12 May 2009>
A £6million project to provide hundreds of new Park and Ride spaces along a busy South East Wales rail routes has been given the go-ahead today.
The Deputy First Minister and Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ieuan Wyn Jones, said it would allow more people to swap their car for the train and reduce congestion.
"I'm delighted to announce the go-ahead for this important scheme, which will not only help reduce road congestion but continue the economic regeneration of the upper valleys," he said.
"Park and Ride schemes are vital to fulfilling our One Wales goal of delivering a system of sustainable transport fit for a 21st century Wales, and deliver on our plans for a drastic cut in carbon emissions."
European Regional Development Fund funding of £2.8million was confirmed today to match the Welsh Assembly Government's £3.2million grant to Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Councils to create 365 new Park and Ride spaces along the busy Rhymney Valley and Taff Vale lines.
New facilities will be built at Abercynon and Bargoed stations with extensions made to facilities at Rhymney and Pengam. They are due to be completed by 2011/12.
The scheme will be co-ordinated by Sewta (South East Wales Transport Alliance) who, in conjunction with Caerphilly County Borough Council secured the funding, will capitalise on the recent and proposed increased capacity and frequency of trains on the Rhymney and Taff Vale lines.
Mr Jones said that in addition to the environmental benefits the scheme will offer better access to jobs, education and training opportunities in Cardiff and beyond.
"Together with our recent investment to deliver a half-hourly Merthyr to Cardiff train service this investment is another example of our plans to improve the transport infrastructure in this area. These developments demonstrate our commitment to the continuing economic regeneration of the South Wales Valleys."
The Chair of Sewta Councillor Jeffrey James of the Vale of Glamorgan said, "These schemes reflect the value of close collaboration between Sewta, the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) and the Welsh Assembly Government. Park and Ride provision at rail stations is an important way of encouraging greater use of rail services. These important new facilities on the Rhymney Valley and Taff Vale lines will significantly increase access to the rail network and encourage Valleys' car users to change to rail for a significant part of their journey removing traffic from the busy routes into Pontypridd, Caerphilly and Cardiff."
Cllr Rob Gough, CCBC cabinet member for transportation and planning, said, "We are delighted that the Caerphilly county borough will benefit from three major schemes within this area. Bargoed, Pengam and Rhymney will soon gain much needed park and ride facilities that will provide a major boost to the transport network in the county borough. We are keen to get more people out of their cars and onto public transport and this announcement demonstrates that successful partnership working is helping us achieve this goal."
Details of the Park and Ride Schemes announced today are:
Abercynon Park and Ride
The new Park and Ride will provide 150 parking spaces on derelict land to the east of the station. The facility will be accessed from the east via a new river bridge, which will provide a direct link to Navigation Business Park and the surrounding catchment areas. There is currently no Park and Ride facility at Abercynon and yet the location of the station on the strategic highway network provides an excellent opportunity to encourage those commuting by car to switch to rail for their journey to work.
Bargoed Park and Ride
The scheme will provide 90 Park and Ride spaces, safe walking routes to the adjacent bus and rail stations, along with additional street lighting and CCTV. It will be located in the northern part of Bargoed with access to the facility off the new roundabout on the eastern side of the A469. Demand for Park and Ride in Bargoed has increased following the introduction of Arriva Wales' Standard Pattern Timetable in December 2005, which increased the frequency of services from Bargoed to Cardiff from two to four trains per hour. The ongoing Greater Bargoed Community Regeneration scheme has provided the opportunity to build a new Park and Ride facility.
Pengam Park and Ride Extension
An extension to the Park and Ride facility at Pengam will respond to evidence of excess demand with cars currently parking on the station access road and nearby residential streets. The scheme will extend the Park and Ride facility at Pengam using derelict land adjacent to the existing Park and Ride. The extension will increase the number of spaces from 60 (made up of 34 formal and approximately 26 informal spaces) to 160 spaces. The scheme includes improvements to the existing pedestrian facilities, street lighting and CCTV provision.
Rhymney Park and Ride Extension
The project will extend the Park and Ride facility at Rhymney station by utilising derelict land adjacent to the existing Park and Ride. The scheme doubles the size of the existing facility, by increasing the number of spaces from 25 to 50. The proposed Park and Ride facility will support the wider regeneration of Rhymney by providing modern transport facilities for those living in the Heads of the Valleys area and by improving connections to the wider region.
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