Redeveloped area will provide improved access for all with upgraded station access, a large open square, new taxi rank and more bicycle racks.
Workers from local businesses and local residents alike have welcomed the official opening of the public realm forecourt area which serves as the main entrance to Reading Railway Station.
Following over a year of works at the stations southern interchange the transformed area opened last week.
The £13.2 million project undertaken by Reading Borough Council has seen the redevelopment of a large open square, a new taxi rank, a broad stairway and improved access with ramps to a newly lowered area. The north interchange, opened earlier in the year, will also be more accessible now via an underpass. The work also makes way now for the demolition of derelict shops and offices units on Station Hill in a continued improvement programme for the area.
Reading’s lead councillor for transport, Tony Page said; “The completion of the southern interchange brings to an end the council’s transformation of both entrances to Reading station and sits alongside Network Rail’s projects to rebuild the station and the rail lines around Reading.”
Since July 2013 Station Hill has been off-limits to pedestrians while works to lower the surface of the area outside the station has been taking place, together with the overall remodelling of the area.
A new ‘pick up’ and ‘drop off’ point for private cars, increased pedestrian space and 18 taxi spaces have been incorporated into the new space. Ongoing works will include the planting of 29 new trees along the northern and southern interchanges, also the installation of new lighting, signage, seating areas and refuse points.
In addition there will be a new docking station for 19 ReadyBikes just outside the station entrance with an additional racks providing 40 extra spaces for privately-owned bicycles.
Cllr Page added: “Rail passengers who regularly use the main entrance to Reading station will have seen works progressing over the last few months and I’d like to thank them for their patience while the improvements were put in place.
“As more and more passengers become accustomed and use the new facilities, I hope they will agree it is a huge improvement on what was there before.
“Many thousands of people use public transport in Reading every day and the improvements being delivered by the council and Network Rail have created a station environment befitting of Reading.
“The completion of the southern interchange allows demolition work to begin at Station Hill for the wider regeneration of the area, including the refurbishment work to Thames Tower.”