CycleSheffield response to DfT Consultation on Local Parking

Cycle Sheffield responded to the Government consultation on local authority parking.

Our SCC liaison officer flagged it up to us.

Many thanks to Dave Holt  for doing this and consulting with us all at meetings and on email.

Here it is

Annex A – List of questions

Q1. Do you consider local authority parking enforcement is being applied fairly and reasonably in your area?

Sheffield City Council generally operates fair enforcement of parking regulations, although there could be better training provided to their Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) who could be ‘braver’ when making decisions.  The number of CEOs is inadequate outside the city centre – some motorists know that there is little chance that they will receive a fine and park accordingly.  Signage could be improved and street lining renewed more frequently to ensure road users have the correct information.Existing problems would be exacerbated were there to be a perceived or actual reduction of powers to keep the streets clear of inconsiderate or dangerously parked vehicles.Revenue from parking fines should fund greater numbers of CEOs and the renewal and improvement of signs and lines.  Surplus revenue should be ring-fenced to encourage active travel modes of cycling and walking which require far less road space than a private motor car.  Many car journeys in Sheffield are under four miles, a distance easily cycled where supportive facilities exist and prospective cyclists offered training.  Conversely any reduction in parking enforcement encourages more car journeys with the result of increased congestion and pollution while discouraging the take-up of active modes which would themselves reduce the demand for parking spaces.

 

Q2.The Government intends to abolish the use of CCTV cameras for parking enforcement. Do you have any views or comments on this proposal?

The guidance document for this consultation rightly points out that there are difficult and sensitive situations where the choice is between CCTV enforcement, or there being no enforcement.  In Sheffield we have a serious issue with a minority of Hackney Carriage drivers parking in mandatory (solid white line) cycle lanes.  Because they simply drive off when a CEO approaches the danger they cause is impossible to punish with a fine.  A vehicle fitted with CCTV can record license plates and return three minutes later to record again and determine which vehicles were parked.  This is fair and proportionate and backed by the majority of taxi drivers who are being disadvantaged and stigmatised by the actions of a selfish minority.  Without CCTV enforcement lives are put at risk as cyclists have to go around the taxi and in to fast-moving oncoming traffic.  The alternative is a permanently stationed CEO at this location which is hardly cost-effective!

Q3. Do you think the traffic adjudicators should have wider powers to allow appeals?

We do not have sufficient information to provide a response.

 

Q4. Do you agree that guidance should be updated to make clear in what circumstances adjudicators may award costs? If so, what should those circumstances be?

We do not have sufficient information to provide a response.  

 

Q5. Do you think motorists who lose an appeal at a parking tribunal should be offered a 25% discount for prompt payment?

No as this will simply encourage vexatious and time-wasting appeals.

 

Q6.Do you think local residents and firms should be able to require councils to review yellow lines, parking provision, charges etc in their area? If so, what should the reviews cover and what should be the threshold for triggering a review?

Whilst supporting the principle of democracy and community involvement, the Council is best placed to act in the interest of all road users.  Shop-keepers for example frequently underestimate the proportion of their customers who walk or cycle to their premises when they request extra parking with light enforcement.  Whilst this may encourage more motorists, the increased traffic and presence of parked vehicles results in a less pleasant (and frequently hostile) environment to customers who would walk or cycle – and who will then choose to shop elsewhere.  Reducing enforcement also encourages longer stay parking by motorists who probably aren’t using the business at all – which reduces available parking space with no benefit to the business.Yellow lines specifically help to ensure that traffic flows freely and that sight lines which are crucial to safety are kept clear.  Restrictions are in place only where required.  Residents and businesses can already inspect the corresponding Traffic Regulation Order (TRO).   New TROs are always publicised and resident and business feedback sought.

Q7.Do you think that authorities should be required by regulation to allow a grace period at the end of paid for parking?

We do not have sufficient information to provide a response.  

 

Q8. Do you think that a grace period should be offered more widely – for example a grace period for overstaying in free parking bays, at the start of pay and display parking and paid for parking bays, and in areas where there are parking restrictions (such as loading restrictions, or single yellow lines)?

No. Our crowded towns and cities can only ever have a limited amount of on-street parking available which must be used efficiently.  When a greater demand exists, private operators will provide additional capacity off-road.  The roads network should prioritise space for journeys by all modes (including active) rather than being obstructed by parked vehicles. Inconsiderate parking is an increasing problem where the attitude of a sizable minority of motorists “right to park” far exceeds any danger (however temporary) that their actions cause.  Already CEOs rarely patrol Sheffield suburbs and their effectiveness would be further reduced by a mandatory “grace period” which would reinforce the present free-for-all attitude of some motorists.  Examples of these problems are numerous but best demonstrated at the gates of any school at the beginning and end of the day where wide-scale inconsiderate and dangerous parking puts young lives at risk.

Q9. If allowed, how long do you think the grace period should be?

At the very least there must be NO ‘grace’ period for dangerous parking in cycle lanes, pedestrian crossings, dropped kerbs, school entrances, pedestrian/cycle crossing facilities etc.

 

Q10. Do you think the Government should be considering any further measures to tackle genuinely anti-social parking or driving? If so, what?

This review should be a great opportunity to make our cities and towns better places to live.  Relaxing parking enforcement will result in more people driving which means more congestion and longer journey times.  Businesses will find it harder to find a space to service their customers because parking spaces will already be full! Space is finite so the Government should instead be prioritising measures to encourage walking, cycling and public transport.  Those objectives would actually achieve the aims of this review as there would be a greater availability of existing parking provision where a greater proportion of journeys are shifted away from the private motor car.  At present most people feel they have little option other than to drive as the roads are too hostile to cycle or walk, a situation which must be urgently addressed and reversed. 

The small minority who repeatedly wait or park in a dangerous way should be targeted with penalty points, for example on yellow lines or mandatory cycle lanes.

 

To encourage people to use town centres instead of out-of-town developments requires a brave Government to introduce mandatory parking charges of £1 per hour, except for the smallest operators.  At present the cost of land and maintenance to provide ‘free parking’ is passed on to all customers which includes those arriving by public transport and active travel – and who are effectively subsidising those who drive!  This nonsense is skewing travel choices in favour of the private car and customers away from our towns and cities.

 

 

 

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