CWEST believes that there are a range of other transport planning ideas that could help achieve a more sustainable, equitable transport system for SW Exeter, but these have not been given any consideration to date. This is partly because Devon and Exeter councils are so keen on park and ride, that they have failed to pay enough attention – or allocate enough money – to other solutions.
CWEST has pressed for a review of the current package of transport solutions proposed for SW Exeter, but this has been refused by Devon, Teignbridge and Exeter councils, who believe that their current proposals are just fine. However, Devon and Teignbridge have asked CWEST to put forward alternative ideas, and these are set out in a letter sent in early July 2015.
Here are just some of the ideas that we would like to see explored:
- Improved walking and cycling links into and out of the SW Exeter area and around Marsh Barton. Current proposals leave local people having to make difficult, unattractive walking and cycling journeys to get into or out of their area.
- Transform Marsh Barton estate into an area that is safe and easy to walk and cycle into and around. Explore the option of an electric shuttle bus that does continual pick ups and drops offs around the estate, making it easy to get around if you arrive by bus or train, (using the soon to be build Marsh Barton station).
- Explore bus ‘link and ride': people from outside Exeter are encouraged to join dedicated buses to the city from existing pick up points, existing car parking space that is underused, eg somewhere that has parking that isn’t used in during the week very much, and where necessary, small new car parks. This approach reduces car use, pollution and congestion in Exeter. It also has the benefit of supporting rural public transport, rather than undermining it, as city-based park and ride schemes have been show to do.
- Putting resources that would have been put into the park and ride, into improving local bus and train services. A significant proportion of the target audience for a new park and ride are travelling from places with stations – Starcross, Dawlish, Newton Abbot and Torquay.
- Take an honest, in depth look at what a new park and ride scheme would achieve. There is a growing body of evidence that park and ride is a very limited, short term and expensive solution to the problem of getting more people into the city in a truly sustainable way. CWEST is also challenging Devon and Exeter councils to be much clearer on what they think the £6 million park and ride will achieve, given that their reasoning has already changed a number of times. (For more on how the the aims for Ide/ Alphington P & R have changed over the years, click here)