Are city-based Day Parking Zones one way in which B&NES could help balance the books and help ease congestion and tackle high levels of pollution.
It’s an idea being put forward by local road traffic campaigner Adam Reynolds – well known as a cyclist champion – and now coming up with a scheme that the cash-strapped council may well be taking seriously.
I asked him to write a piece for Bath Newseum. Here it is:
“Cities around the world are beginning to recognise that free parking simply encourages people to use cars. Free parking creates air pollution and congestion for any city and this cost is born by the residents in health and time, and financially by businesses of that city.
In 2012 Nottingham began an experiment that placed a cost on parking. The Workplace Parking Levy. This levy has provided Nottingham with the funds to expand their public transport network and be the only city in the UK where car road miles travelled have decreased. It has been a phenomenal success and has received international recognition.
But Bath is a different beast. It’s small. In fact so small that it is the most walkable city in England and Wales with 43% of commuters walking to work, and that, in a nutshell creates a problem for out residential roads as attractive free parking facilities.
With over 29,000 people commuting into the city by car, 9,000 of those commutes by Bath residents themselves, we know that free parking is encouraging people to use the car.
Day Parking Zones enable the council to charge day trippers and commuters while enabling residents free use of their roads. With a council financially on it’s knees, a huge air pollution crisis, and a congestion nightmare, we simply cannot continue to offer free parking to commuters. Day Parking Zones offer an world leading opportunity to deliver a radical shift in improving public transport while getting people out of their cars.
Further more, the city could charge more for diesel permits or even disallow diesels from parking in the city, requiring them to use park and ride. People talk about Clean Air Zones, but if you simply cannot park your diesel car in the city, or it costs you more, you will definitely consider getting a new cleaner car.
However this is not the only problem with the city. By 9 am on a weekday, only around 700 out of 2800 park and ride spaces are used. Yet if you look at where you can go from a Park and Ride site, your only option is the city centre. Our Park and Ride sites do not service the economic centres of the city, that is Locksbrook & the RUH, the City Centre, and the University of Bath campus.
We cannot simply introduce Day Parking Zones and leave it at that. We must invest the revenue in creating a Key Bus Network that enables Bath residents to get to where they are working using public transport. We need to use the money generated from parking to lower the costs of bus travel. 81% of car commuters live within 20km of the city and we should get to the point where, if you choose to travel by bus or by car to the city within 20km, then it will cost you around £400 per year.
Using Day Parking Zone revenue to deliver a Key Bus Network and affordable public transport throughout the city and into our rural areas is key to delivering an integrated transport strategy that is fair for everyone. It might even stop the council axing 300 jobs and many critical services.
I will be speaking at the Communities, Transport, and Environment Scrutiny Panel today, council officers have been instructed by Cllr Charles Gherrish to investigate Day Parking Zones, and there are moves afoot to get an all-party group to look at this proposal.
Delighted to see the following on Twitter today. Looks like B&NES IS listening.