Elm Grove Pavement Parking Working Group Meeting – November 2011
Actions from last meeting
Following the last meeting, Cllr Follett had requested technical information from officers regarding the constraints, options, legal situation concerning enforcement and parking standards. He had also been investigating potential funding sources for any capital work which might be proposed.
1. Existing double yellow lines: The Road Safety Team have started an assessment of the existing double yellow line along Elm Grove to ensure that those on place serve a useful purpose. Initial views are that existing restrictions have been put in place for valid road safety reasons and it is unlikely that this exercise will lead to many changes. Action: The Road Safety Team will be carrying out a further site visit. It was agreed to request that one member of this group would be invited to accompany road safety officers on this site visit. Wilf was nominated and accepted this role.
2. Technical information and options Highways officers shared two site plans:
a) Existing restrictions and constraints on Elm Grove: This was drawn up from Traffic Regulation Orders and known location of trees, services etc… and some of these features may have changed. The Road Safety Officer’s site visit will be able to note any relevant amendments. Where parking restrictions are in place because of visibility issues, it may be that the gradient or other features which are not represented in this plan are significant.
b) Potential design for a revised parking scheme at Elm Grove: This was a ‘money no object’ draft based on creating parking bays at locations where the width of the pavement and of the road made this possible. These options were drawn up with reference to central government and Brighton & Hove Council guidelines and policy around parking standards, pavement width etc…
The comparative figures for impact on parking capacity were not available, but officers present expected that the potential redesign would offer a reduced capacity. Action: Officers to provide more accurate comparative capacity figures for the next meeting.
3. Funding and Budget. Cllr Follett confirmed that in the light of current reduction of local authority budgets which were facing significant cuts imposed by central government, it was unlikely that any local authority funding could be identified at the moment to deliver improvements. It was noted however that – if a community supported scheme centred on the whole environment (not just parking) was developed – future funding may be available from central government, although there was nothing currently on the horizon.
4. Discussion. The remainder of the meeting was taken up by discussion around these issues; the key points are outlined below.
a) Accident figures : are they more serious than in other parts of Brighton and how do we know that they are related to vehicle parking?
It is not possible to state to what extent accident figures relate to parking per se, however, when looking to reduce accidents it is sensible to consider the potential for obstructive parking to have an impact. Elm Grove is acknowledged to have a problem around obstructive parking, and considering this must be a part of any road safety improvements response.
If the accident figures can’t be linked to parking, then why do we need to change enforcement arrangements?
Residents complained to the council about lack of parking enforcement and obstruction of the pavement and junctions by illegally parked vehicles. Consideration of the accident statistics was one part of the response to this. Enforcement arrangements must change because it is and remains illegal to park on the road, pavement or verge where a double yellow line is in force.
b) Enforcement. Pavement parking is more of a problem at the bottom of the Grove than at the top. Does enforcement have to cover the whole street?
Enforcement needs to be consistent across the City and the laws around double yellow line enforcement stem from national legislation which a council has a duty to uphold. This means that the council cannot choose to enforce at one location and not at another.
Pavement parking against double yellow lines has been going on for decades on Elm Grove, and the double yellow lines were put in to encourage people to park on the pavements. What has changed now?
Most of the double yellow lines on Elm Grove were put in place in 1981. At this time the grass verge was still in place making it most unlikely that the intention of the lining was to encourage pavement parking. Although local custom has been to park on the pavements, this is not permitted where double yellow lines exist elsewhere in Brighton and in the country.
Because complaints had been recently received, leading to the current process, the council would be in a very difficult position legally if it did not carry out enforcement now, and may face significant liability costs for future accidents if it could be demonstrated that the council consented to obstructive and illegal parking, which is effectively what it would do if it did not now extend legal enforcement to this area.
Who has enforcement powers?
Civil Enforcement Officers can issue parking tickets for offences concerning double yellow lines, but not for obstruction. Sussex Police can take action for obstruction where a vehicle is clearly blocking access to a property or along the pavement. Pavement driving is illegal and police can take action against this although exactly what the circumstances would be is not clear. To take action against pavement driving, the act of driving must be witnessed by the officer – although it may be clear that the only way a vehicle achieved its parking space was to drive along the pavement, just observing a stationary vehicle is not sufficient for prosecution.
Residents can report anti-social driving behaviour such as driving along the pavement via Operation Crackdown. If incidents are logged, it flags up to the police that there are problems in a particular location. http://www.operationcrackdown.org/
c) Vehicle Displacement
The problem is with parking regimes elsewhere: If parking schemes in Hove were amended to free up more general spaces, this would cause a ripple effect across the City and lead to more spaces on Elm Grove
Other parts of the City have voted for their own parking schemes, and we are not in a position in Hanover & Elm Grove to amend schemes democratically arrived at by other communities.
Its not just Elm Grove, but pavement parking happens on all of the side streets leading to Queens Park Road, and this is more obstructive for pedestrians. Will the council be enforcing these streets next?
The proposed enforcement is just concerned with enforcing existing law around double yellow line infringements. It will not affect side streets where double yellow lines or other restrictions are not currently in place.
A variety of figures for potential vehicle displacement have been mentioned. Vehicle counts have recorded between 50 – 100 vehicles in breach of double yellow line regulations and some commentators have suggested that over 300 parking spaces might be lost locally as a result of increased enforcement.
On the evening before the meeting, Simon Bannister (BHCC Environment Improvements) made a vehicle count which showed that although there were 83 vehicles parked in breach of double yellow line regulations, there were also 89 legal vacant spaces on Elm Grove or close to the junctions at side roads, meaning that all vehicles could have been legally parked with no displacement.
Action: Simon to rerun a vehicle count and invite residents to accompany so that a clearer consensus on the impact of displacement can be established.
d) Next Steps
Could the agenda and issues to be covered be better publicised so that residents could come more prepared?
Yes – a sheet was circulated for contact details and everyone on it will be informed. Information will also be posted at www.heglat.wordpress.com and residents are free to contact Cllr Follett firstname.lastname@example.org at any time with suggestions and concerns.
5. Next Meeting: It was agreed to hold a further meeting on Wednesday December 7th, 7pm at Elm Grove School
Suggested topics include:
Feedback from Road Safety Team assessment of existing restrictions
Feedback from proposed vehicle count.
Officers will provide more detail on the impact of a revised parking scheme on parking capacity overall.