Car parking is of one of the main ‘issues’ in any place – there’s not enough, it’s too expensive, it’s difficult to find or use, the Council needs to <insert idea here>.
There are no magic solutions. It’s all about managing the issues and really thinking about what you want for your place.
Parking is treated differently to almost any other issue. We never demand a pizza joint provide free pizzas. Or a new restaurant be built because the first one is full. Or the Council provide free public transport. But we demand more free parking as it seems like the answer.
Plenty of places have found that they can be more successful and have less car parking. Car parking is very expensive to provide and manage, which means that there is less money to do other things. Each place is different, but here are some ideas and key messages which might help you.
- Car parking issues can’t be “solved”, but they can be better managed. There are no quick fixes. It is more effective, easier and cheaper to manage parking issues in better ways.
Key Messages for Businesses
- Do you really want more parking? If so, that is your responsibility in the first instance.
- Or do you really want more money in your till?
- That is a much more productive conversation to have as there may be many other options: local events, increasing pedestrian footfall, place marketing, a Shop Local campaign, creating better places for people, street trading & promotions.
- The National Heart Foundation has prepared a report that explores the benefits of creating walking and cycling friendly environments. The Good For Busine$$ report shows the increased business and vitality provided by focussing on pedestrians and cyclists.
You Need to Prioritise
Does your business want to prioritise parking for your customers, or for your staff? You can’t prioritise both, so you need to decide what’s best for your business. Create an action plan to help your customers and staff get to and from your business, including which users you will prioritise.
Key Messages for Residents
- What kind of place do we want to create – a place for cars or a place for people?
- Car parking is very expensive to provide, particularly off-street car parking, as land prices are high in most town centres.
- Car parking is not “free” as someone has to set aside land for, construct and maintain car parking areas. We all pay for “free “car parking through consumer prices, taxes or government rates. We pay a high price for “free” parking.
- This means that people who do not drive effectively subsidise people who do drive and park for free.
- We don’t expect a free meal when we go to a restaurant. Why do we expect free parking?
- Popular places are usually perceived to have a lack of car parking. Parking issues can actually be a sign of success.
- Increasing car parking supply will lead to more traffic in the local area.