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Lib Dems unveil new integrated transport hub for Station Road West

June 28, 2018 12:01 AM

The Canterbury Liberal Democrat Party today can reveal the draft new design as an alternative to the Conservative's multi-storey car park in Station Road West.

Integrated Transport Hub

Key features

  • Land on the north side of the station, currently disused or used for office space, is converted into parking.
  • The footbridge is extended to cross the siding on the north side of the station to allow pedestrian access. Ticket machines are available beside the north platform in a small new ticket hall.
  • The current ticket hall is extended to remove the bottleneck. Passengers enter and leave the platform through separate routes. The new building is designed sympathetically to its surroundings and architecturally evocative of Canterbury.
  • The area outside the ticket hall will be reserved for bikes and pedestrians. An extended bus stop that doesn't block traffic will take the place of the current taxi rank. Hopper buses will run frequently connecting the station with other locations in Canterbury including Canterbury East Station.
  • A bike hire facility and secure bike storage with CCTV will be relocated into the main area in front of the ticket hall making it more convenient and less prone to bike theft.
  • The passenger drop-off zone will be relocated to the main car park. As the ticket hall has been extended this will still be within a few metres of the building.
  • A larger taxi rank is relocated to the main car park, with the potential for additional taxi waiting in the north car park.
  • Additional trees will be planted all around to create a pleasant environment and help reduce air pollution.

Key benefits

  • This is an environmentally-friendly solution that doesn't favour cars over other forms of transport.
  • It is significantly less expensive than the multi-storey car park.
  • It is a much more aesthetically-pleasing solution compared to the ugly multi-storey design that would create a negative impression of Canterbury.
  • It avoids traffic bottlenecks. Commuters arriving from the north can park on the north side of the tracks without having to wait at the level crossing. When leaving there are several different route options. Commuters arriving from the south can park on the south side also without waiting at the crossing. In contrast the multi-storey car park would force all cars to leave through one exit on Station Road West, creating gridlock.
  • This solution provides nearly as much parking capacity as the multi-storey with greatly reduced construction costs and environmental damage.

Integrated Transport HubNetwork Rail has recently been instructed by the government to spend £1 billion on railway improvements which will involve them selling off assets they have previously been reluctant to part with such as the land on the north side.

The project would be partially funded by the sale of land, in particular the temporary overflow car park at the north-east end of Station Road West. There would also be income from parking charges. The outlay would be very much less the £9 million budgeted for the multi-storey and the ongoing operating costs would be significantly less.

Canterbury's parking needs over the next 20 years are unpredictable. We don't know what impact self-driving cars will have on parking requirements. It is possible that cars may drive themselves home rather than paying to park next to the station waiting for their owners.

Canterbury council's own projections calculate there is already capacity for the next 15 years. However, if demand decreases, the land could be sold off in parcels and developed into housing. This would not be practical with a multi-storey car park as it would require partial demolition.

The architects of the plan are Lib Dems Alex Lister and Councillor Michael Dixey. Michael said: "the multi-storey car park is one of the worst ideas the council has ever produced.

"It would cause gridlock, make air pollution even worse, and would create a monstrous carbuncle on the face of our beautiful city."

Alex added: "as a commuter myself I can see the infrastructure at Canterbury West is creaking at the seams.

"This is an elegant solution which makes everyone's lives better. It's good for residents, good for commuters, good for car drivers, good for public transport and good for the environment.

"In contrast most locals see multi-storey scheme as quite the opposite - the public consultation last year received 599 responses, only 8% of which fully supported the plans."

The plans will now be submitted for discussion at the council.

Notes to editors

With the planned increase in the frequency of the high-speed train service, the level crossing will be down for more time - increasing congestion in St Dunstan's. The air quality close to the level crossing already breaches the statutory limits for NOX. For the last four years, the average reading has been 44 micrograms/cubic metre, 10% over the limit of 40 micrograms/cubic metre limit.

Network Rail has been told to spend an extra £1 billion to improve punctuality on Britain's railway amid concerns over the number of delayed trains. The rail watchdog said that the government-owned company had to increase investment to replace worn-out tracks, signals and lineside equipment. According to the Office of Rail and Road, the rise should be partly funded by efficiency savings and selling off additional Network Rail property, including railway arches.