Leuchars a key venue in public transport scheme
Leuchars a key venue in public transport scheme. Hundreds of new parking spaces are likely to be created in north east Fife in a bid to encourage commuters to make more use of public transport. The board of the transport partnership SEStran has approved a report recommending the development of a new park-and-ride site to the south of the Tay bridge for Dundee-bound commuters and further car parking provision at Leuchars station for those heading to Edinburgh.
The park-and-ride facility, which would cost £2.8 million, would eventually provide up to 500 spaces, while an estimated £635,000 woud be spent on creating 100 new spaces at Leuchars, where the car park is currently operating.
Said Councillor Russell Imrie, chair of SEStran: "It is important that we think ahead if we are to persuade travellers to use public transport as their mode of choice.
"Although there is relatively little congestion on the Tay Road Bridge at present, the imminent redevelopment of Dundee waterfront is likely to mean a significant increase in traffic.
"By anticipating demand now, we can avoid congestion problems in the future that could affect Dundee's economic development.
"The pressing need for additional parking facilities at Leuchars is a simple question of supply and demand.
"The recent doubling of rail services to Edinburgh means far more people now have the option of using public transport to get into the capital.
"If we want to encourage people to continue to leave their cars and use rail, we have to provide them with the necessary facilities.
"The extent of the take-up of rail services at Leuchars is an encouraging sign that people will use public transport as their mode of choice, given the option."
Now talks will take place between SEStran and other bodies to decide how the projects will be funded.
Local MSP Iain Smith has welcomed the increased park-and-ride opportunity but warned care had to be taken to avoid increasing car use as a consequence.
He said: "The Tay Bridgehead park-and-ride will be a bonus to my constituents, enabling them to shorten considerably their car journeys before being bussed straight over to the heart of Dundee.
"The increased car provision at Leuchars Station recognises the growing use of the railways by residents in St Andrews and the surrounding area, and it also has the potential to make a positive contribution to the environment, if drivers heading to Edinburgh and other points south now curtail their car journeys at Leuchars.
"However I hope SEStran has done its homework and is certain the increased car-parking at Leuchars will not encourage drivers to forsake the bus or 'virtual branch line', for the car.
"If that were to happen, far from making a positive contribution, it would be an environmental own goal."
Source: Fife Herald, Friday, April 17, 2009