Park-and-ride plan is a step in the right direction

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In no way would we suggest that a church setting up a park-and-ride service will solve Portsmouth’s parking and congestion troubles.

But that doesn’t mean we do not think it is a great idea and one that is worth emulating across the city as we all continually battle a rising tide of queues, tailbacks and delays.

City Life Church in Baffins says that many parishioners find it hard to park on a Sunday – a situation that no doubt frustrates them as much as the residents in whose streets they must leave their cars.

So the church’s pastor Dan Harman has come up with a plan involving Portsmouth College, which will provide two buses and parking spaces, to set up the park and ride.

We’re not talking about huge numbers; the church attracts about 300 people a week, and obviously some of those will live locally and will walk in anyway. Some may have mobility problems and be uncertain about getting in a bus rather than a car, and there may be plenty of other reasons why people choose not to go to the college before a service.

But that’s not the point. The point is that it will have an effect on the area for the better, and it’s an illustration that organisations – and individuals, to a certain extent – can make a difference.

Traffic problems in this city and this country are systemic, and with the population continuing to rise, will only get worse.

There needs to be some firm decisions made by all levels of government over how to tackle them, but that doesn’t mean that on the ground churches, schools, football clubs and other organisations can’t do their bit, even if only in a spirit of good neighbourliness.

We have called before for better cycling provision in Portsmouth, both on-road and off-road cycle lanes as another way of reducing the number of vehicles moving around the city.

That would still be a help, but is not the only way – and we hope that more community park-and-ride schemes can be added to a wide-ranging strategy that keeps us all, as a city and as individuals, moving as best we can.