On the 14th March the Cambridge City Joint Area Committee (CJAC), composed of county and city Labour and Lib Dem councillors, approved the County Council’s Parking Plan for this area. This is the final stage of the process before implementation. At present the timetable is not fixed, but installation is expected within the next few months.
I want to thank everyone for their input into this difficult exercise. There is no perfect solution, but the plan drawn up by the council’s Parking Policy Manager should improve the parking situation for most residents. The council survey conducted in November last year showed 59% in favour, with 35% against. This favourable vote followed a similar result in the informal survey I ran about a year earlier.
I know many of you opposed the plan for a variety of reasons. All objections and suggestions were put before the CJAC in summary form, with commentary. One common issue raised was the question of whether there had been sufficient consultation. You may find it helpful to see this summary of the information and consultation process that has taken place over the last 18 months:
- November 2015 An unofficial survey by me, to local residents. This showed strong support for residents’ parking in principle (62% For, 30% Against)
- February 2016 Information meeting at St John’s Church. It was chaired by me, with the Cambridge Parking Policy Manager present. It had a good mixture of people for and against a residents’ parking scheme
- November 2016 The formal council parking plan was delivered to every household in the area, with an invitation to express support or opposition.
- The parking plan, with information about how residents’ parking works, was on display at Rock Road Library
- January 2017 The result of the formal survey was announced, showing a substantial vote in favour of the residents’ parking plan (59% for, 35% against)
- January 2017 The formal council letter advertising the Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO) was delivered to every household, posted in the street, and advertised in the local press. People were invited to put forward material objections to the plan.
- There has been publicity in the Queen Edith’s Community News, the Lib Dem Focus newsletter, and in local newspapers.
- The parking situation was covered on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and in ITV’s Parking Wars.
- Four leaflets have been circulated by local residents, two for and two against the plan.
- On top of all this I have personally dealt with a few hundred emails sent to me about residents’ parking.
The Council invited residents to put their names forward, if they wished to speak at the 14 March committee meeting. Three residents did so: two for and one against.
Two other principal areas of concern were raised in the TRO process: pavement parking in Marshall Road and whether the plan provided sufficient residents’ parking bays. Here is how the Council responded:
Why is pavement/footway parking not being considered, when it is permitted in other parts of the city such as Romsey?
Cambridgeshire County Council is proposing that pavement parking is only considered in exceptional circumstances where there is no impact on safety or pedestrian movement and where the underlying construction is suitable for vehicle parking. Parking on pavements:
- Creates a hazard for the visually impaired, disabled and elderly people and those with prams and pushchairs
- Creates safety issues for pedestrians and can hide other vehicles particularly on bends, narrow roads
and at junctions.
- Can cause damage to the footway.
As the proposed scheme reduces the overall parking spaces available particularly in Marshall Road, will there be sufficient space for residents and visitors?
Parking in Marshall Road, in its current form, is unsustainable and could represent hazards to all road users not only now but in the future. In order to regulate parking effectively for the benefit of all highway users it will be necessary to make changes which will ultimately limit and reduce overall car parking on the street. Whilst this is regrettable, the safety of all highway users should take primacy over the availability of car parking spaces.
Looking at the plans, the following parking spaces are available (based on average vehicle length of 5m)
Marshall Road 39
Hartington Grove 108
Blinco Grove 100
Magnolia Close 7
Rock Road 28
Rathmore Road 67
Rathmore Close 4
A recent parking survey was carried out across Cambridge by a company called Mott MacDonald. This survey showed 291 spaces (in Rock Road, Blinco Grove, Hartington Grove, Marshall Road and Rathmore Road) were occupied by residents (the count was completed at 5.30am, a time when the number of commuters would be negligible and the number of residents would be at their maximum). This indicates that there would be space available for all resident permit holders even with the number of spaces reduced as a result of the introduction of public safety, access and junction protection.
I hope this helps answer some of the main objections raised. As you can see, even with Marshall Road no longer able to park on the pavement the council’s’figures above show that with the plan there is a clear number of extra spaces available for residents and visitors: 353 – 291 = 62.
The Parking Policy Manager’s report to the CJAC is 31 pages long. It can be viewed on line on the County Council’s website.