ParkingZoneIt would appear the Bristol City Council has put on hold the implementation of the Resident Parking Scheme (RPS) for this area until after 2014, so this gives us all a breathing space.

 

This is what has happened. At the June 24th meeting the Neighbourhood Partnership, in response to the concerns expressed at that meeting from local residents, decided to issue a Public Statement to go to the Cabinet meeting on June 27th 2013.The two points made were firstly about the debacle over managing the RPS for the northern part of Redland ward, and secondly asking for clarification about how far other models of RPS around the country had been considered:

1)  The rollout and consultation on the Resident Parking Scheme (RPS) in this NP area (specifically the area referred to in the BCC guidance as RD) is causing friction between residents due to the different needs and wishes of residents from different parts of the RPS area.  It is very clear that those residents from the part of Redland Ward to the north of Redland Green (generally referred to as Westbury Park) feel very aggrieved at the lack of consultation (time and quality) they have been provided with, whilst those south of Redland Green (and very affected by the spill-over of commuter parking from the south Cotham RPS) are desperate to have the RPS introduced as speedily as possible to provide them with some relief from the appalling parking congestion they are experiencing.  The lack of awareness by Highways officers of the different needs of communities is symptomatic of the poor rollout of this scheme by Bristol City Council.  Residents in the Westbury Park part of the proposed RPS have consistently stated their specific concerns over issues relating to businesses and schools, but feel they are being ignored, and that the scheme is being rushed through.  
There is a simple solution to these different needs:  Roll-out the southern part of the Redland (RD) RPS first, and follow later (after appropriate consultation) with the Westbury Park area.  As it seems likely that this sort of problem will be replicated in other parts of the city, why not learn from this situation and show some sensitivity by doing the right thing here?  The Redland Councillors expressed their support for this dual approach at the NP meeting.

2) Has the Mayor considered schemes other than the model BCC is pursuing?  Have Highways officers researched alternative schemes in operation in the UK and abroad?  For example, restricted parking for much shorter periods of time in the middle of the day, which would have the same desired effect of significantly reducing commuter traffic, whilst having a much reduced effect on residents and people who work in the area.  We do not seek to promote this specific model, but merely cite it as an example of the types of alternative (and less intrusive) schemes that have been successfully used elsewhere to tackle commuter parking in residential areas.  Please can BCC provide information on which other types of scheme it has considered and the reasons for rejecting them?
(The whole Public Statement can be viewed at the end of this article).

 Before the Cabinet meeting a paper was issued summarizing the changes to the RPS across the City that the Mayor was going to consider:
The biggest change to be considered is to build in a thorough review before the eight outermost proposed schemes are progressed further, whilst giving the go-ahead for consultation on the twelve new inner schemes currently at varying stages of development.
This means that he will consider making the previously proposed schemes for Ashton, Bedminster West, Windmill Hill and Totterdown in the south of the city, and Bishopston, Ashley Down, St Andrew’s, and St Werburgh’s not automatically come forward to the formal stages until the effect of the inner schemes are known.  He will consider making those eight outer areas still be the subject of traffic studies, including assessing any displacement of commuter parking problems from neighbouring inner areas as the inner schemes progress.  Under this potential revision, no schemes would be advanced for any of those eight outer areas without a fresh report for decision by the Mayor at a future cabinet meeting, and only once the impact of these studies had shown whether or not a scheme is needed for any of those areas in light of experience with the earlier, inner schemes.

The Mayor was also quoted
 “I’ve always said I was listening, which is why I first brought forward improvements such as the traders’ cross zone permits, the doubling of the free waiting time in pay & display bays, reduced charges for small businesses and more, and a clear statement that I was willing to look at the outer boundaries.  No-one should be surprised that I am now bringing forward these important changes for consideration, in response to well-argued cases.  Bristol’s streets are crammed with far more cars than they were ever possibly built to cope with, exacerbated by the quantity of commuter parking, making radical action needed to cope with the huge traffic challenge I inherited on becoming Mayor.  I’ve still not heard anything to dissuade me from bringing forward more schemes to add to the four already in place, but I hope that today’s major package of changes will show once and for all that I really do listen to reason.”
(The whole paper can be viewed at the end of this article)

Many residents have rightly said that a review of parking should be considered alongside public transport improvements. Because of the de-regulation of the bus network since the 1980’s, local government has less influence over what can be achieved. However Bristol City Council has been using central government grants to make various improvements. If you want to know more about these then read the report to Cabinet on June 27th (the public transport item is on page 4 of this rather lengthy report!).

