A prominent Canterbury academic is urging the city council to create an “integrated transport hub” when it redevelops Station Road West.
Prof Rick Norman says there will be a crucial opportunity to build the hub when the authority is constructing its new multi-storey car park to serve Canterbury West.
The the three-level car park has been granted planning permission, but has provoked opposition. Critics have complained that it will encourage driving when the council is supposed to be reducing pollution and congestion in central Canterbury.
Prof Norman, a former University of Kent lecturer, told a meeting of Canterbury councillors this week: “I’m not going to talk about the multi-storey car park.
“Councillors will be aware that any increase in parking should be part of a package that seeks to enhance access by bus, cycling or walking so that railway stations can become integrated transport hubs
“The current planned redevelopment of Station Road West is a once and for all opportunity to implement that policy and put in place an integrated transport hub.
“This is a crucial opportunity that won’t come along again and I’m very worried that the opportunity will be lost.
“Now that Canterbury West is becoming a major access point to the city, it needs to be linked up to other forms of sustainable transport.”
Preparatory work is already underway ahead of the construction of the car park.
It is being built to meet the needs of commuters using Canterbury West, many of whom take the high-speed train to London.
The council also says the additional 370 spaces it is creating will help reduce the amount of time drivers spend looking for parking places.