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Early Breakfast with James Stewart 4am - 6:30am
18 April 2011, 06:00
Big changes for pedestrians, bus passengers, drivers and cyclists in Reading Town Centre as a new transport system comes into effect from today.
If you catch the bus, it may now be from a different place and if you drive, there are a number of different routes you'll have to take when driving across the town centre.
Pedestrians are also beimng urged to take extra care when crossing roads, and remember to look both ways before crossing. The change in traffic flows mean that in Friar Street (west), West Street and St Mary's Butts, what were one way streets to all traffic, will now include contra-flow bus lanes. Pedestrians are being urged to use the new crossing points provided.
The improvement works to the Town Centre began last summer. They will ensure that the Town Centre is fully prepared and completed in advance of work on the £850m Reading Station upgrade and the two new interchanges – to the north and south of the station – which will complement the Network Rail scheme.
Major changes include:
- Road closure at Station Approach, apart from cyclists and pedestrians
- New one way southbound traffic flow in Blagrave Street,
- New one way eastbound in Valpy Street
- Westbound contra-flow bus lane in Friar Street West
- Southbound contra flow bus lane at West Street
- Extension of two way traffic from Broad Street Junction to St Mary's Butts
Extensive town centre improvement works include major investment in new wider pavements, re-surfaced roads, improved pedestrian crossing facilities, more cycle parking and better bus facilities in St Marys Butts, West Street, Friar Street, Station Road, Blagrave Street and Valpy Street.
Reading Borough Council's transport team will be highly visible across the town centre from the early hours of Monday April 18 to direct all road users and help them get used to the changes. This process will continue throughout the Easter Holidays.
Information leaflets and posters detailing the changes are also being distributed across the town centre, including on buses, in shops and at various point in and around Reading Station.
A drop-in centre has been open throughout the course of the project at 6 Cross Street where people can view plans, look at the works programme in detail and ask any questions they may have. This will remain open to the public for 4 weeks after April 18. Opening hours are 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
If residents or businesses want to talk to someone directly at the Council about the changes they can call the Transport Team on 0118 937 3948.
Work is continuing on Network Rail's expansion of the station which involves the upgrade of rail lines into Reading. It should open to the public in May 2013. The scheme is aimed at increasing the number of trains and improving reliability and performance. Currently, delays and capacity problems at Reading affects rails services throughout the country. Once finished however, the station will have more passenger capacity, less overcrowding and there should be fewer delays.
Road and rail users in Reading were handed a major boost late last year when the Government confirmed £9.47 million in funding for two new transport interchanges at Reading Station. The new interchanges – to the south and to the north of the station – will complement Network Rail's multi-million pound upgrade of rail lines into Reading.
The Southern interchange will include a large pedestrianised area, Station Approach, which is currently used by buses, taxis bikes and coaches. Station Approach will be closed permanently from April 18.