The Anonymous Widower

Improving Walking Routes To Football Stadia

I’m using football stadia as an example, but it could equally be any other important building, like a hospital or a museum, or any number of sporting venues.

The problem was brilliantly illustrated yesterday at Bournemouth, where I walked the obvious route to Dean Court, that I’d used twice before. But after seeing Bournemouth fans at Pokesdown station turning the other way, I thought there must be a better route. Stewards gave me directions to one, that was the other two sides of a quadrilateral, that was five minutes shorter.

A few signs are all that are needed, with perhaps a few metres of asphalt to make the walking easier.

At Ipswich, you come out of the station and you can see the ground. But there are also maps everywhere for the lost, although for visiting fans there isn’t any indication of where they should go. In this map, away fans go to the bottom right corner of the ground, which is the area of the ground you get to first as you walk up Portman Road.

Ipswich Station And Portman Road

Ipswich Station And Portman Road

Since this map was produced, the biggest improvement has been putting the Sir Bobby Robson Bridge across the river. This provides an important walking route between the south western parts of the town and the centre and the football ground.

Note that in this map, the station is indicated by the red arrow symbol, as they are in all the other maps.

There are a few groups in the Premier League and Championship  that have their own stops or are less than fifteen minutes from a rail, tube, tram or metro stop.

Arsenal – This has three stations at Arsenal, Finsbury Park and Highbury and Islington.

Aston Villa – The stations are Aston and Witton

Chelsea – Take your pick from Fulham Broadway, Imperial Wharf and West Brompton

Crystal Palace – Norwood Junction is five minutes away.

EvertonSandhills station and then the Soccerbus.

Hull City – There is a walking route from Hull station.

Liverpool – Sandhills station and then the Soccerbus.

Manchester City – Take the Metrolink to Etihad Campus.

So could the walking routes to other grounds in the top two divisions, particularly from the nearest rail station, be improved?

Birmingham City

The walking route from Bordesley station isn’t very long or difficult, as this map shows.

Bordesley Station And Birmingham City

Bordesley Station And Birmingham City

But it’s just downright dangerous, as there is no pedestrian route around Bordesley Circus. I wrote about it in this post; A Pedestrian Crossing From Hell.

I have heard from Birmingham City Council, who say that something is being done.

If you look at the map, you’ll see the Camp Hill Line passing at the side of the ground. If Birmingham City are ever successful and need to rebuild the ground, if feasible planning permission should include a station at the new stadium.

It is a long term aspiration of Birmingham City Council to open this line to passenger traffic. The way the tide is turning in favour of rail, I wouldn’t bet against this happening.

Blackburn

Ewood Park is a tricky ground to get to, as you have two stations in the town; Blackburn and Mill Hill.

I usually go to the ground by Blackburn, as I usually change trains for the area in Manchester, so that I can get a meal if I need one.

To get between the station and the ground, I normally use a bus, which isn’t as easy as it could be, as the information is rudimentary.

Mill Hill is nearer to the ground and walk-able, as this map shows.

Mill Hill Station And Ewood Park

Mill Hill Station And Ewood Park

But I think there are two problems with using Mill Hill.

To return to the station would be a walk up the hill.

But the main reason, I would not go to Mill Hill, is that I can’t get a direct train to that station from Manchester. As you have to change trains in Blackburn, I might. just as well get out there and catch a bus.

Cardiff

The preferred route to get to the ground is to take a train to Grangetown station, but Ninian Park station is nearer, but the trains aren’t so good.

Grangetown And Ninian Park Stations, And Cardiff City Stadium

Grangetown And Ninian Park Stations, And Cardiff City Stadium

All this might change when the local lines around Cardiff are electrified, as they seem to be improving stations.

Derby

Derby is an easy walk between Derby station and Pride Park, as the map shows.

Derby Station And Pride Park

Derby Station And Pride Park

I did get lost though, so I think a few more signposts would help, as would another light-controlled crossing on Derwent Parade.

Leicester

I wasn’t sorry when Leicester City got promoted, as the walk to get to the stadium is not a short one.

Leicester Station And Stadia

Leicester Station And Stadia

I think it would be helped with some better signs. I generally take the road opposite the station and aim for Welford Road, I pass the rugby ground and you can see the King Power stadium.

Nottingham

This map shows Nottingham station and the two Nottingham football grounds; Meadow Lane and the City Ground.

Nottingham Station And The Football Grounds

Nottingham Station And The Football Grounds

I have walked between the station and the City Ground probably a dozen times and it’s flat and not a route that has many opportunities to get lost. But as the map shows, you walk alongside a waterway and surely access to this would make the walk more pleasant. It would also help if some improvements could be implemented at both ends of the route.

One thing that I’ve never had explained to me, is why are there no plans to serve the two football grounds and the cricket ground using the Nottingham tram.

Wigan

I’ve always thought that getting from Wigan North Western station to the DW Stadium was very difficult, so I generally take a taxi. I’ve just looked at the map.

Wigan North Western And The DW Stadium

The distance isn’t great but it doesn’t appear to be signposted at all. Note that there is a canal and Wigan Pier, that could be on the route,so it could bring visitors to an area that the council is developing, into the Wigan Pier Quarter.

November 23, 2014 - Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , ,

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