Reaching the beach avoiding traffic and congestion with free parking area and free bus
Marina di Ravenna and Punta Marina, the most known seaside centers of Ravenna, attract some thousand of visitors every weekend. The impact – seasonal and concentrated in a couple of day every week – is so strong that the main road, parallel to the coastline, is usually blocked by cars. Traffic, congestion and pollution make dangerous reaching the beach resorts especially for pedestrians and bikes.
The introduction of parking fees during the weekend did not reduce congestion in the area.
In 2007 the Municipality decided to test a solution consisting of a free – and green - parking area connected with free buses (every 12 minutes) going back and forth beach resorts. The bus service is active in the same time slot when users have to pay to park their cars along the main road.
The parking area, located at the walkable distance of 1 km from the coastline, can host more than 800 cars and can be expanded in case of special events; a free floating bike rent service is available.
This measure - tested and improved every year since 2007 - will be part of the policy to increase the PT in the SUMP.
The service has made possible to reduce public space dedicated to parking slots in the main road, allowing the realization of the final part of a bike path that, passing through the free parking area, reach Ravenna city center.
Tourists, residents, commercial activities and the local transport agency are stakeholders and beneficiaries.
2 lines of free buses connect the parking area to the two main centers, serving 80 beach resorts and other facilities every 12 minutes.
The Municipality, owner of the parking area, covers – also with the contribution of the parking fees along the coastline - all the costs, about 280.000€ in 2018
Evidence of success
A prudential evaluation estimates about 4800 vehicles each weekend (about 1 full up on Friday, 3 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday – the area is used by different targets – so 800*6 full ups). The weekends involved are 20, so 96.000 cars.
Considering 2 people per car, the total is about 192.000 tourists.
It is a prudential estimation because special events like “Pink Night” (about 1,5 million of people in 110 km of coast line), Mid-August festivities and air shows events are not considered.
Providing an high frequency and freeservice is expensive and PT is still not appealing for part of the population.
To convince people using the free parking area it would be important reduce the waiting time, even providing means of transport like bike and cargo e-bike for families.
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice can be transferred in city with a regular, extremely concentrated touristic flows.
The solution can be split in 2 separate, and self-consistent, actions:
• the introduction of parking toll – with very tight controls – close to beach resorts and provide a free parking area, located at a walking distance from the final destination
• the introduction of a free bus service from the free parking area to the destination in the same time slot when the parking users have to pay to park their cars .
According to the local specific situation, it is possible to foresee a collaboration between the Municipality and the trade associations of commercial activities that benefit from the service, with the introduction of a private contribution.
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