When we were out doorknocking in preparation for the election, one of the things that consistently came up on the doorstep was parking. Particularly on Sebert Road, residents told us they were unhappy that they couldn’t park near their houses.
Generally, I am sorry to say that I learnt quite early on to start conversations about parking by saying, with a smile, “The thing about parking is that no one is happy. People who live in a place where parking is restricted aren’t happy. People who live in a place where it’s not restricted aren’t happy. No one is happy.” Whilst this sounds a bit pessimistic and defestist, I find this tends to break the ice, we both have a short dark laugh about how difficult parking is, and we can then explore the specific issue they are raising properly.
Now, the Council is consulting on creating a new Resident Parking Zone (RPZ) in Forest Gate North. The proposed area includes Sebert Road, Barwick Road and Horace Road, the early (Western-most) part of Capel Road.
An RPZ means restricting parking during certain hours to those who live there. If there is a problem in a road where people who do not live there are parking there, an RPZ can be a good solution. You have probably noticed that parking is often restricted near train stations, for example, to try to prevent people from parking up for the day, then hopping on the train for their commute. If you live within a RPZ you can apply for a resident’s permit, which you display in your car. People who visit you and want to park in the zone will need to display visitors’ permits, which you can obtain and give to them. People who do not live on your road cannot park there, which should make it easier for residents to park.
Whilst this all may sound positive, RPZs can be controversial and difficult to get right. Whilst the first permit is free, there are charges for subsequent permits, which means an RPZ may be a less attractive option if your household has more than one car. You may find it inconvenient to give visitors permits, or some people object entirely to having to display a permit to park outside their home. Another important factor is the ‘knock-on’ effect that an RPZ has on neighbouring roads. Sometimes parking problems are simply transferred from one road to the next, which then requests its own RPZ and in turn moves the problem on to the next road. There is no easy answer to this.
Consultation packs went out to all those who live in the area over the weekend, and have already caused some discussion (if you haven’t received one, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address to ask for one). I knew this was going to be an early baptism of fire into Council business when I had two separate people collar me to ask me about it on the school run on Monday!
The most important thing to bear in mind is that this is a genuine consultation. The Council has no particular position on RPZs: they are created where enough residents want them, and not created where there isn’t the desire for them. So if you have strong feelings about the proposal, either way, this is your chance to respond and have your views heard.
The corollary to this is that at the end, whatever is decided, there are strong opinions on each side, so not everyone will be happy. But this is your chance to have your say. Do chat to me, or to Ellie or Seyi if you see us. But please also make sure you respond to the consultation and say what you want to happen.
I am sure there will be more to say, and further blog posts on this!
For now, good night.