Saturday, 6 December 2008

Controlled parking zone: analysis

The consultation period on the proposed extension of the controlled parking zone (S6) ended on 28th November. Council officers are currently assessing the full mailbag of comments but I have now read through the very extensive correspondence I have received. I am certainly still open to persuasion on both the general and the specific issues but I think it may be useful to set out how I see the major issues (Section A) – followed by specific issues which have been raised and need resolved (Section B).

I am currently replying personally to all who have written to me – but where the matters are generic or repeated by many I will refer them to this post.

Section A: The major issues

  1. Significant parts (though not all) of the proposed S6 area have considerable parking pressures. There are more people chasing road space than is available. Whilst some are happy to put up with that, a majority of those who have been in touch with me would prefer some form of rationing – usually subject to certain conditions. Something needs to be done.
  2. There is considerable unfinished business from the implementation of S1. Many have pointed out that there is a huge area of road space in the Grange which has been cleared of cars. In addition, the limitation of length of stay for pay and display bays there needs considerable change. Signage is widely regarded as unsightly and in need of a review. (There are issues to be tidied up at the north end of S1 but these are not addressed in this post.)
  3. The overspill of parking on the southern periphery requires a more imaginative solution than hitherto contemplated by the Council. That may have implications for the proposed implementation timetable. It is essential that measures are considered which deal with this overspill. Along with a number of those who have submitted comments I am calling for the examination of softer measure in an extended zone beyond the proposed S6. These might be a yellow line regime which is active only for an hour or so – to prevent long stay visitor parking in areas of pressure.
  4. Whilst some wish to get rid of commuter parking in these areas, many appreciate the value of commuters to businesses, shops and institutions (eg Sciennes Primary School, Sick Children’s Hospital). I conclude that whilst overall, both commuters and residents may need to be restricted, it is essential that the approach taken is to get the best use of road space rather than simply to penalise and drive out commuters. Whilst public transport is an option for some it is not good enough for all and does not fit the circumstances of many.
  5. There are smaller, location specific issues in the proposals which need resolved. In some cases they are show stoppers for the scheme going ahead unless resolved.

B. Specific issue requiring a solution.

  1. Parking outside local shops and certain businesses. The proposals look devastating, for example, for the shops in Blackford Avenue. It is essential there is radical improvement to allow use of these facilities by the local community to remain viable. The option of free short term parking must now be looked at in detail along with other adjustments to the scheme.
  2. The proposal of the Council to take over private parking in certain areas must be resolved. In particular this affects Blackford Bank, Oswald Court and Grange Manor. The proposal to take over private land may well be legal under the road traffic acts and it may well be intended to safeguard parking for the relevant residents. However, in some cases it looks quite unnecessary and must not be done against the wishes of the affected residents.
  3. The postioning, number and mix of bays is widely contested - especially in the area between Mayfield Gardens and Dalkeith Road.
  4. The question of the boundary needs further consideration. A natural boundary such as the railway line has considerable advantages. However, including Charterhall Road (and perhaps other streets) looks viable. In the case of Charterhall Road, many think Blackford Hill itself would be a better natural boundary.
  5. The amount of effect of traditional signage is a matter of concern.

Views are welcome (either by email or by using the comment thread below) but it may take some time to respond as there has bee a deluge of correspondence on this.


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