Supporters of Option 1 have put out a leaflet with the slogan: ‘Zone JJ has worked – why change it’. The answer is simple: it may have worked for a few, but it has done so, by hurting the many’.
The Campaign believes it would be a mistake for residents to support Option 1.
This is because Zone J/JJ suffers from very different levels of parking stress. Near the Uxbridge Road there is, as we all know, heavy pressure on parking places which, in the past, before 2016, made life very difficult for residents living nearby. However, as you move away from the Uxbridge Road, except on match days, parking becomes progressively easier.
One type of bay with a single set of control hours cannot cope with such variation. They will either offer too little protection, or too much.
This is the trap that Option 1 falls into. The long parking hours of 9 to 9, seven days a week, while hardly enough to protect those living close to the Uxbridge Road, will make life unnecessarily difficult for many residents and their visitors.
Worse, it could even end up hurting some who have benefitted from the present scheme. If the same long parking hours are introduced across the whole area, for most who come here, there will be no free evening and weekend parking within easy walking distance of the Uxbridge Road. They will be forced to pay and increasingly, will do so. They will do so as close to the Uxbridge Road as they can. Overtime it could become as bad as in the old days.
To try to overcome such problems, the Council may be tempted to try to find a new way of splitting Zone J, to provide some streets, where long parking hours are unnecessary, with much shorter hours.
It’s last attempt to do this, in 2016, proved a disaster. It caused huge displacement of parking which made life a misery for those living in Zone J, north of the Uxbridge Road. The Council has undertaken not to repeat this mistake. But any new split in Zone J is certain to cause a big displacement of parking. It is, therefore, not a realistic possibility.
Option 1 reflects an outdated and ineffectual approach to dealing with parking problems in areas like ours. It is important it is rejected.
Option 2 offers a much more up-to-date and effective approach to dealing with our parking problems. It reflects the belief, held by most Councils today, that dealing with parking problems in areas like ours, requires different types of parking bay with different hours. This allows parking provision to be fine-tuned so that it meets the varying needs of individual streets.
This is exactly what Option 2 offers.
The mix of ‘permit-only’ and ‘shared-bays’ it would bring, with different hours for the two types of bays, provides for exactly the flexibility Zone J/JJ needs.
The ‘permit-only’ bays Option 2 offers will, for the first time, provide proper protection for residents, throughout the Zone, even on match-days. Given the tiny number of non-resident permit holders, these are in effect ‘resident-only’ bays. Only residents and their visitors – provided they register with Ringo – can use them during the longer control hours of 9 to 10, seven days a week.
They will protect those living near the Uxbridge Road from any increase in those prepared to pay to park. They will protect residents from increasing numbers of people using the existing shared bays as convenient and inexpensive parking for QPR matches. They will also protect our visitors on match days.
The Council says it will start by turning around 35 per cent of the existing parking spaces into ‘resident-only’ bays. Some residents have asked, perfectly reasonably, whether this will provide enough such bays. It is obviously important that enough of these bays are provided.
The Council has explained that because ‘resident-only’ bays are so popular with residents, once provided, Councils find it very difficult to take them away, even if too many have been provided.
Conversely, it is very is very easy, if necessary, to increase the number of such bays The Borough’s Director of Transport, Mahmood Siddiqi, told the Advisory Group that it can be done: “literally overnight”.
The Council has promised to monitor the new scheme and if necessary, increase the number of ‘resident-only’ bays.
They believe though that with the number of residents owning cars falling, an overall total of around 35 per cent is likely to be enough. They say residents always park in the nearest and most convenient bay, regardless of whether or not it is a ‘shared’ or ‘permit only bay’.
Yet for many residents, including the great majority without cars, it is Option 2’s shared-bays’ with their convenient parking hours, 9 to 5, five days a week, which is the big attraction.
Free evening and weekend parking will encourage visits from family members, something particularly important for the elderly, who often live for visits from their children, children who often grew up here.
Some people too, with young children, need the help and support of family members and do some of the elderly. They too will be helped by the easy parking Option 2 offers.
They will also help local businesses as well as places of worship who, it should not be forgotten, do a lot of good in our local community.