The council’s recent introduction of the parking card, allowing 30 minutes free parking in pay and display areas, is a marvellous idea. And sometimes it’s a marvellous reality – when the machine accepts the card.
It’s a great help on those days I drop the kids at nursery and just need 5 minutes parking. Not needing to have the right change, or needing to pay for 25 minutes more than I need, makes me smile every time. Of course it did take me about 3 months to work out how to use it, but that’s another story.
But then when I think about the parking in my street, I develop a very different opinion of the Council’s approach.
Now I don’t really mind that we have permit parking – it’s part and parcel of living in London. But I do mind (a great deal) that there are not enough permit parking spaces. These days nearly every house has more than one car, and many houses have multiple flats inside… all with their own vehicles.
When I look up and down my street, I get frustrated that the permit markings do not run the whole length. The zones break every once in a while for about one car’s length. There seems to be no reason for this. There are no driveways, no fire hydrants (is that just in America), no reason at all. Just a random gap. Why?
Of course resident’s permit parking can be a real problem when you have visitors – the plumber, the mother-in-law etc. Fortunately you can buy books of temporary permits and just scratch off the silver foil to select the correct date and time. Straight forward, if you know the date and the time of the zone.
But what’s blindingly infuriating is that the silver foil is so thin that it’s near impossible not to scratch through the foil and then through the date underneath, and almost the entire permit. These permits cost residents £1.10 each, so surely they could be made of firmer stuff?
And then I get to the issue that drives me absolutely insane. On our street, and on each of the neighbouring streets, there’s a marked area that looks absolutely identical to the permit zone. However, this is a zone that only allows you to park for an hour. Even if you have a permit, you can only park for an hour!
And yes, I have been ticketed, on my own street, showing a valid parking permit, on two separate occasions – simply because when I get home late at night to a packed road, I just see a ‘marked’ space and park, with relief. Yes there is a sign. But it’s not that different to the other signs. Aaaaah!
Please please please LBRUT, if you do nothing else, get rid of these special bays! Residents don’t have enough space to park, let’s put our interests ahead of random visitors who don’t know anyone on the road who can get them a temporary permit. We want better parking in Richmond!