Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Urban parking presures

Monday morning, I had to drive over to Adamsdown for a bereavement visit. I had intended to refuel the car over the weekend, but my usual refuelling stop  was closed for renovation, and after that I forgot to look for another, and I noticed the car's fuel gauge was almost on empty after choosing a route across town on which there were no filling stations. After a circuit of Splott and Adamsdown, I went to the one on Newport Road, just in the nick of time. 

Then, I had to hunt for a parking pace close to the house I was visiting, and discovered that every street for half a mile was subject to the restriction of parking permits for residents only. There was plenty of space, as many residents would have drive to work, but if a traffic warden showed up in my absence, I'd get fined or even clamped. Fortunately, after parking briefly on the pavement outside my destination, my hosts let me drive into the gated yard behind their apartment block. Better late than never! 

Tuesday lunchtime, I drove Clare to another appointment at the Heath. Due to traffic queues, I had to drop her off to walk the last quarter of a mile, while I joined vehicles crawling around the hospital ring road. The main visitor car park had a 'Full' notice outside, whether this was true or not - cars were still entering and leaving I noticed, not even the most basic modern technology was available displaying the number of empty spaces for hopeful drivers entering to compete over, so I left the campus to look for a parking place in the Gabalfa area adjacent to the hospital on the opposite side of the A48 ring road. This too is a parking permits for residents only zone, with many empty spaces, so the best thing to do was drive home. I couldn't join Clare for her half hour appointment, nor could I let her know, as I'd left my phone on charge. I was back only ten minutes when she let me know she'd finished, in response to my belated text message.

I hate having to use a car in town, but sometimes, like today and yesterday, it was unavoidable. Across the city the demand for parking spaces exceeds supply. Our street resisted the imposition of parking permits, residents preferring to take their chances when it comes to securing a parking space. With quite a mobile group of residents this works, sort of, although any night arriving home after dark it's pretty certain I'll have to hunt for a space several hundred yards from home. We have more cars than houses, with less available space than an average side street because of space was taken, decades ago, to narrow the entrance with two oversized islands, housing trees. There's enough room for an extra 4-6 cars to park safely on them, whenever we get to parking overflow and regular space is used, but people end up getting parking fines. Regulated parking means that spaces empty during the day can't be occupied by anyone else on a casual basis, without risking a fine. A much smarter solution is needed that this if only to reduce congestion from drivers circulating slowly looking for a usable empty space.

Sometimes, I just wish we lived somewhere rural, where there's plenty of space to park on demand, but to do so would entail having to use a car to get anywhere at all, more than I ever want to. I wonder, if it would be cheaper to give up car ownership, and use just taxis and public transport when necessary, long before age and infirmity obliges us to.

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