(The Cabinet Report on Residents’ Parking Schemes can be seen at the end of this article).

Councillors Fi Hance and Sylvia Townsend for Redland Ward met with Highway Department officers on July 2nd. They continued to argue the case for the area north of Redland Green to be treated differently from the area south of the Green, as well as putting forward their views on some of the specifics of the RPS. In her e-newsletter dated 2nd July, Fi Hance said
We also fed back concerns over some of the scheme’s operating principles, such as the number of places available for staff at schools, nurseries, care homes and businesses in the area.  I do strongly feel that what is being offered (ie up to two permits) per workplace, irrespective of staff numbers simply is not workable.  
The upshot of this is that the officers concerned are going to return with their thoughts on the boundary and some options for business permits in a few weeks time.
The Bishopston Society will try to keep you informed of further developments.
Jenny Hoadley
July 2013

 Public Statement to Cabinet
From Bishopston, Cotham and Redland (BCR) Neighbourhood Partnership – Chair, Nick Clark
At our meeting NP meeting of 24th June public statements were made about the Residents’ Parking Schemes in our NP. 
As a Neighbourhood Partnership we accept that the Mayor and his officers are going ahead with the implementation of RPSs.  We support the principle of controlling commuter parking.  We have consistently argued for proper consultation and more effective communication on the implementation of RPSs.  We represent the views of our residents and are neither for nor against the implementation of RPSs in our area. The Mayor has said publicly that local people are best placed to make local decisions, where appropriate, and that the Neighbourhood Partnerships are an ideal forum for those decisions to be heard, passed on and properly considered.  We are happy that the first two of those principles takes place (heard and passed on) but we are disappointed to have been consistently ignored by officers and expect full consideration in writing to all of the following points. 
The following two specific points came out of our NP meeting on Monday 24th June.

1.  The rollout and consultation on the Resident Parking Scheme (RPS) in this NP area (specifically the area referred to in the BCC guidance as RD) is causing friction between residents due to the different needs and wishes of residents from different parts of the RPS area.  It is very clear that those residents from the part of Redland Ward to the north of Redland Green (generally referred to as Westbury Park) feel very aggrieved at the lack of consultation (time and quality) they have been provided with, whilst those south of Redland Green (and very affected by the spill-over of commuter parking from the south Cotham RPS) are desperate to have the RPS introduced as speedily as possible to provide them with some relief from the appalling parking congestion they are experiencing.  The lack of awareness by Highways officers of the different needs of communities is symptomatic of the poor rollout of this scheme by Bristol City Council.  Residents in the Westbury Park part of the proposed RPS have consistently stated their specific concerns over issues relating to businesses and schools, but feel they are being ignored, and that the scheme is being rushed through. 
There is a simple solution to these different needs:  Roll-out the southern part of the Redland (RD) RPS first, and follow later (after appropriate consultation) with the Westbury Park area.  As it seems likely that this sort of problem will be replicated in other parts of the city, why not learn from this situation and show some sensitivity by doing the right thing here?  The Redland Councillors expressed their support for this dual approach at the NP meeting.
2.  Has the Mayor considered schemes other than the model BCC is pursuing?  Have Highways officers researched alternative schemes in operation in the UK and abroad?  For example, restricted parking for much shorter periods of time in the middle of the day, which would have the same desired effect of significantly reducing commuter traffic, whilst having a much reduced effect on residents and people who work in the area.  We do not seek to promote this specific model, but merely cite it as an example of the types of alternative (and less intrusive) schemes that have been successfully used elsewhere to tackle commuter parking in residential areas.  Please can BCC provide information on which other types of scheme it has considered and the reasons for rejecting them?

