Poor air quality in East Reading hit the local news this week. The giant biscuit factory that once dominated the area has long gone. In a town with minimal industrial activity, the modern culprit is vehicle emissions, and especially those from the idling traffic along Kings Road that has gradually deteriorated from a brief peak-time issue, to virtually ever-present. In a town renowned for its congestion, Cemetery Junction is Reading’s flagship traffic jam. A third bridge and investment in public transport are clearly the focus for a solution, but I think we should look closely at how we use our limited road space to keep things moving better. The current situation is bad for residents, visitors, commuters and the environment, and I think we should explore other options. Continue reading “Cemetery Junction – Ending the Gridlock”
Last Friday I attended a public exhibition at the Town Hall for revised proposals for the development previously known as Swan Heights to be built on the former BMW site on Napier Road. Here’s what I picked up, and some follow up thoughts… Continue reading “Swan Heights, the Thames and a Tunnel”
This week I attended a public consultation on the East Reading MRT. MRT stands for mass rapid transit. The proposal is for a new link from the big Tesco’s on Napier Road through to Thames Valley Park, including a bridge over the Kennet. A new park & ride scheme would be based at the eastern end. The media have picked up some local opposition to the impact to the riverside, but I think they miss a bigger picture. Continue reading “East Reading MRT – widening the debate”
You can’t write a blog about Reading without tackling the longest standing local talking point. Awful traffic jams on all approaches to the existing Caversham and Reading Bridges are the bane of lives both sides of the river – it’s not hard to see why more capacity is needed. When it comes to Reading’s Third Bridge saga, the only difficult question to answer is for exactly how many decades this idea has been discussed and procrastinated: I’m afraid I can’t do any better than ‘many’.
Continue reading “The Third Reading Bridge”
This week a ‘screening opinion’ – a kind of forerunner to a planning application – has been submitted for the closure and redevelopment of Homebase and Toys R Us. The proposed scheme would see an incredible 800 homes built on the site in blocks of up to 19 storeys. Read on for some views and my typically optimistic vision as to how this whole area could be improved more substantially.
Continue reading “Throwing the Toys out of the Pram”
What is #Reading2050?
A couple of weeks ago I attended an exhibition in town called Reading 2050. The initiative seeks to create a vision for the development of the town. Their representative was an enthusiastic Scottish lady who talked visitors through some glossy but fairly non-specific visuals. Their document talks of three alternative visions:
Continue reading “Reading 2050 -The plan for the Tram”
Reading has seen a massive investment in its railway infrastructure in recent years, with the station re-build, extra platforms, the flyover to the west, and the tunnel to the east. The next show in town is the electrification of the Great Western mainline. But closer inspection of the plans shows that Reading’s post-electric commuters could be in for something of a shock.
Continue reading “The electric shock coming down the line for Reading’s commuters”
Last week plans were submitted to the council for the redevelopment of the Madejski Stadium car park. I covered this topic when the idea was unveiled at a public exhibition in November. Now that the formal application has gone in, we can take a closer look at the detail. There will probably be two opposing camps, so I thought I’d present each side of the argument. Continue reading “Royal Elm Park – Two Sides to the Story”
Let’s be honest, the A329(M) is all a bit of a mess. But in Autumn of 2015, its long-running white paint-based tinkering from the Highways Agency was finally completed, and with it the road’s downgrading from ‘Motorway’ to ‘Rush-Hour Car Park with added Peril’. To understand fully how this sorry transformation has unfolded, over many years, we need to look back at the history of this unfortunate motorway. Continue reading “A329(M) – Reading’s broken road, and how to fix it?”
It took all my powers of self restraint not to entitle this post “Reading the future”, but that’s the gist – as 2016 gets underway, what might the year hold in store for the town? If a town could write itself some new year’s resolutions then I’d hope to see the following amongst them.
Continue reading “Looking forward to Reading’s 2016”