Does your neighbourhood resemble ‘Parking Wars’, the recent ITV show featuring Cambridge? Are your streets magnets for commuters, making life difficult for you, your visitors, tradespeople and carers?
Streets, relatively empty at night, are full of parked cars during the day, especially since the introduction of a fee to park at Park & Rides. Congestion and pollution throughout the city are made worse by cars cruising around looking for somewhere to park. Local shops also lose out because potential customers can’t find anywhere to park.
The current procedure for introducing new residents’ parking zones is highly divisive, with little flexibility to tailor a scheme to local needs.
We need instead a city-wide approach; otherwise we’ll simply push problems from one neighbourhood to another. And we need something different to a one-size-fits-all extension of existing residents’ parking zones, which would not gain popular support.
Smarter Cambridge Transport set out a menu of ‘neighbourhood parking’ controls that could be applied (in On-Street Parking). One such is to have just one hour in the day when parking is reserved for residents and visitors displaying permits. That would deter commuters, whilst being less restrictive for residents and less expensive to enforce than a 9am–5pm scheme.
Smarter Cambridge Transport has also proposed closely involving local residents and businesses in designing and trialling any new controls before there is a commitment to keeping them. The role of the County Council and local councillors would be to guide residents in identifying problems and opportunities, and helping them specify the appropriate mix of measures for their neighbourhood.
If we get parking controls right, it will reduce congestion and pollution in the city, increase safety for people walking and cycling, and incentivise more people to use sustainable-transport alternatives to driving, all City Deal objectives.
Over 1,500 people from all wards in the city have signed a petition supporting the approach advocated by Smarter Cambridge Transport. You can add your voice.
We hope that this show of public support will encourage the Cambridge City Joint Area Committee to recommend adoption of more flexible and democratic ‘neighbourhood parking’ schemes when they meet on 1 November.
Read our paper on On-Street Parking, which sets out options and a suggested process for introducing new parking controls, tailored to local needs.
This article was first published in the Cambridge Independent on 19 October 2016.