Points 3 – 9 below have been made before.  Due to what we consider to be unsatisfactory responses (or no responses at all) we are making them again and urge a fair consideration of their merits.  Point 10 is a specific request from the Bishopston Councillors.

3.  Car Commuters  The definition of car commuters has been discussed at length in our NP. We see two types:
a). people driving in from further out, parking in Cotham and Redland and then making their way by foot, bike or bus to the centre.
b). people from outside our area who come in to our neighbourhood to do activities here like working and/or shopping. We welcome them, they are part of our community, they bring in wealth, skills and supply us with services.  We do not want these people or their businesses to be penalised but encouraged.  Business permits for employees have already been stated by the NP as needing to be more flexible and an encouragement to less car use but not a threat. 
The current scheme treats both types of commuters as the same and that is wrong.
4.  Learning from existing RPSs. 
The fact the timescales of the 6 month review for Cotham South mean that feedback from that area is not going to be considered at all in the wider context of the roll out is, we feel, a missed opportunity.  With so little real local experience on which to base decisions and designs, this situation strikes us as inadequate in the extreme.
Having said that, a massive approval from the residents of other schemes does not mean they (the schemes) are working for everyone and especially not for that second group of ‘commuters’ who we regard as part of our community.  What has the council done to seek the opinions of the wider community and other users of our streets, such as local businesses and tradesmen?
5.  Permits for Customers. Some businesses require more than 5 permits for customers, for example, garages without a forecourt, of which there are two in Cotham North, each of which have about 10 customers each day.  We suggest a “day ticket”/ scratch-card scheme.  Other examples of businesses in this category would be hairdressers and hotels.
6.  Change to the start time. 9.30 or 10.00am have both been suggested.  Why is the start time ‘non-negotiable’?  Why must it be? No adequate reason has been given.
7.  Local amenities (parks, bowls clubs allotments). Old persons may need to drive their grand- children to the park or mums with twins, for example. We want to encourage the use of our parks for everyone.  If park users live in another zone they will now have to pay to use a free facility.
8.  Charities and Community Organisations are neither businesses nor residents and as such will get no permits. This obviously requires attention.  Making these types of organisation pay for permits will mean they are able to spend less on the services they provide.  It also seems to be unnecessary extra administration to charge those organisations that are funded by BCC.
9.  Temporary Residents’ needs must be considered, such as students (or trainee doctors or young professionals on a secondment). All three of these groups exist in Cotham and Redland. Currently they are coping by contributing to the displaced parking chaos outside of their zone!
10. When the Bishopston RPS is rolled out, due consideration should be made of that area’s specific needs.  For example two major sports venues, and a prison that operates on shift work for 365 days per year.  Proper consultation should be carried out involving local interest groups, societies, and Councillors. Many residents feel there is no problem with commuter parking in many parts of Bishopston ward.  They feel that the main parking problems are in the evenings and at weekends.  This needs to be taken in to consideration when consulting.
 
Last, but certainly not least, where suggestions are made by residents, NPs or other groups, a rationale must be given for their acceptance or rejection.  This is currently not happening, which leaves those who have invested significant time in trying to find solutions feeling frustrated and ignored.  Responses of this type to objections are found in planning documents – such a format (or similar) could surely be used here also?
We urge you to give full consideration to the above points and request a written reply.
Thank you,
Nick Clark, Chair BCR NP

