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.

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5 thoughts on “Michael Bond: A new approach to parking controls in Cambridge

  1. ” there should be sufficient commuter parking provision to cater for actual demand.”

    Nope – demand should be managed to match the available space. The demand is potentially limitless, but space is very much at a premium. And not just for parking itself, but also on the roads as people try to drive to where the expect to find parking. It’s a recipe for worsening congestion, air pollution, noise, and turning our city into a space for cars rather than for people.

    “.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”

    Eric Pickles would be proud. It’d simply not possible, and not terribly beneficial. You cannot cater for peak parking use of our streets, nor would you went to. Pedestrians and cyclists shop more often and spend more overall, and providing an environment for cars is generally antithetical to an environment which is pleasant to walk and cycle. How does anyone think that being able to accommodate 4 people an hour on a valuable piece of public space is a recipe for supporting local shops?

    It’s not hard to see the effects even in East Chesterton. People parking outside the Post Office in morning peak create pinch points and block traffic. Trying to cross the road at the Tesco Express is unpleasant even for a quick and alert pedestrian, with drivers pulling in and out without warning, looking for parking space rather than at the road.

    Who is the ‘we’ referred to in the letter? It is only signed by Mr Bond.

    • 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.” If the only parking on Chesterton High Street was short term, at any time of the day, and on one side, then this might declutter the street and provide space for widened pavements, gardens, benches and cycle tracks that would improve the area.

      I agree that Chesterton High Street is currently an awful place for people not in cars, but this is probably not caused by commuters. I think closing the High Street to through motor traffic would be best, with most through cycle traffic probably using Water Lane or the new Ditton Meadows river crossing.

      Interestingly Mr Bond appears to be in favour of multi-level car parking buildings yet I am sure residents of Chesterton would fiercely oppose the construction of a Park Street style concrete car park on the High Street: perhaps a five storey building with three additional levels of flats in the space where the Dog and Pheasant used to be?

  2. At the Stourbridge common end of Riverside, the number of commuters parking all day, taking their bikes out for the last part of their journey to work, has increased. Also long term vehicles, often minibuses and vans, now park at right angles to the railings from the common entrance past the entrance to Stanley Rd. This pushes walkers, cyclists, cars into the middle of Riverside. On exit, sometimes these vehicles REVERSE into Stanley Rd into the path of oncoming traffic.

    For two months I have photographed vehicles, talked with drivers encouraging considerate parking, left letters explaining the situation and a thankyou when they have responded. I have been heartened by the response. There has been a meaningful change in the parking. Particularly at weekends walkers have been able to walk alongside the river, stopping and enjoying the view.

    However I am having difficulty encouraging PARALLEL parking between the entrance to the common and beyond the entrance to Stanley Rd. It is easier to drive down Stanley Rd (no stopping white line!) straight across , nose to the railings. Drivers see this method of parking and assume this is the correct way. It looks like a car park. Early morning I wake to see several vehicles jutting out (halfway across the width if the road- I have measured). Then it in fills with daily vehicles. Vehicles no longer jut out onto road opposite 85-89 now.

    To sum up…I have made more progress than I expected in two months. As a disabled resident, in bed downstairs most of the day, I have my view back. SO HOW DO I ACHIEVE PARALLEL PARKING, which allows walkers to be near the river; reflectors on cars to be seen at night; wider spaces in between (for ease of exit); cyclists not pushed out onto wrong side of road …..so that the extra width creates safe, shared space – the PROMENADE referred to previous plans.

    I have shown that drivers’ behaviour can be changed when they either think they will be penalised ( parking tickets have occasionally been issued) or are made aware of how residents/walkers, cyclists, wheelchair users etc., are effected. What do I do next and where can I go to get support? Where is the consultation exercise, due 2013, towards the VISION FOR RIVERSIDE?

    • I am pleased to hear you have been able to influence driver behaviour by having a polite word with them.

      You might like to ask a question at the City Council’s East Area Committee on 10 April (or a later date) and/or contact your councillor via phone, post or email. I believe Cllr Richard Johnson has been working on access to Stourbridge Common from Riverside and I’m sure he would be pleased to hear from you.

  3. There is clearly a bundle to realize about this. I suppose you made some good points in features also. fdgebdbbeege

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