Nov 05 2013

20-minutes Free Parking – The Story Continues…

parking_ticketGot a few hours spare tonight? You can go along to Harrow Council’s Call-In meeting on the 20-minutes free Parking saga in Rayners Lane.

This is the trial where visitors to the area could get 20 minutes free, but simply visiting a ticket machine. However, it’s proved to provide something like only a 2% increase in footfall, and is costing in the region of £3000 per week in lost income. There are even reports of some visitors taking multiple 20-minute free parking tickets, and staying far longer than their permitted time – something virtually undetectable by traffic wardens.

We’re all for some kind of free parking scheme right across the borough, but the current scheme is flawed. It needs revisiting, to prevent the kind of abuse seen above, however, that’s going to cost significant extra money – new payment machines, for example. And, of course, you can’t do pay-by-phone for free parking – there is a ‘convenience charge’ of 20p for each pay-by-phone ticket: hardly free.

The council needs to look at this again, and find a better way. The trial was just that: a trial. It didn’t prove much, having been in place for only a short time, it showed a minimal increase in footfall, but failed to determine where that additional footfall came from – perhaps North Harrow saw a 2% drop as a result of the Rayners Lane trial?

As it stands, to roll out this scheme across the borough would cost around £1,000,000 per year, which, very roughly, would be the equivalent of around 1% on the Council Tax to support it. Residents rightly want to be encouraged to shop locally, but a better way must be found. We’d urge the council to look at Hillingdon’s parking schemes, determine the cost of it’s implementation here (some £4,000,000 I believe, in Hillingdon) and ask the public of Harrow what they want. To push ahead with extending this trial in its current, flawed, state, isn’t the right thing to do.

Meeting details: 6.30pm in Committee Room 5, November 5, 2013. Click here for the paperwork.

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1 comment

  1. keith

    A though on 20 minutes free parking

    Was it effective? Not sure, biggest issue is finding a parking space in Rayners Lane shopping center, not easy! But there is free parking in roads near by, especially with the CPZ’s stopping commuter parking.

    We are all encouraged to take exercise, so a double bonus, exercise too!

    I agree that the data from such a short period could well not be conclusive and would certainly not welcome an extra penny on the rates!

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