Croxley Green Parking Review

The Croxley Green Parking Review is ongoing.  The final date for responding has been extended yet again:  the last date to respond to the consultation is now Monday 10 December 2018.

The process is being carried out by the District Council in response to requests from the general public and it relies on public support at each stage.  Parking problems are a frequent bugbear in several roads; sometimes it is commuter parking, sometimes school-run parking; and sometimes congestion amongst neighbours.  Each problem, where it is a significant problem, needs a particular solution.

My comments are below.

Roads included (with plans)

The roads within the consultation area are those which indicated a wish to be included, though they might not wish to have the schemes suggested.  These roads (with a link to the relevant plan for each) are:

Possible restrictions

There are three possible forms – but aside from the visual variations, each has essentially the same legal effect

  1. Traditional CPZ – lines and signs mark every part of every road in the zone
  2. Unmarked permit parking zone/CPZ – There are no marked bays, but there are yellow lines. Permit holders can park anywhere except on yellow lines.
  3. Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) – the opposite of (B): There are no yellow lines but parking is prohibited everywhere in the zone, except where it is permitted as indicated by marked parking bays. (An example is at Rickmansworth High Street)

The main purpose of (1) and (3) is to reduce visual impact of road markings, typically used in Conservation Areas (like Dickinson Square.)

Option (1) is most clear to drivers. The original purpose of a CPZ over traditional restrictions is that, as every parking bay and single yellow line in the whole zone is operational at the same time, there is no need for individual signs (timeplates) on every line and bay, so it cuts down dramatically on street clutter. Drivers are aware of the operational hours from zone entry plates.

Is it a money-making scheme? – erm, no

I have heard it said at every meeting that the parking restrictions are being proposed in order to make money and cover the parking budget deficit.  No it is not  I can understand the suspicion about that, but it is not a money-maker; quite the contrary:  it is a money-losing scheme. 

I have been through this in some detail with the officers.  A parking scheme is not allowed to make a profit.  It will be very expensive in terms of enforcement and administration, and without enforcement, parking restrictions  are worse than pointless.   The charge for the parking permits is only allowed to cover the cost of running the scheme and enforcing the restrictions, not to make a profit.  The fines too go into the same pot and should not make a profit.  The most cost-effective solution for the council then would be to have no parking restrictions at all, and save the money. That though would leave affected roads to get choked up again with thoughtless parking.

Comment

Controlled Parking Zones or Restricted Parking Zones will be introduced in parts of Croxley Green as there are roads where there is apparently general support for this. In those areas parking permits will be needed and the number issued will be limited.  The cost of a first permit, second permit and visitor pass will be set only when the scheme is introduced and will be reviewed periodically.  Therefore the costs cannot be guaranteed and are likely to rise in future years.

At the meetings in November it was loudly represented that the people of Dickinson Square and (to a lesser extent) Dickinson Avenue do not want the changes proposed.  However, other roads might:  residents of Frankland Road and The Crescent in particular have begged for action.  Whether this is the right action, they must consider, and I will be listening.

What is the right solution then? It is different for every road.  Where a road has a problem, then a solution is required, but an appropriate solution.

  • If you have no off-street parking of your own and find that you cannot park near your house because commuters have parked all down the road, then an appropriate restriction, with a permit system, may be the best solution for the road.  It does not guarantee that you can park opposite your house – your neighbours have the same right – but it may reduce the number of cars permitted to park.
  • If you have a shop and customers cannot visit because all the spaces are filled, then parking restrictions may stop the problem parking, but if it stops customer parking too then it is worse than if it had been left alone.
  • If the problem is the school-run, then commuter restrictions are completely irrelevant, and you have just tied your road in cage, and your wallet to buying a permit, for no reason.
  • Existing restrictions must be enforced, and new ones with equal vigour.

The process

  • The process is being carried out by the District Council in response to requests from the general public and it relies on public support at each stage.  It began in 2016/17:   after pressure from me, and a splash in the press, Croxley Green was selected for the first area-wide review.
  • A first-stage consultation covered almost the whole of Croxley Green that was potentially affected by parking spreading out from the station (excluding private roads, as the council has no authority to direct parking restrictions there).  Roads where residents did not express a significant problem were omitted, leaving a core area to be consulted.
  • The District Council is now consulting those streets on the draft preliminary design. This will be modified by public feedback to produce a detailed design.
  • The preliminary design will be produced in early 2019.
  • Ultimately the decisions must be taken by the relevant committee of the Council.

Action to take