Friday, January 29, 2010

The St Thomas' RPZ

The latest addition to St Helier's Residents' Parking Zones or RPZs went live at the beginning of the year. As with the previous RPZs, Cheapside and St Mark's, there have been teething problems; for people on the waiting list to get a permit it is particularly frustrating not being able to use the areas which were previously disc parking, while some residents who already have off-street parking are concerned about whether there are enough spaces provided for visitors. At the meeting accompanying the launch of the new RPZ, held for obvious reasons in St Thomas church hall, a number of useful suggestions were made, especially about how the number of parking spaces available may be increased, and the team at the Town Hall is looking into the proposals. These include making it legal to park on some parts of the street that are currently yellow-lined and removing some of the 'ugly' concrete planters, some of which have pretty stunted trees in them.

Most of the feedback we have received has been positive: residents of streets previously clogged up in the evenings and weekends by high-sided commercial vehicles are delighted to get some light in their windows; the Parish Wardens, whose activities are funded by the permit fee, are adding to the sense of security in town streets; in St Helier, as elsewhere, residents' parking adds to the sense of living in a particular neighbourhood, spares residents the headache of having to move their vehicles all the time, and means that if you live in town and want to drive out to the beach or the countryside you have a pretty good chance of being able to park in the vicinity of your home when you come back.

Though I don't qualify for a RPZ permit, I still get a real buzz when I walk in town streets and see the permits in the windscreens of most vehicles. It's the kind of practical politics that got me into this in the first place, and it takes me back to the first meetings of the working group which were held in the language school I ran in Don Street. Martyn Gallery was there, Bernie Manning, Jenny Bridge and several others. The latest RPZ has taken 12 years to deliver, but that's still not quite as long as the Millennium Town Park or a parish-wide recycling scheme.


Nick Palmer said...

The latest RPZ has taken 12 years to deliver, but that's still not quite as long as the Millennium Town Park or a parish-wide recycling scheme.

Can't wait for St Helier to help the new incinerator last longer by diverting all those resources towards recycling facilities, instead of disposal by fire...

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I resent (STRONGLY!) having a ridiculously hard time parking anywhere near my mother's flat in order to check on her welfare, while a great big long row of spaces is empty but reserved for the locals.

I really don't see what was wrong with First Come First Served.

There's too much 'micro-management' and government meddling these days.

Anonymous said...

How many people who live as lodgers have obtained these permits?
Perhaps you have stats to show how Jersey discrimination policies make life doubly difficult for workers without "quals"?
Or perhaps you just don't care.

Simon Crowcroft said...

The problem raised by the second comment in relation to visitor parking is proving a real headache in this particular RPZ where there aren't the alternative car parks you can find in the other zones. So I am reviewing the provision of visitor parking in the St Thomas RPZ as a matter of urgency. Also the 10pm deadline, as I am already hearing stories of people having to break off their meal in a local restaurant to move their car!

In response to the 'first come, first served' idea, that would lead to the previous regime where the worst case scenario was for all available visitor parking to be bagged, for example, at 5pm on a Friday evening, and not moved till the following Monday.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for publishing my comment #2 and answering. I still think First Come First Served is fairest - and I say that as someone who did live in town a few years back and did suffer the ground floor van blocking the light problem. I just accepted it as an occasional downside to living in town. That was my choice - living in town had many benefits and some you win, some you lose.

Timed disc parking may be an answer then, although I understand you need to raise revenue to pay for the new policing of the zones.

However, that immediately raises alarm bells here - anything that needs paying for like that has to be questioned :)

Are you sure you're not trying to solve a problem that wasn't that bad to start with?

Simon Crowcroft said...

The argument that having your daylight blocked by large vans all weekend is something to be put up with as part of the downside of town living won't wash with most of the residents of such streets. And we are taking steps to provide alternative parking sites for 'white van person' so we won't be seen as adding to the difficulties already faced by the person who needs a van as part of their business.

The change from free disc parking to paid scratch card was, surprisingly enough, not done to make money. In fact the cost of running the RPZ including the extra policing carried out by Parish Wardens, is entirely met by the revenue from the permits. I've been asking why scratch cards were introduced in previously disc areas myself, as I hate the darn things! So, yes, we may revert to them - watch this space.
Was it necessary to introduce RPZs at all? I've explained in other posts and in other media why I think residents' parking is a useful way to improve the quality of life for town residents; in summary, it makes it easier for residents to make car journeys (the way people can in other parishes) and know there's a reasonable chance of being able to park when they get home.
But we know that the needs of visitor parking need to be addressed, as well as the chronic shortage of parking spaces in some parts of town, and we're addressing these issues as a matter of urgency.

Anonymous said...

wow! for a moment I thought that i had accidently logged on to a similar site!

This St.Thomas RPZ is really annoying me for many reasons. I will not bore you with the full list in one visit.
I question the whole idea of giving over our streets to private parking,and priviledged parking.Those of us who can afford it can have it. Yes,I appreciatte that its probably cheaper than all sorts of other perking and that it works out at a pittance a week,but as one who is struggling on a pittance a week I am now faced with the posibilty of disposing of my vehicle.
Am I the only one in this predicament?
At present my vehicle is left on the ouskirts of town.Use of it has to be carefully planned in advance
with the weather coming into the equation as i have to walk to it.
Occasionally i leave it in Sand street car park and walk the half mile home.Dreading next winter if I still own a vehicle.
I arrived home last night,unloaded goods from my vehicle,then drove to Sand street car park.My back had been giving me grief for most of the day.As I limped out of the car park, I reconsidered my situation and the walk ahead of me,turned round,returned to my vehicle and drove back home,passing through the almost desserted PRZ area in the parade.Outside my home was an empty RPZ but being a conscientious old motorist I opted not to deprive a permit holder a space and instead parked on an adjacent yellow line instead. The car was removed by 7.30 so as not to offend anyone and i remained out of town for the remainder of the day only returning after 5pm,when its safe to get free space in Sand street car park.
Am now planning my stategy for tomorrow.If no commitments then I shall find free parking and abandon my vehicle for days till next needed.The fifteen minute walk wont kill me!