11:55AM, Tuesday 26 February 2019
A ‘vision for the future’ encouraging people to favour public transport over cars was approved by Slough Borough Council’s (SBC) cabinet last night (Monday).
SBC has been crafting a new transport-led strategy which could guide redevelopment in the town up to 2040 and beyond.
The Transport Vision includes the development of the Slough Mass Rapid Transit (SMaRT) scheme, which runs between the Slough Trading Estate, the town centre and Langley, into a ‘borough-wide network’ completely segregated from traffic.
Phase two of the scheme would also allow other buses to use the separated lanes and could potentially see a tram-like bus, very light tram or a light rail/tram service coming to town.
SBC cabinet member for transport Cllr Martin Carter (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) said: “I think it’s really important that we understand that this isn’t a small thing. This is about setting a vision for the future — 20, 40 years.
“We have the opportunity to change all modes of transport so that people think that their car is the least friendly way to get about.”
The vision also includes providing ‘high quality walking and cycling routes’ to and from the centre of town with improved streetscaping to make navigation easier.
The strategy seeks to create a ‘low-car zone’ within the town centre where the only motorised vehicles allowed will be public transport vehicles.
Speaking at yesterday’s meeting at Chalvey Community Centre, cabinet member for health and social care Cllr Natasa Pantelic (Lab, Cippenham Meadows) said the strategy is ‘bloody marvelous’ but said residents also had a role to play by changing transport habits.
Cabinet member for environment and leisure Cllr Rob Anderson (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) said: "By 2040 we may already be driving electric cars in Slough and we will all be sitting in very quiet traffic jams. We know we can’t continue down that road.”
A Transport Vision report says excessive parking in the town centre would ‘undermine’ the plan and congest roads.
It says the parking supply in the town centre should be kept at a level which discourages car use and that park and ride sites should be provided further out in the borough.
However, a new multi-storey car park is being planned for land north of the former Thames Valley University site as well as a redevelopment of Herschel car park and the Queensmere Observatory shopping centre car park.
SBC anticipates the overall number of town centre parking spaces to drop from 5,100 to 4,400 following a series of redevelopments.
Cabinet members approved the strategy and agreed to make a ‘positive contribution’ to the Department for Transport’s recently launched consultation on ‘pay-as-you-go’ train fare systems.
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