Residents’ Parking – Mayor Shows He’s Listening

Following discussion with his Cabinet, Mayor George Ferguson, is set to consider a major revision in the residents’ parking programme, when the issue comes before him for decision at Cabinet, today, Thursday 27th June.
The biggest change to be considered is to build in a thorough review before the eight outermost proposed schemes are progressed further, whilst giving the go-ahead for consultation on the twelve new inner schemes currently at varying stages of development.
This means that he will consider making the previously proposed schemes for Ashton, Bedminster West, Windmill Hill and Totterdown in the south of the city, and Bishopston, Ashley Down, St Andrew’s, and St Werburgh’s not automatically come forward to the formal stages until the effect of the inner schemes are known.  He will consider making those eight outer areas still be the subject of traffic studies, including assessing any displacement of commuter parking problems from neighbouring inner areas as the inner schemes progress.  Under this potential revision, no schemes would be advanced for any of those eight outer areas without a fresh report for decision by the Mayor at a future cabinet meeting, and only once the impact of these studies had shown whether or not a scheme is needed for any of those areas in light of experience with the earlier, inner schemes.
The Mayor will bring forward these further details of the changes he’ll be considering on Thursday, in response to the views expressed by residents, businesses and Councillors of all parties.
The scheme for Easton & St Philip’s has already been consulted on, and would now be set to proceed to implementation under these revised proposals.
Two other schemes which were already well advanced, in discussion with local people, in St Paul’s and Bower Ashton, would, if agreed, proceed to the statutory Traffic Regulation Order consultation stage.
The Mayor is also to consider proceeding with the six schemes in Clifton, Cotham North and Redland, where there is support generally for the schemes from local residents and Councillors.  Each set of Councillors would under these new proposals be given the choice of those schemes proceeding straight to the final Traffic Regulation Order stage, as some have requested, or of having an additional informal consultation stage added.  Any of those schemes where the local Councillors choose the extra informal consultation route would therefore proceed at least 3 months later than the original timetable, to allow for this extra consultation, and for the schemes to be amended as appropriate before proceeding to the formal Traffic Regulation Order stage.
The Mayor is though also set to consider responding to views expressed in these schemes in other ways.  First, in response to persuasive arguments from the two Clifton Councillors, he will consider merging the previously-separate Clifton Village and Clifton West schemes into one, allowing residents to park across these areas.  Secondly, the Mayor will consider revising the outer boundary of the Redland scheme to exclude roads to the North West of Coldharbour Road, as argued for persuasively by the Henleaze Councillors and local residents, whilst pressing ahead with the rest of the scheme, subject to discussion with the Redland Councillors.
As and when this first wave of schemes were complete [i.e. Clifton, Cotham North, Redland (reduced to East of Coldharbour Road), St Paul’s, Easton & St Philip’s and Bower Ashton], the Mayor is today to consider agreeing to proceed with scheme development and consultation on the rest of the inner-ring of schemes, including Southville, Bedminster East, Spike Island in the south, and Montpelier north of the centre.
The Mayor said
“I’ve always said I was listening, which is why I first brought forward improvements such as the traders’ cross zone permits, the doubling of the free waiting time in pay & display bays, reduced charges for small businesses and more, and a clear statement that I was willing to look at the outer boundaries.  No-one should be surprised that I am now bringing forward these important changes for consideration, in response to well-argued cases.  Bristol’s streets are crammed with far more cars than they were ever possibly built to cope with, exacerbated by the quantity of commuter parking, making radical action needed to cope with the huge traffic challenge I inherited on becoming Mayor.  I’ve still not heard anything to dissuade me from bringing forward more schemes to add to the four already in place, but I hope that today’s major package of changes will show once and for all that I really do listen to reason.
Councillor Mark Bradshaw, Assistant Mayor for Transport, Planning, Strategic Housing and Regeneration added
“The changes being considered by the Mayor and Cabinet this week are significantly different to those being discussed over the last month.  The enabling report will provide scope for any further adjustments and improvements, but will allow progress to be made in those parts of the city under greatest parking pressure.  These will be our focus, and not those which don’t currently have such a commuter parking challenge.”

BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL
CABINET
27 June 2013

REPORT TITLE:    Residents’ Parking Schemes

Ward(s) affected by this report: Citywide

Strategic Director:        -

Report author:        Peter Mann, Service Director Transport

Contact telephone no.    (0117) 922 2947  
& e-mail address:       

          
Purpose of the report:
This enabling report sets out the Council’s proposals to develop new residents’ parking scheme areas and summarises the community engagement process that will be followed.  It also sets out a proposed and revised permit pricing structure.

RECOMMENDATIONS for Cabinet approval:

1.    i) To develop proposals for Residents’ Parking Scheme (RPS) areas around central Bristol as referred to in paragraph 21 and Appendix 1 of this report, including a new revised permit pricing structure as set out in Appendix 2 of this report and;
    ii)That decisions on each of those schemes, including the pricing structure,  will be made by the Service Director: Transport under the scheme of delegation following conclusion of the statutory consultation process.

