Why Lincoln needs free residents’ parking

Conservative Councillor Marc Jones is the Deputy Leader of the City of Lincoln Council.

Resident parking is not a new concept in Lincoln.

Over the past few years we have seen it creeping slowly across city streets, covering an ever more patchwork range of locations. For those who want to park near their home and fall inside the permit zone, it’s usually seen as a positive thing.

To those who live on the next street but fall outside the zone, it’s not such good news, as they wake up to find displaced commuters, shoppers and students filling up their street instead. This leads to more requests for resident parking zones and on the relentless spread goes.

I’ve always been a great supporter of residents parking, but know from speaking to people first hand that the current scheme just isn’t enough. To work properly, an urban citywide scheme should be put in place, permits should be free to all residents, paid for by the increase in car park income that would inevitably result from effective enforcement in the side streets.

It may even be possible to lower car park charges to make visiting Lincoln even more attractive if the number of users would rise. The scheme must operate 24 hours a day. It’s no good having a scheme that only operates when you are at work but you can’t park. The key to making a citywide resident scheme work is effective enforcement. Without it, it just won’t work.

Following Lincolnshire Police’s announcement to withdraw traffic wardens from April 2011, they have given the City Council assurances that until 2012, when the County Council take over enforcement, officers and PCSO’s will not let the standard drop and will be issuing tickets to ensure that resident parking is maintained. After that the County Council will have effective enforcement in place.

Of course, there will always be other considerations, such as working to get quality bus services for commuters, shoppers etc., to lower the number of cars entering the city; this means decent bus shelters and bus priority lanes to encourage people on to public transport, as well as clean busses that run to time.

So it’s not just about enforcement but it should in my opinion be about making Lincoln work for those who live here and pay council tax for the privilege first and for most without losing site of the importance of all of those for whom Lincoln is a place of work, rest or play.


Footnotes:
— The City of Lincoln Council received £129,629 in 2009/2010 from 5,034 parking permits;
— £40,000 from residents’ parking charges were paid to Lincolnshire Police for two Lincoln traffic wardens;
Marc Jones aspires to make urban Lincoln 100% free residents’ parking in about two years.