Pavement parking

Pavement: for pedestrians. That’s whom they are intended for.

Yet only too often, pedestrians can’t walk on the pavement safely because it’s blocked by parked cars. Not only does that mean people have to squeeze past cars and risk the doors opening in front of them, or walk in the road, but the cars are too heavy for the pavement, meaning they break and crack.

Parked vehicles on the pavement is a pain for all pedestrians, but most of all for anyone with a disability. For folk in wheelchairs because wheelchairs need the pavement width, and for blind and visually impaired people because they can’t see a car on the pavement and it is perilous for them to walk in the road. Young children in prams and pushchairs are also at risk when their parents have to push them in the road because the pavement is blocked.

Dorset MP Simon Hoare tabled a Private Members’ Bill in the House of Commons to ban pavement parking in 2015 but was persuaded to withdraw it when the Government promised to review the law and look at the options for changing it.

The review has been a long time coming but this week the Government’s Transport Committee has launched an inquiry. They are calling for evidence in three areas:

  • the impact of pavement parking;
  • the enforcement of pavement parking offences; and 
  • enforcement and, if necessary, reform of traffic regulation orders need to deal with pavement parking.

The closing date to submit written evidence is 14 May 2019.

You can comment on line at https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/pavement-parking-17-19/.

Alternatively, I shall be sending in a representation myself on behalf of the many emails and phone calls I have received about pavement parking and how it affects them.

government inquiry

New residents’ parking scheme for Coleridge West

A new residents’ parking scheme was approved this evening for a residents’ parking zone to be named ‘Coleridge West’, between Mill Road, Coleridge Road and Cambridge Leisure. It will operate Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm. Hours have been amended following comments from residents and the bowling club.

Residents in ‘Coleridge East’ (Lichfield – Perne Road) and other areas of Cambridge will be surveyed next year. I am keen to hear from you whether residents’ parking is something you want or not, to help schedule consultations. Take my three-question survey at http://bit.ly/rps-views.

Residents on the evensside of Cherry Hinton Road area already in the Morley scheme which began last year. If you live there, you can take part in a review at bit.ly/rsp_morley2. Thank you to everyone who has already responded.

Residents’ Parking: How is it for you?

Cambridgeshire County Council is consulting throughout the city on residents’ parking, and most Queen Edith’s should be consulted in the next year. Demand in some streets is very high and the established schemes are popular, but we recognize that it’s not the right solution for everywhere.

The city has been notionally divided up into 26 zones, each named after a street or landmark in the area: for example, in Queen Edith’s, we have Morley, Coleridge West, Coleridge East, Nightingale, Glebe, Perse, Wulfstan and Walpole.

The Morley scheme is in place, Coleridge West is to be decided on in July, and a consultation for Coleridge East will start this autumn. The other consultations for this area are scheduled for spring 2018.

It would be helpful to have an idea before that of whether or not there is a strong demand. Please let me know if you’re broadly in favour or not, by taking part in my preliminary survey. There are just three questions, so it shouldn’t take long.

If you live in the ‘Morley’ residents’ parking zone (between Hills Road, Cherry Hinton Road and Blinco Grove), I have a different survey for you, as I am running a review of the Morley scheme now that it’s been in place for six months. There are questions on how it’s working, as well as one on short-stay spaces. Please give me your feedback on how things are going.

Let me know if you’d prefer a paper version of either survey.

Cambridge Residents’ Parking: Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: What are the costs of residents’ parking in Cambridge?
A: Residents’ parking schemes are self-funding, ie they are costed to pay for themselves. At present, participating in a residents’ parking scheme starts at just over £1 a week per permit. There are discounts for less polluting vehicles. Each household can buy up to three permits.

Schemes that include weekends and/ or evenings are more expensive than ones running 9-5 Monday to Friday or less.  There is usually a joining fee to cover set-up costs but the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership is currently funding these.

Q: What about visitors?
A: Residents may purchase up to 20 visitor permits a year, which allow visitors to park for up to 5 days at a cost of £2.40 a day or part of a day. Anyone living in the area of a scheme can apply for visitor permits for their guests. You do not have to have a residents’ parking permit to have a visitors’ permit.

Businesses can apply for permits.

Blue badge holders are entitled to one free annual visitor’s permit.

Q: What happens if I have carers or medical visitors who need to park?
A: There is a free medical permit scheme for people who need visits from relatives or health professionals. Your doctor will need to assess your infirmity or lack of mobility and provide an estimate of the number and frequency of official visits required. There are dispensations for medical professionals who attend emergencies or who carry special equipment.

Q: What happens if I have people working on my house who need to park?
A: Tradespeople are able to purchase one or two permits for the area in which they are working.

Q: What about shops/ schools/ churches?
A: It is possible to include short-stay bays for community facilities as part of a scheme. They should be incorporated at the time the scheme is developed.

Q: Does a residents’ parking scheme guarantee a space?
A: It does not guarantee a space, but it gives residents a better chance of getting a space.

Q: Do you have to join if there’s a scheme in your street?

A: Only if you want to park in one of the on-street residents’ bays. If you have your own private parking, say on a drive, you need not purchase a residents’ permit.

Q: To whom should I report illegal parking?
A: Ring the County Council’s Civil Enforcement team on 01223 727 900. For dangerous parking, eg obstruction, parking on school zig-zags, or in bus lanes and cycle lanes, contact the police on 101.

Q: I am in a car club. Surely I would not have to pay £50+ a year when I only park in the street occasionally?

A: Residents who occasionally use car club vehicles can purchase visitor’s permits, or use the Pay & Display or short-stay bays if they are close enough to be convenient. Some schemes include spaces specifically for car club vehicles.

