Colchester is the first UK location to launch a Park Active pilot scheme, a new active travel scheme created by the British Parking Association (BPA), which supports the environment and encourages active travel to build healthier communities.
Park Active enables motorists to drive to and leave their vehicle at a car park location outside of a town centre and complete the remainder of their journey on foot or by bicycle. In Colchester, motorists will pay a discounted parking rate for doing so.
The new scheme aims to help reduce congestion and improve air quality; encourage more active travel options such as cycling and walking; free up central parking for short stay shoppers and blue badge holders, and encourage people to use outer town centre car parks which are cheaper and more accessible.
Colchester is just one of ten UK locations set to pilot the scheme, which is supported by the Department for Transport. The Park Active car park locations in Colchester include Butt Road, Napier Road North, and Napier Road South car parks. The pilot will run for an initial six-month period and will be kept under review during that time.
Motorists wishing to reap the rewards of this exciting new active travel scheme, will need to have signed up to the contactless parking payment system, MiPermit and the free Park Active permit scheme within it. Once signed up, users can park at any of the three pilot locations in Colchester and receive a discounted parking fee of just £0.50 per hour, for up to 4 hours, Monday to Saturday (6am to 6pm) when they complete the remainder of their journey on foot or by bike.
The new scheme also supports the council’s new parking strategy, which aims to deliver improved and smarter parking services and support the council’s Climate Emergency Declaration.
For further information and to sign-up to Colchester’s Park Active pilot scheme, please visit www.colchester.gov.uk/parkactive.
Richard Walker, the North Essex Parking Partnership’s Group Manager, said: “The Park Active pilot is a really exciting scheme for Colchester and a first for the UK!
“Not only does the scheme support Colchester Borough Council’s climate emergency declaration by reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality, but it also encourages healthier active travel, such as walking and cycling and rewards those that use the scheme, with reduced parking costs.
“We know that interest and uptake of walking and cycling has increased over the past year and for those who are keen to keep that up as restrictions ease, this scheme is a great way to do that.”
Kelvin Reynolds, British Parking Association’s Director of Corporate and Public Affairs, said: “We are delighted that Colchester Borough Council is leading the way in making Park Active a reality. Effective parking management is at the heart of enabling many active travel sites. Park Active really is worth having a look at, it is a fantastic idea and should be a vital part of everyone’s future transport plans.
“The BPA wants to mobilise the entire parking community behind Park Active to help encourage more people to park, walk, and cycle, building healthier and more sustainable communities for all.”
The pilot also supports the national Positive Parking Agenda, which Colchester Borough Council is a founding member of, and includes improving traffic congestion and air quality, amongst its priorities.
The Park Active pilot scheme is being managed and operated by the North Essex Parking Partnership who manage Colchester Borough Council’s off-street parking.
The Colchester Park and Ride site, managed by Essex County Council also offers a Park and Pedal service which supports the principles of the Park Active scheme.