As hundreds of thousands of people prepare to descend on Reading for the annual rock festival, new advice has been issued to help people get around without getting into a jam.
Town centre traffic will inevitably be very heavy in the run-up to the event – but organisers are hoping that there will be no return to the gridlock that plagued Reading’s roads in the early 2000s.
Reading Festival runs from Friday August 22, to Sunday August 24 and traffic volume is expected to peak from Wednesday, August 20, through to Friday, August 22, and again with the departure on the Bank Holiday, Monday, August 25.
Reading residents who need to get into town during the build-up to the event are being advised to consider their journey carefully. Where possible, taking the bus, cycling and walking may offer quicker journeys.
People who do need to travel are being advised to allow plenty of time for the expected extra demand on the road network.
Tony Page, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Transport, said: “The Festival brings many benefits to Reading but it also places extra pressure on our roads and public transport systems. As always, the Council will work alongside organisers to help minimise delays but we strongly advise people to use public transport if at all possible.”
The majority of visitors to the festival arrive by public transport, especially by rail. Thousands of people will be heading for the site by coach throughout Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Route information will be displayed on variable message signs along major routes into Reading, advising both on local and festival traffic conditions and Xn will do what it can to help keep the information – and traffic – flowing.
Parking restrictions are in place around the Richfield Avenue site and this area should be avoided during the festival period.
Festival car parking
Festival car parking is available at Mapledurham and Kings Meadow (near to Tesco’s east Reading store).
Drop-offs and pick-ups
For 2014, the pick up/drop off will be at Hills Meadow Car Park near Reading Station. This will be the dedicated area for drop off/pick up. From here festival goers can either walk to the site or use free shuttle boats.
For festival visitors parking at Mapledurham, a pedestrian bridge has again been constructed into the site to ensure easy access to the festival. For those parking in Kings Meadow a boat service is provided free of charge to help transport everyone, and their belongings, to the festival.
Traffic management near Festival site
Temporary traffic management will be in operation at the Napier Road/Vastern Road roundabout, close to the Rivermead Leisure Centre and the entrance to the Festival. It is advisable to avoid this area, in addition to the areas immediately around the site, during Bank Holiday Monday.
Night-time closure of Thames Path
A night-time closure of the Thames Path (from 9pm to 6am) will be in operation from Thursday, August 21, to Saturday, August 23, inclusive. The closure will apply between Scours Lane to the far end of Thames Side Promenade. The temporary closure is implemented for security and safety grounds.
Reading Borough Council has again worked with the festival organisers to produce travel information leaflets that have been sent out with tickets with details of bus, rail and park and ride services.
Walking from the station
Following the upgrade of Reading Station, the quickest walking route from the Station to the site will be via the new Northern Interchange. Festival visitors will also have the option of travelling to the site via hackney carriages or a festival shuttle bus that will operate from this new northern exit for those that arrive by train.
Watch out for traffic wardens
To help maintain traffic flow, the Council’s parking enforcement officers (traffic wardens in old money) will be working alongside the police during the weekend to crack down on people who park illegally and cause an obstruction.
Throughout the duration of the festival a temporary taxi rank will be operating in Tessa Road – opposite the Rivermead Leisure Centre next to the Festival site – as a further option when travelling to and from the site.
There will be another taxi rank in Loverock Road (close to Wigmore Lane) once the festival has started midday Friday to Monday.
Pre-book private hire cabs
There will be a third taxi rank at Thames Prom for those exiting the site on Monday only.
Visitors are being reminded that they should pre-book private hire vehicles rather than hail them from the roadside. All licensed vehicles will display a Reading Borough Council plate on the back and all drivers should have an identity badge in full view.
If any resident has concerns, comments or queries relating to this year’s festival, they can call the Council’s hotline number on 0118 938 0405, which is open from 9am to 5pm on Wednesday, August 20, and then 24 hours a day from 9am on Thursday, August 21, until 3pm on Monday, August 25.
Before and after the festival, residents with concerns or queries can call Reading Borough Council on 0118 937 3737.