Thursday, March 31, 2016

Berkhamsted Multi-storey Car Park

Petition

The premise seems to be that Berko needs more parking spaces, and that the traffic infrastructure is able to accommodate extra traffic.

However, according to the council's own report, our largest car park only gets 73% full, and the Lower Kings Road already gets 93% congested at the weekday evening peak - so the traffic congestion problem is already worse than the car park utilisation, and they predict the traffic queues on Lower Kings Road will increase by about 30%.

If you want to know the detail...

Let's start with that first part: that Berko needs more parking spaces. Looking at the council's own Transport Assessment that they have submitted to support this planning application, it says that the railway car park gets only 73% full at its busiest hour in the week. So there are already a significant number of free spaces in Berko just a few minutes walk from the centre. And as for the Lower Kings Road car park, the report tells us this can get up to 97% full at noon on a Saturday... at which time the railway car park is only 9% occupied. So we have more than enough parking spaces - we're just not using them.

Now let's look at the second part: the traffic infrastructure is able to accommodate extra traffic. This same report tells us that Lower Kings Road currently gets up to 93% saturated on average across the busiest hour, and predicts saturation will increase. Yes, the roads already get more saturated than the combined car parks. The worst increase in traffic congestion is predicted to be in the weekday evenings 17:30-18:30 where it is predicted to increase from 89.7% to 96.2% saturated on average across the hour.

What does this mean in real terms? They predict that the length of the queue of traffic backed up on the Lower Kings Road will increase by about 30%. The council believes the Lower Kings Road can cope with this traffic queue increasing by around 30%, but I've seen the traffic queues on the Lower Kings Road at the evening workday rush hour and if it tails beyond the entrance to the car park this is going to trap in the cars trying to leave this car park and cause traffic congestion chaos.

To summarise, according to the council's own report, our largest car park only gets 73% full, and the Lower Kings Road already gets 93% congested at the weekday evening peak - so the traffic congestion problem is already worse than the car park utilisation, and they predict the traffic queues on Lower Kings Road will increase by about 30%.