Ask Windsor residents what they like about living here and you’re likely to hear about the sense of community, the sense of history and (aside from the planes above head), the tranquility and open space. However, ask what people don’t like and parking comes pretty near to the top of the list.
The simple fact is that most of Windsor’s residential roads were built before cars ere even invented. We now have a situation where many families have more than one car. There just isn’t the space. This means that residents are often left parking a substantial distance from their home or parking illegally. Ask whether the latter is acceptable, and whether fines should be enforced, and you’re in for a heated debate!
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that illegal parking isn’t an inconvenience. Earlier this year my son needed an emergency ambulance. The driver was unable to get to the hospital by the fastest route because two cars were parked on the junction, on double yellow lines. We were lucky – the treatment he needed could be provided by the paramedics. In other circumstances, and for other patients, this delay won’t just be an inconvenience.
This story isn’t meant to scare or shock but to make the point that the issues around parking aren’t just gripes. Parking illegally is risky for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Our council needs to implement creative solutions. They have tried – pictured is the empty car park of a local business, the management of which were approached to request they allow overnight parking. They refused and it appears our council gave up.
Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of urgency to continue to push to solve this for residents.
Liberal Democrats in local government can’t magic solutions but we do recognise that problems have multiple causes and need multifaceted solutions. This includes the following:
* Reducing the need for multiple car ownership (good for space, the environment and your pockets)
* Incentivising the owners of unused parking space to open up to the general public when space is under pressure
* Ensuring that new-build property includes parking space and doesn’t create more pressure
This isn’t a quick fix. This issue has developed over decades and needs persistence. However, once these policies are progressed, we think the arguments about deterring illegal parking won’t be quite so passionate!