A £1.2million scheme of improvements to car parks and signage in Taunton is ready to go live.
The Council will implement the new pay on exit system at the Orchard, Tangier, Canon Street, Wood Street, Castle Street and Enfield car parks on 4 February.
This will link into Variable Message Signing (VMS) in place at key locations in Priorswood Road, Cross Keys, Toneway, East Reach, Silk Mills and Wellington Road.
The Traffic Regulation Order which brings the changes into effect is being published this week following a period of testing and training to ensure the complex system of barriers, payment methods and links is working.
The Council will staff the car parks initially to help introduce the public to the new system and answer queries.
Cllr Richard Parrish, Executive member for Planning Policy and Transportation, said: “As the first Garden Town in the South West we are committed to delivering major regeneration in the town centre, new sustainable communities, improved transport and supporting infrastructure. These significant changes to the parking system are central to this strategy and represent our commitment to Taunton Deane’s ecology and economy. They will make a real difference to drivers, helping them to find car parking space while giving them the freedom to stay for as long as they need. The new system will also improve traffic flow, reduce air pollution and benefit local businesses.”
A new charging regime to help with clearer pricing and designation of TDBC car parks will also come into effect with the pay on exit scheme. There are small increases for some car parks. Others will remain static in their charging for short stays, while for longer stays in the majority of car parks, it will be cheaper for most people.
Spaces for Blue Badge holders will remain but the system does not allow for the one hour of additional parking in the car parks covered by pay on exit. The free hour will still be available in other car parks including the Crescent, Whirligig, Belevdere Road, Coal Orchard, Duke Street, Elms Parade and Fons George.
At the Orchard multi-storey car park in Paul Street, Shopmobility users will be able to use a discount card.
Additionally, Blue Badge holders will be able to use on-street parking as they do now.
The new pay on exit parking system is due to go live in seven Taunton car parks this autumn.
The council is working with contractors to complete the installation of equipment at the Orchard, High Street, Tangier, Canon Street, Wood Street, Castle Street and Enfield car parks.
The complex work which has included ground works, installation of barriers, machines and cabling, is due to finish by end of this month. A period of testing and training will then take place with the aim of going live in early November. This means customers will be able to take advantage of the new arrangements in the busy Christmas period.
The Council has already installed Variable Message Signing (VMS) at key locations such as Priorswood Road, Cross Keys, Toneway, East Reach, Silk Mills and Wellington Road.
The VMS systems will help drivers to find car parks and know how many spaces are available and the type of parking – short stay, long stay and commuter. It will also avoid them having to drive around to find a suitable space and should ease queuing and reduce congestion.
Cllr Richard Parrish, Executive member for transport and parking, said: “This £1.2million scheme of significant improvements to car parks and signage should make a real difference to drivers in Taunton. VMS will really improve the flow of traffic and help drivers find the space they need quickly and efficiently, while pay on exit will mean people do not have to rush back to their cars while shopping, dining or on business in the town. This is a great example of the Council working to make parking easier for residents and visitors while improving the traffic flow and in turn reducing air pollution. I’m looking forward to seeing the improvements in place.”
A new charging regime to help with clearer pricing and designation of TDBC car parks will also come into effect with the pay on exit scheme. Changes to the designations of the car parks will give users a clear understanding of where parking is available and for how long you can stay there. There are small increases for some car parks. Other car parks will remain static in their charging for short stays, while for longer stays in the majority of car parks, it will be cheaper for most people.
THE first Variable Message Signing (VMS) boards are being unveiled in Taunton as work on changing the parking regime in key town centre car parks moves forward.
The signs are being unveiled by Taunton Deane Borough Council, working in partnership with Somerset County Council and contractors SWARCO and WSP.
The council is introducing pay on exit and VMS in seven central car parks as it invests £1.2m to make it easier for people to find vacant parking slots – and to make a payment when they leave, rather than when they arrive. VMS will also be linked to Taunton’s two park & ride sites.
Pay on exit will be introduced in the following car parks: Orchard, High Street, Tangier, Canon Street, Wood Street, Castle Street and Enfield. The changes, being introduced car park by car park to minimise disruption, are planned to be completed in August.
Cllr John Williams, Leader of the council, said: “We committed £1.2m to implementing this initiative to make life a little easier for the motorist and to underline our commitment to Taunton Deane’s economy.
“The new electronic signs will help people find where space is available in some of our busiest car parks while pay on exit means they pay for the time they have parked, rather than pay for time they think they might need.
“This has long been an aspiration for the council and I am delighted to see it come to fruition.”
Cllr Roger Habgood, Executive member for planning policy and transportation, added: “Taunton is growing and, as a Garden Town, we don’t want to see people having to drive around, wasting fuel, time and adding to pollution, in the search for a parking spot.”
Cllr Mark Edwards, Executive member for business, said: “Our traders have been supportive of this new system as it will make life easier for visitors, shoppers and those who do business in Taunton. This will remove the stress of having to return to the car in their allocated time, and allow shoppers to enjoy their experience in Taunton.
“I am grateful for the support we have received from our local businesses and from the partners we have worked with throughout.”
Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “This project has been an excellent example of collaborative working between two authorities and I’m pleased to see it going live. VMS signs are a welcome addition to the town and should help prevent wasted journeys by directly guiding drivers to available parking spaces.”
The first sign was unveiled in Priorswood Road, Taunton, on the inbound approach, and is one of nine to be provided in key locations, signposting drivers to the seven pay-on-exit car parks and the two park and ride sites.