‘LISTENING MAYOR’ UNILATERALLY ANNOUNCES 20 NEW PAY-TO-PARK ZONES FOR RESIDENTS

The latest diktat from His Royal Georgeness himself in full:

Please find below the latest release from Bristol City Council issued today, Thursday 21 March 2013

Time to bite the bullet on residents’ parking

Following the success of three residents parking schemes in Bristol, which now enjoy strong support from most residents in the areas involved, Bristol’s Mayor, George Ferguson, is proposing to implement further schemes in 20 areas surrounding Bristol City Centre.

Subject to statutory consultation on sensitive designs to protect and enhance local neighbourhood and business environments, and in particular local retail, the Mayor aims to introduce residents parking in the following areas within the next eighteen months:

The aim is to deliver the schemes in this order:

Cotham North (CN) and Redland (RD)

Clifton East (CE) and Cliftonwood & Hotwells (CH)

Clifton Village (CV) and Clifton West (CW)

Bedminster East (BE) and Southville (SE)

St Andrews (SA), Montpelier (MR) and St Werburghs (SW)

Windmill Hill (WH), Bedminster West (BW), Ashton (AN) and Totterdown (TN)

Ashley Down (AD) and Bishopston (BN)

Schemes are already in place in Kingsdown, Redcliffe and Cotham.  A scheme for Easton and St Philip’s has been developed and is currently subject to statutory consultation.

For the remaining schemes, the council will begin by fully involving local councillors and Neighbourhood Partnerships.

Community engagement will begin whilst the detailed designs are being produced. This will enable any issues that are specific to the community to be raised at an earlier stage and to feed into the design process.

Once the council has produced initial designs, statutory consultation will take place to ensure the right design for each area.

Close business engagement at an early stage aims to ensure that the schemes deliver for local high streets, based on the positive Kingsdown experience.

Mayor George Ferguson said: “There are clear local and transport benefits arising from residents’ parking schemes, and I am getting strong levels of demand from areas surrounding the city centre. The council helps local businesses to design sustainable travel plans for their staff, which leads to more people walking, cycling and using public transport.

This in turn has a positive effect – not least on bus fares which are currently subject to consultation and review. But also on reducing traffic congestion, which has a further beneficial effect on public transport reliability, and pedestrian and cycle safety. It is a virtuous circle that I have seen in many other cities who have bitten this particular bullet knowing that the end result is positive.”

Residents’ parking schemes resolve parking problems for residents and their visitors for less than £1 a week. They also increase the turnover of parking for shoppers on local High Streets.

The schemes operate flexible hours. These hours are 9am to 5pm in existing Bristol schemes, but are tailored to suit individual neighbourhoods. This approach is more sensitive than other cities which often operate 24/7 schemes. The important consideration for the Mayor is to ensure residents parking is protected, but there is maximum freedom of movement for visitors. The working hours only policy works well to stop commuters clogging the streets.

The Mayor continued: “The original hostility to residents’ parking has all but melted away in areas where schemes are on the ground and in the neighbouring areas. Meanwhile, the inconvenience suffered by those who need a scheme and do not have one is building, and I need to act decisively.

“Bristol’s first three schemes in Kingsdown, Cotham and Redcliffe have proved to be a success, despite local fears before they were implemented. Feedback received after the schemes were introduced confirms that they are popular with residents. Many shop owners cite ease of parking for their customers as a benefit to their local high streets.”

“I know I am bound to get some hostile letters and signing petitions, but I also know there are many quiet voices out there who want this issue to be resolved once and for all. I’ve asked for consultation in the areas where we are planning schemes, which will provide an opportunity for people to ask questions and make their views known.

“For many residents there is an urgent problem that needs solving. For many others, if we don’t work on schemes now, they’ll be badly affected further down the line. I’m not prepared to drag this out over several years.

“Just under half the residents of Kingsdown were strongly opposed to a scheme before it went in. Yet less than five per cent of comments received in the six month review after implementation were negative. The department still receives letters of thanks. Sometimes, it is right to trust professional and political judgement, however much it may hurt to admit it.”

“I am hoping for a constructive, rational and conclusive process.”

More information can be found on www.bristol.gov.uk/rps

Editors’ notes: All information on the schemes in Bristol and how they work are available on the website at www.bristol.gov.uk/rps. Updated pages featuring the map and details of the new schemes go live at 7am on Friday March 22.

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