package of proposals to re-allocate road space in parts of Reading to make walking and cycling across Reading easier and safer, as social distancing guidelines remain in place.

“We will obviously monitor the success of these schemes closely before considering making them permanent, but next week’s social media event is also a good opportunity for people to feedback their thoughts on those plans and ask any questions they may have.”

The LTS 2036 strategy proposes a series of schemes and initiatives to tackle the challenge:

  • Demand management schemes: investigating options including a Clean Air Zone and Emissions-Based Charging, Workplace Parking Levy, and Road User Charging
  • Major multi modal schemes: including a Third Thames Crossing, a North Reading Orbital Route, new park and ride sites in South Oxfordshire, and key transport corridor enhancements
  • Public transport schemes: including new and upgraded railway stations, ‘fast track’ Public Transport routes, new Park and Rides, quality bus corridors, community transport, concessionary travel, Mobility as a Service and demand responsive transport
  • Active travel schemes: including strategic and local pedestrian and cycle routes, cycle parking hubs and facilities at interchanges and residential areas and a cycle hire scheme
  • Network management schemes: including demand management, road safety schemes, efficiency improvements, intelligent transport systems, electric vehicle charging and smart city initiatives
  • Communication and engagement schemes: including marketing, travel information, training, play streets and travel accreditation programme

Consultation of the LTS 2036 also sits alongside consultation on the Reading Climate Change Partnership’s new Reading Climate Emergency Strategy. This can be found at www.reading.gov.uk/climateconsultation and the closing date for comments is 31st May 2020.

Full details of the Council’s road reallocation schemes can be found in the May 18th Policy Committee Report: https://democracy.reading.gov.uk/documents/s12753/Reading%20Active%20Travel.pdf

Oscar Mortali

For media enquiries about this release email oscar.mortali@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 2301