This is a Guest Post – the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Shepwayvox Team
There’s no doubt that parking can be a problem in areas designed and built before mass car ownership. Many properties have no garage or driveway and no space to add either. For these properties the only option is on street parking. This can cause problems. Traffic can be restricted to single file with few places to pull in and let others pass. Residents can have trouble finding parking spaces outside, or even close to their properties. These problems can be made worse when your property is within easy walking distance of a Railway station – park and commute can take up any free spaces that there are.
(NB: the map does not show the new CPZ F which came into effect on the 28th August 2018)
In circumstances like this, a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) is often a sensible solution. The latest (CPZ F) came into force at the end of August, south of Radnor Park and east of the station (Folkestone Central).
The theory behind the CPZ is that parking is restricted to those who actually need to park, the residents and local businesses, but sometimes it is hard to tell who actually has the right to park in the zone. Rules made in perfect good faith can lead to unintended problems and any restriction is a compromise between inconvenience and outcome. If they are too restrictive and inflexible, the inconvenience can be great.
Take for instance the simple and, on the face of it, perfectly sensible rule that permits should only be issued for cars registered to addresses within the CPZ. How can there be a problem with this simple requirement? Well, take the case of the person who works away from home, renting a room within the CPZ. His car will be registered at his home address so he will not be able to apply for a permit at his weekday address. Or the person whose car is registered at an ex-partners address and who is reluctant to re-register for very good reasons.
Take also the limit of 2 permits per household. This seems to be a perfectly sensible limit until you take into account the fact that houses of multiple occupation are classed as a single household – so only two of the residents at a time can park. Remember our working away from home example? Even if he re-registered his car to his weekday address, he might still miss out on a permit if his house-mates got there first. Of course, there are shared permits available but these are of limited use since they only allow one car at a time to park using the shared permit. More serious is the case of the residential care home which requires at least one member of staff at all times to be on hand. The limitations do not allow them to obtain permits for all the staff who may be used. Nor can the staff park further away and walk in since the vehicle must be immediately available in an emergency.
Guest permits are available but there is a limit of 50 per year. They would do nothing for our House of Multiple Occupation or our working away resident. Nor would they help the care home much – the quest permits would be more than used up just allowing inspections, evaluations, medical teams and protection teams, all of which can occur at short notice (or even no notice), and none of which can be avoided.
Even if these restriction are not a problem for you in normal circumstances there are times when you may need to have extra. Building work for example – any serious building job will soon eat through any guest permits you have.
We can also ask why these restrictions need to apply on the weekend.
So does it work? Are the residents able to park in front of their own houses? The answer is, in general, yes. The streets within the CPZ are remarkably clear, there are plenty of parking spaces and cars are able to pass.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the surrounding areas. The creation of the CPZ has not so much solved the problem as moved it on. Other streets in the surrounding area are now suffering even more the same problems that led to the CPZ. The less the available free parking, the more it is filled. So can we expect those areas to be consulted on a CPZ of their own?
How is the balance between the inconvenience and the outcome? Well other authorities have solved the same problem with far fewer and less serious restriction. To avoid the park and commute problem, all that is needed is a short restriction such that commuters are discouraged and after that, as the latest CPZ shows, parking is no longer a problem – there is plenty of room for the residents without draconian restrictions.
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The Shepwayvox Team – Dissent is NOT a Crime