Parking has always been controversial. On the one hand residents expect to be able to park outside their own home – or at least within a reasonable distance. On the other hand we car drivers all know the inconvenience of spending ages circling around trying to find a parking slot when none seems to be available. In Gomm Road SE16 this has become a real problem for residents. Because the road is located close to the leisure centre (and more distantly Canada Water station) and Southwark Park, the road’s parking has become  occupied for long periods of the week by people who do not live there. The result has been several complaints to the parking team at Southwark that parking has become impossible in the whole street.

As a consequence of these complaints, the Parking Design team at Tooley Street have made proposals to control parking in three specific areas around Canada Water as well as making more accessible for park users the parking in Southwark Park. The consultation is now drawing toward a close and views – for and against – are welcome until the deadline of 19 June 2015. The three areas are close to the existing Rotherhithe Parking Zone:

  • Canada Street, part of Quebec Way and Roberts Close
  • Canon Beck Road, Albion Street (north of Swan Road) and Kilburn Street
  • Gomm Road, including Ann Moss Way, Culling Road and Orange Place on the east side and Hothfield Place on the west side

Views – for and against – are welcome until the deadline of 19 June 2015

The parking controls proposed for Southwark Park cover the Jamaica Gate entrance – the road the leads east-west to the south end of Gomm Road – and the Hawkstone Road car park. In both locations, the Council is keen to encourage more available parking for park users rather than acting as a spill over from the neighbouring residential areas which already have parking restrictions. Some residents – and a few commuters – are using the park’s limited parking to avoid paying the cost of a permit in their own streets. Consultation has as a result focused on the views of park users. The Council are proposing a four-hour time limit to encourage turn-over of space and so enable more people to enjoy the park’s facilities. They are also suggesting extending the number of disabled bays in the Jamaica Gate entrance car park.

Parking Stress

Leipzig_Street by Hardstyler CC WikipediaThe Council does significantly rely on complaints about parking being raised with them from residents. When a cluster of such complaints are received, they are able to instigate a parking stress study which provides them with an hour-by-hour breakdown of parking space usage in the selected street or streets. The study will give the officers a clear picture of the length of stay of individual vehicles and hence an indication of the types of user most frequently on that street. If a car is regularly parked eight or nine hours on weekdays, then it might be fair to assume they are a commuter. If a car is there once for two or three hours at weekends, then you could assume a visitor might be calling by. These different patterns add up to a score of stress on each road’s parking; the higher number of parking vehicles at any one time compared to the number of physical spaces. In Rotherhithe, the most stressed road is Elephant Lane where parking stress is registered at 280% due to much illegal parking in very few spaces!

parking has become impossible in the whole street.

These studies can highlight where the parking problem is worst and where better. Then comes the complex work of making proposals about the nature of the restrictions that might improve the parking situation for residents. Any parking zone requires each resident who owns a car to purchase a parking permit at £125 pa which is a significant disincentive for residents to demand a parking zone. But the proof is that once installed streets that once were completely parked up all day and often all night as well become much more pleasant for everyone to enjoy. The charge for parking in those streets with paid parking available is currently £2.50 an hour. All income from parking must by law be spent on improving the roads and not syphoned off to elsewhere in the Council’s budget.

Changing patterns

Of course a parking zone can just move the problem from the zone to neighbouring streets. The Parking Design team are very aware of this problem and recognise that parking patterns change over time with many different factors playing out. One is certainly the transfer of parking from a newly installed zone to the next streets but the arrival of new build flats or conversion of use can also add additional strain to street parking if planning has not allowed for enough off-street parking. And the danger to pedestrians and cyclists of badly parked vehicles can on occasion lead to injury or fatalities. Businesses often want customers to be able to access their premises for short periods all through the day and park within a few yards of the building. They also need to receive goods that may require a large lorry to be parked for a significant time in an inconvenient spot. All these pressure and others are evident in the efforts of parking planners to make workable proposals.

In this case, the consultation is underway. You have until Friday 19 June to make your views known. Once the consultation closes, the analysis of the responses will be reported to the Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Community Council in October when the officers will make a recommendation based on the survey, consultation responses and their professional judgement. The discussion will then be taken by the cabinet member for transport to the next Cabinet meeting and the decision made. That will mean that if implemented the zone or zones will function from February or March 2016.

You can comment on whether you think the restrictions should be for part of the day – for example 10:00-14:00 – or all day – say 08:30-18:30. You can suggest whether you think Saturday should be included or not. But you can also share your own ideas around the design, the impact on roads around and the location of disabled bays. But get your voice heard!