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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Inconsistent Parking Policy

Predictably, former Cllr Paul Lorber is attacking Brent Council's parking policies here.  Cllr Southwood explains the broad reasoning behind the strategy.  Essentially the reasons for the charges (and the whole principle of regulation) are to do with the need to regulate traffic, rationing very limited space and environmental benefits particularly in terms of air quality.  Before winning office in 2006, Paul Lorber and Liberal Democrat colleagues were promising free CPZ parking, a promise they reneged on in office. 

However, if the Council supports the use of charges, and very steep rises in charges, for the purposes cited, how does that square with the free parking policy at certain sites in the run up to Christmas?  Doesn't that encourage car use in the way that raising car parking charges is designed to discourage?  Isn't following both policies at once rather contradictory?

In fact, I don't believe that the free parking policy is going to be much use to Brent Town Centres, and my reasons are these:

  • When I was looking at changes to Harlesden Town Centre, I was assured that only about 15% of shoppers to an average London Town Centre came by car.  Most travel on foot or by public transport.
  • To some extent, the free parking policy will encourage negative factors such as poor air quality and traffic congestion that make the centres less attractive to shop in.
  •  Thirdly, the free parking only forms an attraction where there are Council parks that are part of the scheme.  Places like Kilburn High Road lose out from any supposed benefit because it has no Council owned park.
It all seems to be a rather unclear set of policies.

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