Bristol park-and-ride sites beefed up for Cabot Circus traffic
The capacity of the Portway park-and-ride site has been tripled in a bid to improve access to Cabot Circus in Bristol city centre.
From today there is room for 830 cars at the site, which sits just off Junction 18 of the M5 at Avonmouth.
Owners Bristol City Council hope it will be a key to easing the expected congestion in the city centre when the new shopping centre opens on Thursday.
They have worked with the Highways Agency to direct motorway traffic from the M4 and M5 towards the site, rather than sending motorists down the M32.
From there, the city council hopes shoppers will use buses to ride along an extended A4 bus lane with buses running every eight minutes into the city during rush hours and every 15 minutes off-peak.
Before today there were 278 spaces at the Portway site – now there are an extra 295 with a further 275 spaces as overspill.
Despite the failure to create a permanent park-and-ride site at the top of the M32 near Frenchay or Hambrook, the improvements bring the total spaces in the city to more than 3,500.
This is on top of the 2,600 spaces in the new car park at the edge of Cabot Circus and the 1,200 spaces at the temporary park-and-ride site at UWE, which operates at weekends and during the Christmas period only. Although the park-and-ride sites are only open from Monday to Saturday, the city council was keen to emphasise that many more parking spaces are available in the city centre itself on Sundays.
Mark Bradshaw, the city councillor in charge of transport, said: “Cabot Circus is set to become the number one shopping destination for the entire region.
“It means more Bristol jobs for Bristol people and increased trade for Bristol businesses in and beyond Cabot Circus.
“In partnership with the Highways Agency, we have been working hard to ensure that motorists from outside Bristol have quick, easy and comfortable access to the city centre.
“Bristol’s three permanent park and rides are well-signed from the motorway.
“Crucially, we have also extended the opening hours at the park and rides to reflect the extended opening hours at Cabot Circus.
“We expect this to have a positive impact as city centre employees will have the opportunity to shop after work and avoid the weekend rush.”