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30 May 2017

Monday Musing: Election comment – Liberal Democrat’s parking policy

The Lib Dem’s Manifesto doesn’t mention or reference parking, whether cycle parking, free parking at hospitals or private parking. Perhaps the party has forgotten that parking exists! Which is slightly strange as parking and traffic management services are essential and the way they are managed impacts on everyone.

Pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users can all be affected by poorly parked vehicles. Cars that obstruct footways, dropped kerbs, pedestrian crossings, junctions, bus stops, bus lanes, can all impede access to facilities and services.

Parking itself is a service, provided to enable a mobile society. Everyday millions of people go about their lives precisely because parking is provided and effectively managed. Parking professionals throughout the UK are keeping our streets safe and free from obstruction caused by indiscriminately parked cars.

Well managed parking improves road safety, keeping children safe when they enter and leave school. It enables servicing and deliveries to take place, and protects spaces for residents or people with disabilities. It improves access to high streets and town centres, shopping centres and leisure centres that would become congested and inaccessible if parking wasn't managed. Good regulations and sensible management can help revitalise the high street and support local residents, motorists, and businesses.

From the Lib Dems Manifesto we did note the following policies:

  1. Devolve more decision-making power over key levers of economic development including transport, housing and skills
  2. Ensure environmental obligations are met by passing five green laws, including a Green Transport Act, and Zero-Carbon Britain Act which focus on High-quality public transport

Parking must be considered in both of these key areas as it is an essential traffic management tool. Even if parking demand reduces due to a change in attitudes towards car ownership and/or further use of public transport, park and ride, car sharing schemes and workplace parking levies, 34 million cars will still require a parking space at some point.

The BPA has now launched its own Manifesto for Parking. We think that the next UK government should put parking at the forefront of their plans and act in the following key areas to ensure a smarter and more sustainable future:

  1. Local devolution must empower our big cities and provide integrated transport solutions in a way not seen before except in London. The BPA believes that where possible consistency should be ensured to prevent confusion and improve fairness in parking management by extending provisions in London to outside London and the review all Penalty Charges, for the first time since 2001 so that they are the correct value. Government should also make parking reports mandatory for local authorities, increasing transparency and accountability by local authorities to their community which will improve the comprehension of parking management. ,
  2. To meet environmental obligations it is necessary to support and encourage the parking profession to invest and innovate in sustainable products and services. The Government and public must appreciate this and support this. The parking profession can assist by promoting the use of technologies to improve drivers’ location of available parking spaces which will reduce circulating traffic, shorten journey time and reduce congestion for everyone.

So what will happen? The latest election poll tracker suggests that the Lib Dems are below where they were when the election was announced. With only nine days to go there is still much for all parties to play for!

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