Residents say: No to CPZ Yes to Fair Transport!

 

 

Photo:   Teena  Lashore

Photo: Teena Lashore

Rectory Rollers (residents mainly from the CPZ Consultation area: R Zone) have arranged a Community Powwow event for Sunday 2 June 2013 on Stoke Newington Common at the junction of Brook and Rectory Road, N16, between 1 to 5pm.

The aim of the powwow is to seek residents’ views about how to alleviate the parking stresses in the area, prior to Hackney Council undertaking another public consultation on Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ).

Community members have worked tirelessly to address what they see is the Councils’ bias approach in introducing CPZ across the borough, and they aim to offer residents a range of alternatives measures to managing their car use, car parking and transport generally.

According to the RAC Report of Dec 2012: On the Move, residential car ownership in London is on a natural decline and private car journeys have continued to fall consistently over the last ten years.

Given the above, it is odd that Hackney Council chooses to continue introducing CPZs to manage car parking when car trips are less, ownership is falling and where the borough has ample garages and space in which those who do still own a vehicle could park.

The research notes that women, regardless of ethnicity, are increasing their use of personal vehicles; however, the research suggests this is generally where women are likely to be living with older relatives.  In Hackney, where there is mixed housing (home ownership, Housing Associations and shared ownerships etc), the lack of high paying local jobs means it is likely that many working women are using cars as a tool to manage the logistics of being parents and carers for other older relatives.  This means a CPZ is likely to impact adversely on those families where women are working and caring for relatives.

Given that women are still less likely to acquire a driving licence until much later than their male counterparts, any increase in women driving will still be insignificant upon the overall use of private cars as the report shows that car journeys creeps up toward retirement age and is mainly in suburban areas, not in London.

The CPZ legislation is clear that the council can charge for parking but the revenue raised must be used to relieve congestion and address parking – as the top priorities.  The funds raised in Hackney over the last two years alone consist of some £13 million and given that Hackney’s CPZ have been operational for the last nine years, it is clear that a considerable amount of money has been raised.  Despite such an income, there appears no evidence of parking services engaging with big business and local shops in the area to develop travel plans.  Little has been achieved by way of bringing back into use the existing car parking spaces and little has been done with taking an open approach to car clubs.

Rectory Rollers believe the fundamental problem with parking not only in the R Zone but in the borough generally, is that the overarching document: Parking Enforcement Plan (PEP) 2010-2015 was updated privately by the cabinet at the end of April 2013 instead of going out to the general public under a consultation.  This effectively means the PEP is unable to capture new ways of managing parking from residents, thus making the process of a CPZ a fait accompli.

By engaging the community with transport reports (RAC and TFL) while at the same time offering residents real choices, such as the guaranteed Lifetime Free Membership to Car2Go.  (Car2Go operates like a PAYG Oyster card; you do not have to return the vehicle to a set location; and it does not require a parking bay.  This differs significantly from Zip Car, which does not offer free membership and requires users to return the vehicles to specific parking bays).

Given car journey patterns in Hackney, it is more likely that Car2Go would also benefit residents’ travel needs; especially for things like shopping or taking a relative to hospital – as there is no charge for parking and the vehicle can be left almost anywhere – even in different London boroughs!

Rectory Rollers believe that they are bringing the area of transport, development and parking to the community for an open debate.  Such an approach is more likely to capture contemporary tools for managing parking.  In contrast, the existing PEP fails to offer such an holistic approach and is therefore arguably an inflexible tool for residents.

The Powwow format offers something for everyone and has been arranged by residents keen to capture the views of their neighbours while at the same time exploring travel plans and transport tools that will take the neighbourhood into the future.  Rectory Rollers argue that by saying ‘No’ to any CPZ consultation now, this is likely to open the door for transport development and allow Hackney residents a real opportunity to update and improve the PEP in the Borough wide review scheduled for 2014.

 

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