Many will have seen progress with the construction of the new Reading Green Park station, either in the local media or from the train between Reading and Basingstoke.
The new £20 million+ station is due to open in early 2023 and has been developed as a partnership between GWR, DfT, Network Rail, Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and local developers, as well as Reading Borough Council, who have taken the role as lead organisation for this project.
The design of the scheme includes a bus interchange, a 50-space car park and cycle parking.
Much has been made in the economic justification of the station about the sustainable travel credentials of the scheme, which are intended to relieve traffic congestion on the A33 corridor by serving the new residential development in the area, the Green Park Business Park and the football stadium.
However, whilst there is cycle parking and a signed cycle route around the station car park, this cycle route doesn’t extend any further beyond the edge of the station, leaving a 500m missing link to the existing cycle route through Green Park (NCN route 23).
This seems a huge missed opportunity, demonstrating either a complete lack of joined-up thinking between the various development partners or a lack of commitment to cycling in the planning of the area, or even both.
Green Park is unusual in that the roads and paths are private and are not managed by Reading Borough Council as highway authority, but how did this development progress without adequate planning for cycling?
Whilst providing new cycle routes through existing built-up areas is going to be difficult, this is a brand-new development in what was effectively a previously undeveloped site, and it should have been straight forward to accommodate a new cycle route through the area at minimal additional cost.
Surely we deserve better than this for a largely publicly funded major new scheme?