I fully realise that I took a risk in extending the Residents Parking areas and that not every area will react in the same way, however;
The Cotham South Residents’ Parking annual review survey is in.
And the reaction to the scheme is overwhelmingly positive with only a handful of objections from the 2500 households surveyed.
The response rate wasn’t high (the review is trailed as an opportunity for people to raise outstanding issues and problems, so it’s good news that it wasn’t). Nevertheless 135 people took the trouble to write in just to say how happy they were.
- 135 respondents were in favour of the scheme and thought it had made a positive impact on the area.
- 30 responses were not in favour of the scheme and did not think it had improved the area.
- 10 responses did not express if they were for or against the scheme. Of these ten respondents, seven expressed some amendments that they would like: for example removing double yellow lines or installing disabled bays. The remaining three simply expressed outstanding issues since the scheme has been in place.
The comments themselves make reassuring reading, including those from residents who did not think residents’ parking would work, but are happy now to admit a change of mind, giving more solid, local evidence that residents’ parking is much more acceptable when it is implemented than when it is first proposed.
This is the fundamental reasoning behind my policy of consultation on how we design new schemes, and not on whether or not we have them. Residents’ parking has to happen or the city will cease to thrive. If we are intelligent in our approach we can ensure that residents’ parking has a positive impact on local quality of life and defends our residential areas from unacceptable future congestion and resultant poor air quality.
If you are unsure about what impact a scheme will have, you can do no better than ask those who already have one in place, rather than those who are campaigning, largely out of fear of the unknown. The former know what they are talking about. The latter only think they do.
The video tells you what local shop keepers think of residents’ parking in South Cotham and Kingsdown:
Some comments from the survey.
“For me it has been a good thing and works, even though I didn’t think so before it happened”.
“I am a complete convert. Congratulations on getting it through and making the scheme a huge success.”
“The scheme has benefited me enormously. Helped me when I had to attend regular hospital appointments and always had a space on returning home.”
“Firmly believe it has been a big success. The traffic and noise has been reduced by 80%. Much safer for children walking to school.”
“We’ve experienced most of the benefits it was expected that the scheme would deliver. I can park on own road often outside my own home. It is easier for visitors to park and there is less traffic. All in all, we’re very pleased.”
“Have enjoyed a fantastic six months of peaceful and unhurried joy. The scheme has resolved problems with obstructive junction and pavement parking, parking congestion, parking near home for residents and emergency access.”
“I applaud the council for instigating this scheme, many thanks. I am a very happy resident”.
Read more on the council’s website. (Opens in a new window)
30 ‘negative’ comments expressed mild to strong antipathy and raised some broad themes.
A response to each is below.
“Now the RPS has been introduced there are numerous roads that are now not “fully utilised”, and those spaces should be used for commuters at a small cost.”
I don’t want local neighbourhoods to be thought of as car parks. Cotham residents are clearly enjoying their neighbourhood again. Safety – particularly for children crossing the road and people walking and cycling in the area – is a key issue picked up in the positive comments. People notice the difference, having suffered years of circulating traffic, poor air quality, noise and parking congestion.
Of course opening the streets back up to commuters at a charge would be an opportunity for ‘revenue raising’, but residents’ parking in Bristol is not about revenue raising. It is about making the streets calmer, safer and more pleasant for local people.
There is concern for the staff of the BRI and how the scheme may hinder travel to work for nurses and support staff. “They should be eligible for additional permits.”
The BRI has a travel plan for staff. All hospitals and other large organisations recognise that they need to plan if they are going to minimise the impact staff parking has on local streets. Bristol hospitals take responsibility for managing staff travel and ensuring their staff can get to work. They are as committed as the council to discouraging parking on residential streets and encouraging other modes. Remember, the schemes only operate 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday at present, so night staff and weekend workers are not affected, although we may look at extending to Saturdays in certain areas.
Another issue was the number of permits allowed for businesses. Some individuals felt that the current number of permits is not sufficient. “Unfair that a small business with five employees are entitled to the same number of customer permits as a business with 40 employees – can the customer permits be issued to 1 per 5 staff.”
The issue of fairness relates to how much road space each business takes up. Forty employees parking 40 cars on the street is not acceptable where space is needed by other businesses and residents. Nevertheless a business with 40 employees is entitled to 7 permits (the same as any business), which is very nearly one per five staff. What the council would say is allotting these permits to staff reduces the amount of spaces you can dedicate to your customers.
Our advice for business is to encourage staff to travel by alternative means, and save your permits for your customers. We know there are alternative options for most staff, because the council has been travel planning with business for many years. Some larger organisations need (and receive) support from the council to work this through.
Cotham South residents have sent a ringing endorsement for something that many residents were at first extremely wary of – and many of the local businesses have seen the benefit of increased customer turnover. This represents another step towards making Bristol a healthier more civilised, and liveable city – for which a permit is a small price to pay.