2.    To note the proposals for community engagement as set out in the report.

3.    To add £9.8m to the capital programme, with £4m in 2013/14 and £5.8m in 2014/15.

4.    To use £8.3m of prudential borrowing to support the scheme alongside £1.5m from the Local Transport Plan capital allocation.


Background
1.    The current proposals for residents’ parking controls in Bristol originate from the “Amended Parking Strategy for Bristol”, which was approved by the Council’s cabinet in October 2005.  This was followed by a further report in November 2007, which approved the development of proposals for residents’ parking controls around the city centre and set out the intention to carry out non-statutory consultation, which was carried out in 2008 before prioritising the areas where schemes would be developed.

2.    Kingsdown became Bristol’s first RPS area.  The scheme began in January 2011.  It was reviewed during its first six months of operation and was found to have successfully delivered its aims. A letter was sent to every property inviting feedback about the scheme and 216 responses were received, of which only 10 were negative.  This demonstrated a significant increase in support for the scheme compared to consultation carried out prior to its introduction. 

3.    As a result of this review, the Cabinet agreed in July 2011 to carry out statutory consultation regarding minor changes to the Kingsdown scheme and to engage with Neighbourhood Partnerships to develop potential schemes in other areas. Proposals were subsequently developed for Cotham, Redcliffe, St Pauls, Easton & St. Philip’s and Bower Ashton.  Of these areas, Redcliffe and Cotham became operational at the end of 2012.

4.    In July 2012, the Cabinet agreed to engage with communities in other parts of the city over the potential to develop schemes in these areas.  In particular it was seen as important to consider developing schemes in neighbourhoods adjacent to existing RPS areas due to the overspill problems generated by the initial schemes.  The subsequent introduction of schemes in Cotham and Redcliffe has led the Council to consider the impact on the northern part of Cotham, Redland and parts of Clifton, Southville and Bedminster.

5.    The 2012 report set out a number of factors that could determine whether RPS proposals would be considered for other areas.  These included the pressing need arising from existing commuter parking problems, proximity to other parking schemes and the impact of development proposals.  These factors, along with requests from residents for schemes to be brought forward in their area, prompted the identification of a proposed programme of wider coverage of the city and consideration of the possibility of a faster roll-out of schemes in order to address concerns over the knock-on effects.  Reducing the timescale for developing new proposed schemes might have significant advantages.  It could minimise problems that would otherwise be encountered by residents living just outside a scheme area having to wait for one or more years before they could be included in a scheme whilst delivering the traffic reduction benefits much more quickly.

6.    In March 2013, the Council announced that it was considering the development of an additional 18 scheme areas which would be subject to the statutory process as the means for the community to put forward their specific comments and/or concerns.

7.    This report recognises however that the inclusion of a pre-statutory design consultation stage has significant benefits as it can often ‘tease out’ issues and concerns at an early stage.  Therefore, it proposes bringing forward proposals for new schemes on a timescale that is short but which allows for direct pre-statutory consultation to take place to assist with the design process prior to commencing statutory consultation.

Policy context
8.    Parking controls have been in place in Bristol city centre since the 1980s, with parking permits for residents introduced in the early 1990s.  These permits cost £50 per annum.  A maximum of 1 permit per household applies and not all households are eligible for permits, with waiting lists being in operation in some streets.  There are 350 current residents’ permits that have been issued to residents of the city centre CPZ.

9.    Parking controls are recognised as a key part of sustainable urban transport policy, which in itself is vital to the development of a greener, healthier city. They help to reduce and better manage traffic entering the central area, especially during the peak periods when traffic congestion is at its worst. Extensive parking control schemes provide the opportunity to achieve large-scale modal shift away from the private car, which in turn promotes further use of public transport and other sustainable alternatives. In this respect, RPS areas have the potential to deliver a real air quality benefit over the next few years, as commuters switch to more sustainable modes and traffic is reduced on the arterial routes where we currently experience breaches in air quality standards.     

