Controlled Parking Zones and Permit Parking Schemes
Many London Boroughs
suffer from the inadequate provision of off-street parking facilities.
This results in heavy usage of "on-street" parking, which can be an
eyesore, can also create safety problems and leads to complaints from
local residents that they cannot park outside their own houses,
particularly where there are terraced houses with no off-street parking.
With typically 2 adults in many households, just local residents can
overfill the on-street parking and if the street is anywhere near a
transport interchange (such as a railway station), or near shopping
facilities, the demand on the parking spaces can exceed the supply.
In recent years
several schemes have been devised to tackle these problems, particularly
the demand by local residents for "reserved" spaces, which are known
generically as Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs). There are three common
a - The
introduction of parking meters or "pay and display" systems that limit
the maximum number of hours or minutes that you can park, thus deterring
long term commuter parking.
- Simple time limits on how long you can park, or the "blocking out" of
certain hours (eg. 11.00 to 12.00 am) to deter all day parking.
Sometimes these are combined with a "permit parking" scheme so that only
permit holders can park in the "blocked" hours.
- A Permit Parking scheme where most of the space is reserved for local
residents who have appropriate "permits" which they display. These
permits typically have to be paid for (at least so that the
administrative costs are recovered but the amount of the fee can also be
varied so as to reduce "excessive" demand for permits from local
residents). It is also usually possible for residents to buy "tickets"
for their visitors which can be used by tradesmen or other people who
need to visit them during the day.
these schemes allow anyone to park for free at certain times, but
require non-permit holders to "pay and display" at other times as in the
example on the right. They can get very complex to understand!
Do these schemes
solve all the problems? Typically no - all they do is reserve the
limited spaces available for a certain section of the population,
instead of it being taken on a first come, first served basis. The ABD
objects to these schemes, particularly Permit Parking Schemes, on the
Parking Zones and Permit Parking Schemes are often an attempt to reserve
local parking spaces for residents, when they have no particular rights
to such space. There is no moral or legal reason why residents should
have priority for parking in roads which are public property. Typically
the general public have paid via taxes for the provision of these roads,
and they certainly pay for all their maintenance costs, and therefore it
seems unreasonable and unfair that a small section of the public should
be able to reserve particular road space for their exclusive use.
2. Although, we
recognize that residents may have particular difficulty in these areas
when they do not have any off street parking (for example because there
are terraced houses), most of the residents were fully aware of this
situation before they moved into the properties (these problems have
been present in Bromley for very many years, while the average residence
time for a house in the UK is less than 10 years).
3. These schemes
are promoted on the fact that they will resolve parking problems for
residents when often they do not (there is no guarantee of sufficient
spaces for residents, particularly now that households often own
multiple cars). They also mean that residents end up paying for use of
spaces which were free before, at considerable cost.
4. They certainly
inconvenience non-residents who now may find it impossible to find a
parking space within a reasonable distance. This does not just cause a
problem for commuters parking near stations. It can also cause
difficulties for people making short visits to local facilities such as
shops, or simply visiting friends or making business visits (although
some schemes only have certain hours blocked out these vary from
location to location so unless one knows the area very well it can be
difficult to avoid). Unfortunately the spread of such schemes is often
motivated by the same “anti-car” mentality that is exhibited in
government and Greater London Authority transport policies in recent
years, namely that any measures that make use of private cars more
difficult are a “good thing” and are seen as meritorious.
In many cases, Permit Parking Schemes result in the under utilisation of
available parking spaces. The picture on the right shows this effect in
Upper Park Road, Bromley where the permit controlled spaces are not
occupied by permit holders during the day, but nobody else is allowed to
use this space.
6. These schemes
have a considerable administrative overhead. In fact the only real
financial beneficiaries of the schemes are council staff who are
employed to administer them. Typically the employment of people to
design, implement, operate and enforce these schemes is a totally
unproductive task which simply ends up being a general tax on the
residents of Bromley.
7. In the case of
areas where commuter parking is a problem, these schemes do not solve
the problem - they simply move it a few streets away or to another
station area altogether. In the extreme case, they deter people from
using rail transport with the end result that people drive all the way,
which is surely not a sensible thing to encourage.
8. Permit parking
schemes are often sold to residents on the premise that only
administrative costs are covered and no profit generated from them, but
this is not true. See for example the figures reported for the London
Bromley on this page:
In summary, it
would in our view be much better if the time, effort and expense put
into these schemes be used to develop appropriate off-street parking to
meet the reasonable demands of all existing parking users.
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