READING’S first section of Red Route is set to go live from next week.
A Red route is a ‘no stopping’ restriction successfully used on major bus routes in London for many years. It helps keep key public transport moving, minimises delays for bus passengers and improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists by preventing dangerous or illegal parking.
Reading’s Red Route will eventually run the length of the ‘Purple 17′ bus route – the town’s busiest and best used bus.
It is being introduced in three separate sections, starting in the east of the borough. It starts on the Kings Road, at its junction with the IDR, following the A329 corridor east, through Cemetery Junction and along the Wokingham Road. It ends near to the Three Tuns crossroads, on the borough boundary.
Importantly, a key element of the Council’s scheme is to retain all existing parking, loading and disabled bays along the length of the route wherever possible. As part of an on-going consultation, there is also the opportunity to add or adjust bays and provide more flexible parking arrangements where they benefit local businesses or residents and do not compromise the flow of traffic.
The new Red Route restriction means 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, Hackney Carriages (black cabs) and private hire vehicles licensed by Reading Borough Council are permitted to stop to allow for boarding and alighting. Emergency service vehicles will, of course, be permitted to stop on the Red Route.
Where single red lines are marked, drivers would only be able to stop or park in accordance with the signed restrictions.
Enforcement is initially being carried out by a combination of Civil Enforcement Officers and the Council’s mobile CCTV van. Warning notices, rather than fines, will be issued for a number of weeks, following the initial implementation of each section of the route. This is to ensure people are completely clear on the restriction and that they can be fined in the future if they ignore them. Fines will replace the warning notices thereafter.
Cllr Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“Keeping key routes clear and free from unnecessary delays is essential to maintaining bus reliability and traffic flows. Red Routes have been successfully used in London for many years now, and with great success. A Red Route for Reading is the next logical step in further speeding up bus journeys and making the service even more reliable.
“The Council receives regular complaints about illegal and dangerous parking, where people have blocked traffic flows or blocked pavements. Enforcement of a Red Route will help create a safer environment for local residents, pedestrians and cyclists.
“The Council was completely clear at the informal consultation stage that existing parking, loading and disabled bays along the route will be maintained in almost all cases. That remains the case. The Council is determined to design a scheme tailored to local needs and there remains an opportunity for residents and local shopkeepers to view the scheme in operation and make further suggestions as part of the consultation process.
“Warning letters rather than fines will be issued to drivers, who have parked or stopped illegally, upon initial implementation of each section of the scheme. These will, however, be replaced by fines after this initial period.”
Last year over 4.5 million individual journeys were made along the ‘Purple 17’ bus 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 second section of Reading’s Red Route will be introduced shortly after the Eastern corridor on the western end of the route. This will run from Mayfair to the Town Centre. The final section – in the Town Centre – will follow shortly afterward.
Following a period of informal consultation in the Summer, the Red Route is being introduced under three experimental traffic orders. That means residents and businesses can comment on the new restriction having viewed it in operation. It also means the Council can address any local issues before traffic orders for a permanent scheme are produced. For more information about the scheme, or to comment on the Red Route restriction as part of the consultation process, go to www.reading.gov.uk/redroute or email firstname.lastname@example.org