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.


Cycle parking in Kite

Is cycle parking a ‘problem’ in the Kite area of Cambridge and should car parking spaces be replaced by cycle parking?  This is what Cambridge Cycling Campaign asked the County Council election candidates and from their responses there is limited support for this.  Ed Cearns, the Liberal Democrat candidate, thinks there is not a problem with cycle parking because “a number of properties have railings and many other residents have secured loops on the front wall of their property” (he also supports more cycle parking across the city).  Simon Sedgwick-Jell, the Green Party candidate, points out that the “parking of bikes in [the] street [is] a crime problem”.

Informally parked cycles on Victoria Street. Cycles can obstruct the pavement.

Informally parked cycles on Victoria Street. Cycles can obstruct the pavement.

On this wide pavement on Parkside cycles are out of the way.

On this wide pavement on Parkside cycles are out of the way.

There are some 200 cycles parked on the pavement in Kite, I wonder how many of these Mr Cearns tripped over while canvassing the area?  For able-bodied people with normal eyesight a little more care is needed but unfortunately cycles parked against railings and walls in terraced streets are a hazard to those with impaired eyesight (amongst others) in the same way that wheelie bins and cars on the pavement are.  Obstructions and trip hazards caused by cycles are a problem for anyone trying to walk in the streets of Kite.

While many of the cycles are secured to special hooks and railings as Mr Cearns points out, not all are.  Those not secured are at risk of theft with some 163 cycles reported stolen in Market ward in the three months to March 2013.[source]  Due to a concerted effort by Cambridgeshire Police neighbourhood teams cycle theft is falling.  Obviously with many thousands of cycles parked in the city centre theft is not only from residents in Kite.  There are also probably more thefts that have not been reported.

Cycles are not welcome on these railings on John Street.

Cycles are not welcome on these railings on John Street.

The City Council has approved a project to create up to 710 additional on-street cycle parking spaces, in addition to continuing to look for a location for a third cycle park.  However none of these on-street spaces are in Kite.  Market LibDems’ residents’ parking update newsletter says that some new residents’ car parking bays will be added, but there is no mention of cycle parking.

I believe we need some cycle parking for residents in Kite (and other areas of the city).  This parking needs to be convenient and secure.  By providing cycle parking we remove obstructions from the pavement, help reduce the opportunity for crime and make it easier for those who choose to travel by bike.

Cycle parking counts by street

On Saturday 27 April 2013 at around midday I took the following count:

Warkworth Street 36
Victoria Street 27
Parkside (east side, excluding police station) 23
Earl Street 19
Eden Street 19
New Square 18
Grafton Street 17
Warkworth Terrace 14
Orchard Street 9
Clarendon Street 7
Parker Street 6
Prospect Row 5
James Street 4
City Road 4
Adam and Eve Street 4
John Street 3
Elm Street 2
Eden Street Backway 1
Napier Street 1
Total 219
Just a few of the 36 cycles parked in Warkworth Street.

Just a few of the 36 cycles parked in Warkworth Street.

I did not count on East Road, Burleigh Street, Fitzroy Street or the Parker’s Piece side of Parkside because these are more likely to be cycles visiting the area.

The count includes cycles in front gardens as well as actually on the street because I want to estimate the demand.  Note that some properties in the area have internal cycle parking and some have garages that may have cycles in them.  So the total number of cycles parked in the area is unknown but is at least 219.

The vast majority of the cycles counted will be those of immediate residents however we cannot be sure of this.

Update: I did not count formal cycle parking (hooped stands) or car parking.  There is some cycle parking in the area, particularly at the edges, and yet hundreds of cycles are parked on the street.  It has also been pointed out that some bikes may have been abandoned.