See the County Council website for more information including application forms for permits,  and the residents’ parking policy.

Local Highways Improvements

Cambridgeshire County Council Local Highways Improvement programme funds improvements to roads and pavements, such as traffic calming, parking restrictions, speed limit changes and footway and pedestrian crossing improvements costing up to £10,000. It is a competitive process and councillors have to assess bids for Queen Edith’s with bids across the city, but we have been succesful over the past few years, for example parking restrictions have been introduced in Strangeways Road, Netherhall Way, Glebe and Holbrook Roads. See my rolling update on the parking restriction schemes.

It is not a speedy process: the bids are assessed early 2019 and officers don’t start work on the successful ones until the spring. What with consultation on the detail and the legal procedures associated with Traffic Regulation Orders, the whole thing takes about 18 months from the date the bid goes in to completion of scheme, sometimes longer.

The County’s ‘Improve Your Local Highway’ web pages provide full information on the Local Highway Improvement (LHI) Initiative and the online application form. The closing date for applications is July 2018, following which you will be contacted by the Council to look at the feasibility of your application in more detail. Your final application will then be presented to the LHI Member Advisory Panel in the New Year.

If you have an idea for a bid and would like to talk about it, please contact me, George, Jennifer or Colin.

What’s all this about residents’ parking?

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Residents’ parking could be coming to your street soon, or at any rate, a consultation about it. The County Council has embarked on a programme of parking consultations covering most of the city. Up till now, residents’ parking schemes have been developed after evidence of demand, as with the Morley scheme in this area; but following an offer by the Greater Cambridge Partnership to fund the set-up costs of new schemes, the Council is putting the idea to residents regardless of whether any interest has been shown.

The Council has divided the city into 26 zones and is consulting residents in phases, presenting them with parking scheme proposals. They started with the areas where there has been strongest demand: so far, consultations have been run in the Staffordshire, Newnham, Accordia and west Coleridge zones. They have all resulted in majorities for residents’ parking schemes, although with a very low turnout in the Coleridge west area. The Victoria, Elizabeth and Coleridge East zones are coming next, and consultations for Queen Edith’s are likely to be in spring 2019.

Citywide map of RP zones 2017

If the consultations in each area result in over 50% of responses being in favour of the proposed scheme, then they will go ahead; if not, then they will not be progressed. Labour councillors wanted to implement the schemes even without majority votes, but Lib Dems have insisted that there must be majority support.

Residents’ parking schemes restrict parking during set hours to people with permits: residents and their guests, plus traders and carers. Permits cost between £1 and £2 a week depending on the hours of the scheme and all permit types are going up in price in April, to reflect rises in the costs of managing the schemes.

Visitors’ permits are currently £8 for five days but will be going up to £12 in April. (The Conservatives were going to put them up to £15 but were persuaded to set a less steep rise following pressure from the Liberal Democrats and residents.)

See here for our frequently asked questions on residents’ parking, with links to the County Council’s web pages on the topic.

Park and Ride Victory

Parking charges at the Babraham Road and other Park and Ride sites will END on 1st April. After four years in which usage of the Park & Ride sites has slumped, County Council Conservatives have at last admitted the daily charge was a mistake.

When the Tories proposed the charges, I opposed them, knowing that drivers would just park elsewhere. Unfortunately, that “somewhere else has been outside our houses. In Queen Edith’s, we have been suffering from the extra parking for four years, so I am pleased the charges are at last being scrapped.

Yellow lines update

Amanda and fencing

New knee-length ‘diamond’ fencing

The yellow lines in Cavendish Avenue and Baldock Way and the disabled parking bay on Baldock Way were painted in the autumn.  Low-level fencing for the verges in the middle section of Baldock Way is also now in place.

Yellow lines in Gunhild Close and Fendon Close have now been painted.

Slim majority for new residents’ parking scheme in Coleridge

map of Coleridge West

Coleridge West residents’ parking zone

Residents in the west Coleridge area have given their backing to a new residents’ parking scheme covering the area between Cherry Hinton Road, Mill Road and Coleridge Road.

The County Council ran a consultation there at the end of last year, as well as in the Accordia estate off Brooklands Avenue, in the Staffordshire Street area near the Grafton Centre, and Newnham.

Just over half of the Coleridge West residents who took part in the survey supported the council’s proposed scheme. The Council will be looking at all the feedback received from the surveys and the public exhibition and considering it before it creates the final plans, which will be advertised in the local paper as part of a statutory consultation.

Councillors on the Cambridge City Joint Area Committee will review all comments and objections received during the statutory consultation and they will decide on whether to implement the schemes.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive Board will fund the implementation costs associated with all four new schemes, meaning participants only need to pay for residents’ permits and visitors’ permits.

Breakdowns of the four consultations and answers to the frequently asked questions about Resident Parking Schemes will be available at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/resident-parking-scheme-consultation/.

Council relents on visitor parking permit rise

I’m pleased to report that the County Council Highways Committee did not vote through the very steep price rise for visitor permits in residents’ parking schemes today. Instead, they asked the officers to look again at the charging structure, particularly ways in which the charges could remain affordable by people depending on family visits.  Here is the Council’s decision notice, and here is the Cambridge News report of the meeting. http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/parking-permit-charge-fee-increase-13901885

We were pleased that most of our fellow councillors on the committee (Conservatives + I Independent, but not Labour) understood where we were coming from and some had constructive ideas such as cheaper, part-day permits for short visits, and exemptions. I very much hope that we will see more acceptable proposals when we consider this again next January.

Thank you to everyone who wrote to councillors on this issue.