NTBCC responds to proposed Parking changes

Below (in italics) is an unedited transcript of the New Town and Broughton Community Council's response to proposed changes in parking Traffic Regulation Orders.

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Dear Sir/Madam,

The New Town and Broughton Community Council have reviewed the changes covered by TRO/09/97.

In summary, the main changes proposed are:

1. change of some public and permit bays to shared use
2. remove lengths of waiting restrictions
3. change of some single-yellow areas to parking spaces
4. visitors permits extended to zones 1-8
5. limiting permits per household to 2 - extended to zones 1-8, and with additional fees per second vehicle
6. scaling of parking fees against emissions

In general the NTBCC is supportive of this with the following exceptions and observations:

A. The complexity of the changes has not been easy to understand given the way that they have been presented. For example, the zonal maps would have been better presented as before and after maps, in the way that CEC/tie have presented the tram TROs. The NTBCC wish to have more time to consider these matters in more detail, and to have the opportunity to discuss with the relevant CEC officers. We note the extension to 31 March 2010 and would like CEC to reply to this interim submission from the NTBCC. The extension time does not allow for the matter to be discussed again at a full NTBCC meeting (there was one tonight which agreed the notes below), but the Transport sub-committee can take a view. Certainly, if CEC can advise as to the errors that have caused the extension then that would be a help.

B. The scale of the change from pay-and-display to shared use, and also from residents to shared use, is considered to be too high. The availability of pay-and-display parking is a significant issue for local businesses and traders. The TRO indicates that there will be relatively few dedicated bays. It may become quite difficult for customers and occasional visitors to find suitable parking. We also note, and support, concerns from some local associations (who will be reporting separately to CEC) regarding the changes from residents to shared-use. The NTBCC suggests that a more modest change be adopted, with something like 50% of pay-and-display and 10-15% of residents being converted to shared use.

C. The detail of the visitor permit system is not easy to understand. However, the NTBCC is concerned that the system may be open to abuse by short-term lets (eg Festival lets) if it is possible for visitors permits to be obtained such as to allow continuous visitor parking for extended periods. A limit of 100 permits is recommended, rather than 150.

D. The increase in the administration charge from £1 to £5 per permit is high, and will impact hardest on those on low incomes who are required, through necessity, to purchase permits of shorter duration. A lower administration charge is recommended.

E. Article 3-6(b)(1) states, with respect to the manner of standing in a parking place, 'if the place is not in a one-way street, that the left or nearside of the vehicle is adjacent to the left-hand edge of the carriageway'. This implies that all parking must be on the same side as the direction of travel. This may be sensible for main roads, but is overly restrictive for the residential streets that make up the most part of the New Town and Broughton (and Calton) areas. The NTBCC object to this article, and suggest that it is reworded or amended to state that all parking must be in a safe manner. For information, the Highway Code (paras 239, 243) does not explicitly require parking in the direction of traffic when recognised parking spaces are used.

F. It has been noted that this parking TRO will require a major overhaul of the signage. The NTBCC strongly recommend that CEC consider improving the streetscape by putting parking regulation signs on railings and/or existing poles/lamp-posts. Some minor adjustments of the parking arrangements might result in fewer poles, clearer pavements and a better appearance for the World Heritage Site.

G. It is also noted that the recent accessibility improvements put in place across the New Town, with dropped pavements at corners, are being impacted by cars parking outside of control hours at corners where there is only a single yellow line.


Regards,

Patrick Hutton
Convenor, NTBCC Transport Sub-Committee
1 March 2010