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Controlling parking

Parking control is often a very under-utilised tool for managing the demand for travel. An area-wide parking strategy can be used to restrict parking supply and/or increase charging levels.

Stephen McLaren

Interventions can be at a range of scales. Regional or sub-regional policy might seek to link parking supply to the accessibility of public transport, with reduced parking provision and higher charges around public transport nodes. This increases the relative attractiveness of public transport.

The Surrey Parking Strategy illustrates how parking supply can be linked to accessibility levels.

At a city scale, Nottingham City Council is developing a workplace parking levy, where employee parking spaces are subject to a charge. In Copenhagen, the number of parking spaces in the city centre was gradually reduced alongside the development of public realm and public transport policies to popular acceptance.

English Partnerships (now part of the Homes and Communities Agency) published a toolkit – Car Parking: What Works Where. The Department for Communities and Local Government has moved from national standards for parking to locally determined levels.

A local area parking strategy at neighbourhood and site level might seek to:

  • reduce parking supply, at origin and destination, including at commercial, retail and residential sites. The Vauban development in Freiburg limits parking in the residential area and provides multi-storey parking on the edge of the site. Access to the car is thus designed to be further away than access to the public transport network. Reiselfeld in Freiburg has developed underground parking as an integral part of the new development;
  • include park and ride schemes – there are many around, for example, in Nottingham, Oxford and Cambridge;
  • link parking supply to vehicle emissions – for example, provide priority spaces for low-emission vehicles as at the London Boroughs of Westminster and Richmond upon Thames;
  • provide priority spaces for car clubs
  • maxmise integrated, secure cycle parking provision.

Home Zones

A Home zone can be developed to reduce vehicle speeds, reduce the visual impact of cars and promote the street as an amenity space. Based on the ‘woonerf’ concept, pioneered in the 1970s in the Netherlands, home zones attempt to balance space for vehicular traffic, pedestrians, cyclists and residents.

A number of pilot schemes have been developed in the UK, including in Clifton, Nottingham; West Ealing, London; Morice Town, Plymouth; New England, Peterborough and Northmoor, Manchester.

The Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers provides design guidance and case studies for home zones in the UK.

Car restricted developments can also be developed in areas with good public transport accessibility; these can include car-free developments. There are a number of examples, including in Edinburgh and Camden, London. The scheme in Florisdorf, Vienna is of a typical size, for 245 flats with 1 car space per 10 flats – and these are reserved for the car club. There are good links to the tram and cycle routes into the city centre. The space not used for car parking is used for leisure and common use facilities – a large play and green area has been developed. Inhabitants sign a binding declaration not to own a car whilst living in Florisdorf.

New means of car ownership are developing in popularity, including car sharing schemes, car clubs and car hire schemes. There are again many examples around, such as city car club, carplus and streetcar. By providing low emission vehicles these have proven very successful at reducing car use and impact. Car club members have been found to reduce their annual mileage by over 50 per cent. Car clubs also deliver benefits to the quality of places with each car taking between 5 to 11 cars off the road, reducing the need for parking. Local authorities can encourage the use of these by providing space for car club parking.

Priority: reduce car use and improve the carbon efficiency of vehicles
Tags: public space, transport, regions and subregions, cities and towns, neighbourhoods

CABE and Urban Practitioners
with the cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield