|TRAVEL PLAN UPDATE
(Thursday 28th November 2002)
The consultancy firm employed by the Club to investigate matchday travel problems at Adams Park are close to announcing the findings from their extensive survey of traffic flow and parking related issues in the Sands area. The local Council also say they are planning on holding a public exhibition early in 2003 to show proposed traffic schemes designed to ease the flow of traffic and reduce matchday parking problems.
JMP Consultants Ltd were one of just a number of representatives present at a Travel Plan Meeting held at Adams Park on Monday 18th November. As well as senior figures from both Wycombe Wanderers and Wasps, the attendees also included key figures from the Chiltern Vale Police, Traffic Management for Southern Buckinghamshire, Bucks County Council and Wycombe District Council.
The report by JMP will concentrate on the well documented problems that surround Adams Park on matchdays – namely the congestion getting away from the ground and inappropriate parking in the surrounding residential areas.
Both Wanderers and Wasps took on board the Travel Plan back in May 2002 when the two parties agreed a “ground sharing” agreement. The success of the Travel Plan is crucial in maintaining this agreement although from Wanderers point of view, with or without the Wasps, reducing the matchday travel problems should provide a longer term benefit for the club and supporters alike.
Wanderers efforts to improve matters on matchdays have so far been minimal. In an effort to encourage car-sharing the upper car-park now has a levy for under usage of your vehicle, meaning that solo drivers have to pay £5 to park. This reduces by £1 for every passenger down to a minimum charge of £2. The initial effect of this was to deter people from parking at the ground. The first game of the 2002/3 season saw 41% of cars have just one person in but this has now fallen to around the 28% mark with most drivers opting to come with one passenger.
The new Park and Ride schemes have been met with a fairly lethargic take-up but this could be linked to the relatively poor publicity given to the schemes. Wanderers Directors responded to these claims by trying out the Park and Ride scheme from the Dashwood Arms, Piddington for the game with Tranmere on 23rd November.
It’s hoped that improved public awareness to the Park and Ride schemes along with the existing Bus services will improved their usage but it will always be the slow egress from the ground that will deter users. At present buses and cars are choked into Adams Park at the end of the game because of safety issues getting pedestrians away and the ongoing problem of only allowing a single file of traffic along Hillbottom Road.
The Council’s proposals to improve this situation include a change in the use of the junction between Chapel Lane and West Wycombe Road and also the junction with Plomer Hill. Experimental traffic lights, possibly at the end of Hillbottom Road, will also be installed by the end of the financial year. The Council have a £100,000 budget for these proposals although a spokesman at the meeting added that the recommended solutions would be “no means cast in stone” and that local residents would have a big input in the final thought process.
Much of the criticism from local residents has been the “inconsiderate parking” in the residential areas on matchdays. But the meeting revealed that the whole subject was a “can of worms”. Many of the areas in question around the Sands area have parking restrictions that are not enforceable because of poor signing and various bye-laws dating back to the 1970's.
It was also pointed out that the problem on matchdays is not just from supporters. Surveys have revealed that 40% of parking on verges comes from the local residents themselves and the misconception that residents have a right to park outside their own homes was quickly put right by the Police representation present at the meeting on 18th November.
Another issue is that, at present, the Sands area, unlike High Wycombe town centre, is not designated a “Special Parking Area” and illegal parking has to be undertaken by the Thames Valley Police and club funded Traffic Wardens. It’s a area that the local police say they have no additional resources to cover. A spokesman for the local Police in control of the Traffic Management added “I really think the way forward is the de-criminalisation of the rest of the Wycombe District so the parking enforcement is undertaken by Parking Attendants” But any change would be at least 18 months away and would likely mean the introduction of residents parking permits.
The process is a slow one but it does appear now that progress is being made with all the interested parties now pulling together.
Click here for Match Day Bus times from official website
Note the 501 service (Route E) is no longer running.
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