Hills Road parking progress

COMMUTER PARKING in Hills Road near the colleges is just as bad as ever, especially acute when it’s raining cats and dogs like it was yesterday – as fair-weather cyclists/pedestrians / bus users) take to their cars. But take courage: work on parking restrictions has been going on behind the scenes. Here is an update.

Following my survey to gauge support for parking controls and the meeting at St John’s Church, a small parking group has launched to co-ordinate ideas and concerns. This is really helpful for the council officers working on the project and for councillors as it means means information can be shared easily.

Steve, a long-term resident and member of the group, accompanied me to a meeting at Shire Hall yesterday with the County Council’s Parking Manager. We looked at preliminary drawings for a residents’ parking scheme.

The parking restrictions will include a mixture of yellow lines, residents’ bays, and short-stay bays for visitors to the shops, churches and libraries. Existing H-markings (white lines marking private drives) would stay. The area that the Council proposes for the scheme is from Elsworth Place to Blinco Grove and the sections of Hills Road and Cherry Hinton Road that run between them.

One of the challenges for a parking scheme is that Marshall Road is very narrow. At present cars park on the pavement and people walk in the road, which is clearly harzardous, especially for children and people with disabilities. New national legislation to ban pavement parking is anticipated, so the County Council will not introduce any new parking schemes that allow it. So the proposals for Marshall Road would have a narrower carriageway and staggered double yellow lines. This will mean fewer spaces overall – however, if the law changes, the parking spaces will be reduced whether or not there is a residents’ parking scheme.

We also discussed charges for residents’ and visitors’ permits. At present the residents’ charges range from £52 to £84, but they are under review.. There are details of current schemes and what they cost at http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/info/20018/parking_permits_and_fines/9/parking/2. Of course, if you have your own drive, or have no car and do not need a resident’s pass, there is no need to pay anything.

The Council hopes to ballot residents on a residents’ parking scheme within the next month. There will be one vote per property and three options: Yes, No and No opinion. If Yes gets a majority, then the Council will carry out statutory consultation on Traffic Regulation Orders (adverts in the paper and on the street), with any objections being determined by the Cambridge Joint Area Committee (CJAC) in the autumn.

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