CPZs - lowering the democratic bar for grey goo

"I earned capital in this campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. When you win, there is ... a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view, and that's what I intend to tell Congress, that I made it clear what I intend to do as the president; now let's work."
- George W Bush

Every time we're forced to revisit the subject of Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) we're more convinced that they should only ever be introduced as a last resort, because they produce more unpleasant side effects than Substance D. But Lewisham Council's 2013 Parking Policy Review recommends measures to make it easier for them to impose them on local communities:

1. Reduce the vote in favour required in local consultations from 55% to 50%. Given that a turnout of only 10% is enough for the vote to be considered valid, this means that only 5% need be in favour of a CPZ for it to be imposed on everyone.

2. Streets that vote against the CPZ may nonetheless have one imposed on them if it is necessary for the effective implementation of the scheme.

While the second recommendation seems eminently sensible (in a "democracy just doesn't work" sort of way), the first recommendation is completely unjustifiable - the voting threshold ought to be raised, not lowered. Before unleashing the T-Rex of CPZs into a chaotic system like Lewisham's streets, the Council should have to be able to demonstrate a significant majority supports the idea.

It's an open secret that Lewisham oversteps the law, using CPZ income to pay for other local transport services and takes this income-generating potential into consideration when evaluating future CPZ projects. The review notes that:

Proportionally, on-street parking income funded approximately 50% of the Council’s spend on highways maintenance and improvements in 2011/12, although it can be seen from the above that income from Pay and Display and Permits mostly cover the cost of managing and enforcing parking services...

Whilst it is recognized that new CPZs will generate additional income, the financing of the costs of implementation, and abortive costs on those schemes that do not proceed, will need to be considered as a part of the council’s overall financial strategy.


At a time when Council funding is being severely squeezed, introducing new CPZs or whacking the prices up on existing ones are tempting strategies. Car owners tend to be better off and those who own their homes tend to benefit from appreciating house prices by way of compensation. But every time a new CPZ is introduced, it causes all sorts of unforeseen problems.

16 comments:

B said...

Sigh.

dave said...

We pay an annual charge for parking in Lewisham but also pay through the nose for visitor permits ... Should they be free or am I misunderstanding?

Vicar's Knickers said...

CPZ's and parking tickets in general are nothing more than another method of taxation. I have a friend in Lambeth and his CPZ is based on car emissions
and he pays more than double the amount I pay for the same size car. Just waiting for Lewisham to do the same.

Vicar's Knickers said...

Car owners tend to be better off

Certainly there are some car owners on local social housing estates who are better off, as they can afford newish German cars and have free parking.

those who own their homes tend to benefit from appreciating house prices by way of compensation



I can't see how increased house prices are a compensation for the amount a CPZ permit costs. Unless you can realise the asset and live somewhere cheaper, the price of your house or flat is irrelevant.

Brockley Nick said...

Everyone realises the value of the house they own eventually, even if that's in the inheritance they leave. Cpzs tend to add to the value of homes within them.

Anon said...

How are CPZ's imposed on local communities? People are consulted and vote for or against them. If the majority of people are opposed to them there's a simple solution...vote.
CPZ's are usually proposed in areas where the local community has complained about lack of parking spaces.

Anon said...

And suddenly each household has 2,000 car visitors a year. If you paying through the nose for a visitors permit why not use a taxi?

Brockley Nick said...

What the Council is proposing is that they get rid of a requirement for a majority to vote in favour. The one in Ladywell was introduced because of a relatively minor issue affecting one or two roads and has caused knock-on effects on roads in a wide radius. I'm saying the law of unintended consequences applies to CPZs.

CPZ welcome said...

Personally I do not see any problem with these changes. It may be against the law, but I would be happy if the Council used CPZ money to fill some of the many dangerous street potholes and pavements we have in Brockley.

AliAfro said...

Completely agree with the article. If a CPZ does get introduced then its application in an area has to be by design rather than a slapdash one-road-in, one-road-out arrangement. BUT.... Altering the voting rules suggests the council is trying to sneak these things in via the back door. Personally I don't want a CPZ. If we need to have a discussion about ways of raising revenue then fine - but I wouldn't be happy if the voting rules were re-engineered to allow small vocal minority to get a council wide CPZ introduced, which i believe is one of the options on the table (admittedly thats a worst case scenario).

A said...

Yawn.

Wild Brockley said...

And often why there's a lack of parking spaces is because a CPZ was introduced to the roads next door as has happened in Ladywell.

Vicar's Knickers said...

I think you are forgetting about inheritance tax, which because of the failure of this weak government's failure to tackle it's own enormous borrowing will become a natural focus for their grasping hands.

Anon said...

The reason it's one road in and one out is because people voted that way. In a number of cases the planners have taken into account any knock on affect but one or other road in a scheme has rejected a CPZ thus creating problems for themselves.

Rosie said...

We didn't even get consulted on the extension to the CPZ in Ladywell, even though our property is directly affected by it. Had we been consulted, we'd have voted against it because there was no parking issue on that road. The road with the CPZ is free of cars, while everyone jams up the side streets that don't have CPZs. Essentially, there's now a parking problem that previously didn't exist.

Chris Wheal said...

I read: "We're more convinced that they should only ever be introduced as a last
resort, because they produce more unpleasant side effects" and was interested to know what these were, but either I missed something vital or this posts did not detail them.

I have no car and my street is not in a CPZ (just beyond the border) and rarely has parking issues, so I am unaware what the "unpleasant side effects" are. Could you elaborate please?

I did used to have to take a visitor permit when I visited my grandfather years ago (he was the one without a car then). That was no problem. I am not sure how motorbikes manage or where they display the visitor permit without it being stolen. I seem to remember motorbikes could park without a permit. Is that right in Lewisham CPZs.

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