Michael Bond: A new approach to parking controls in Cambridge

At Cambridge City Council’s North Area Committee on 6 February 2014, Mr Michael Bond called for parking controls on commuters using streets in Chesterton.  Here’s the text of his letter to the committee:

North Area Committee 6th February 2014

A new approach to parking controls in Cambridge

  1. There has been an increasing problem of long-term commuter parking in the City as the Controlled Zone has been extended outward from the City Centre. The only tool being used at present is to introduce Residents Only Parking zones with limited short term pay and display for occasional visitors.
  2. There is a clear benefit to the County and City Councils from the present situation as they can collect revenue from car parking charges and the issue of residents’ parking permits, the latter with no obligation to ensure that supply is matched to available Residents Only parking space.
  3. The recent extension of “Residents Only” parking into the de Freville Estate was controversial and has resulted in commuter parking being pushed east into East Chesterton and further north across Milton Road. The area beside Elizabeth Bridge lately dominated by commuter parking is now mostly empty as E1 an hour is more than anyone is prepared to pay.
  4. With the advent of Chesterton Sidings Station commuter parking is expected to come to areas of the City where the streets are simply too small to handle any significant levels of additional on-street parking and the introduction of Residents Only parking is likely to reduce the available road space for parking for residents as it has to comply with specific installation standards that limit which stretches of road can be used for parking bays. The addition of pay and display short-term parking will further limit the space for residents.
  5. We therefore propose an entirely different approach: the creation of No Commuter Parking Zones that can be policed by residents and enforced by existing traffic wardens or PCSOs on application from residents for action on a persistent commuter parker.
  6. The designation of a No Commuter Parking Zone would be indicated by signs at entry points to estates with repeater signs as and where necessary. Once in place residents would be able to note the appearance of commuter parking by noting the time of arrival and departure of cars that are left all day. These car numbers can then be checked against DVLA records to identify the keeper and if found to be a non-resident the vehicle can be ticketed on its next appearance with a warning that any further all-day parking will attract a fixed penalty notice.
  7. It is expected that the message will get through quite quickly so there will be a brief and very active period of action followed by occasional flurries as new people try there luck and test out the system. By placing the initiative with local residents supported by statutory authorities we expect this to prove a simple and effective system that can be applied to other parts of the City.
  8. The corollary to such a system is that there should be sufficient commuter parking provision to cater for actual demand. This will require a radical change of approach to parking by Cambridge City Council and the recognition that public transport is often non-existent or badly located for some of our growth areas.
  9. We consider that adequate parking provision is essential for shops, offices and other premises offering 24/7 services and ensuring that such provision is made available for very short term needs by waiting time restrictions of 15 minutes for on-street parking for local shops and multi-level provision for larger complexes to conserve limited building space within the city.

Michael Bond
26 January 2014

As ever, parking is one of the most talked about local issues.  At the same meeting there were repeated requests for the police to act on pavement and verge parking, which they refuse to do.