M32 will need downgrade to A-road for park and ride plan to go ahead
THE M32 will have to be downgraded to an A-road if a long-awaited park and ride is going to happen, insists the leader of South Gloucestershire Council.
The Voice reported last month that Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority had been given £500,000 to develop plans for a park and ride for the north end of the motorway under the Zero Emission Transport City scheme.
Consultants commissioned by Weca are identifying preferred locations, and £48 million has been allocated to the “strategic corridor” as part of the £540m City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement from the Government.
South Glos leader Toby Savage said other local roads could not take more congestion, so could not provide access for drivers – but as park and rides are not allowed directly on motorways, the only way to accommodate one would be to declassify the M32.
Interviewed by the BBC, Cllr Savage said it would be "several years" before a site could be agreed and work completed.
He said: “There are a number of sites, some of which are not available, others that there is a question mark over their availability, so we need to go through that work to understand where it’s most appropriate.
“We’re doing that work with National Highways, who are in charge of the motorway network, Bristol City Council and Weca."
Eastville councillor Marley Bennett said he had "long supported" the idea of downgrading the motorway, reducing the speed and level of traffic, and "unacceptable levels of air and noise pollution that Eastville residents have had to put up with for too long".
He said: "The M32 runs like a scar across East Bristol and when it was built it severed communities from one another.
"I'm pleased we are finally having discussions about how we can mitigate the impact of its construction."
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service