10:00 on a weekday morning and the MOD Abbey Wood car parks are full. Really full not as in "I can create a space at the end of a row" but full as in "site security have blocked the entrance and are standing outside, possibly armed."
The non-motoring options to getting to the site are pretty limited
- firstbus buses
- U1-U5 to UWE and then a walk
- Train to parkway and then a walk
- Train to abbey wood and then a walk
- Cycle along segregated paths
These might seem a lot, but they all involve effort, and they don't substitute for the presence of the A4174 ring road, the A38, which is dualled from the M4/M5 interchange all the way down to the ring road, and the M32 a short distance away. S Gloucs commuting is optimised for cars. Except the haven't provided enough parking, not since the MOD expanded their staff here from January 2010.
Fortunately, there is a bit of space round the corner. Up until December, this was an empty dual lane road leading to the ill-fated "tailspin housing estate", housing for the 21st century, and what's left of HP. Now it has found a new use. Overflow MOD parking.
For those people cycling to HP, this is beneficial as it turns the slow lane into a bike-only lane. Well, until the end of course when the cars turning left are now in the lane to your right.
For people trying to use the bike paths between abbey wood and UWE, not quite so good. The kerb dropoff they used to use is an invaluable parking space that saves the first person to grab it five minutes of walking. It is a premium location, and not double yellowed or anything to imply its use for parking is somehow forbidden.
We are disappointed, therefore, to hear news that the S Gloucs. Parking Team/MOD police were on this road the very day these photos were taken, ticketing this Saab S904SLK and vehicles further up the hill, the ones parked on the roundabout. Do the parking officers not realise that once these commuters have driven into the area, there is nowhere else for them to go! They had no choice but to park here! They would have liked to use the MOD Abbey Wood Car Park B, but the traffic cones and enforcement staff forced them up this back road, adding time to the journey and now the risk of being ticketed. This is persecution of commuters in the cars-come-first part of the city.