10.    At the present time, air quality targets are not being met in many locations in Bristol. Approximately 23,000 people are exposed to pollution levels exceeding government targets. The impact of this on public health is severe, and outweighs that of passive smoking and alcohol. The overall costs to society are on a par with smoking and obesity. Sheffield’s fairness commission has recently estimated that an extra 500 deaths per year (with a cost of £160m) are attributable to air pollution in that city, which has a similar population to Bristol.  Traffic is the dominant source of this problem. Despite the Council’s efforts to tackle this over the past 15 years, substantial parts of the city are polluted. Concentrations of a key traffic pollutant, NO2, have not declined since 1999.  This demonstrates the real need to introduce demand management measures to encourage people to travel using more sustainable forms of transport than the private car.

11.    RPS areas also deliver significant benefits in local neighbourhoods, by making it easier for local residents, businesses and their visitors to park nearby and reducing the amount of traffic circulating around the area searching for a space.  Experience from Bristol’s existing schemes is that streets become quieter and safer due to the reduction in traffic, it is easier and safer for pedestrians to walk around the area and access to properties is improved, which benefits people with limited mobility and ensures that access for deliveries and emergency vehicles is as easy as possible.

12.    RPS areas offer significant benefits to Blue Badge holders, as they enable the Council to replace existing advisory disabled bays with statutory bays which can be enforced.  This can make a significant difference to the quality of life of the person requiring the bay.  As each RPS area is reviewed every year, new statutory disabled bays can be introduced and redundant ones removed in a timely fashion, which makes best use of the available parking capacity in each street.

13.    In addition to the above, the Greater Bristol Strategic Transport Study 2006 strongly emphasised the importance of the control of parking by availability and price with effective enforcement as part of a comprehensive approach to demand management.  An Audit Commission review of Highways & Traffic in 2008 found that Bristol did not have sufficient demand management measures in place at that time.  The introduction of effective on-street parking controls, including Residents’ Parking Schemes, forms part of the Council’s existing transport policy as set out in the Joint Local Transport Plan 3 section 6.6 on Parking.


RPS as part of a wider strategy
14.    Residents’ parking controls are a key part of Bristol’s transport strategy for the reasons set out above, but cannot be viewed in isolation. Whilst they reduce people’s opportunities to park, it is equally important to increase opportunities to use other forms of transport. The Council has secured very significant investment for alternative transport provision in recent years.  This has already delivered real improvements to the opportunities that people have to use a combination of buses, cycling and walking for their regular journeys.  Extensive further improvements are planned, with delivery continuing alongside the development of the RPS proposals set out in this report.  The Council is eager to expand choice, with greater integration and smart ticketing for public transport.

Public transport improvements
15.    The £79 million Greater Bristol Bus Network (GBBN) project delivered 10 showcase bus routes into and around the Bristol area between 2008 and 2012.  It introduced priority bus lanes and signal priority making journeys faster and more reliable, new accessible bus stops with real time information and better quality buses to improve journey experience with features such as Wi-Fi and better seating.

16.    The Council is currently delivering the Better Bus Area Fund (BBAF) as a result of a  successful bid to the first round of Department for Transport funding. This project builds on the GBBN project, improving key bus corridors including the A38 and A420/A431 routes and making bus stop improvements on the A4.  These upgrades sit alongside improvements to vehicles and passenger journey experience.  The Council is currently developing a strong bid to the second round of funding.

17.    MetroBus will deliver a new generation of three bus-based rapid transit routes; Ashton Vale to Temple Meads, the South Bristol Link and Hengrove to the North Fringe.  These routes will further  improve journey times and travel options across the Greater Bristol area, with modern buses, smart ticketing, better information and well-designed stops.  The Ashton Vale to Temple Meads route is planned to be completed in 2016, whilst South Bristol Link and Hengrove to North Fringe are planned to be completed in 2017.

18.    MetroRail will deliver a step change in local rail services, making the most of Greater Bristol’s existing rail infrastructure.  It will improve opportunities for people to use stations as transport interchanges and will reopen lines to Portishead and Henbury.  Phase one includes the reopening of the line to Portishead and a 30 minute frequency metro style rail service between Bristol and Portishead, Weston-super-Mare, Bath Spa and Severn Beach.  Phase two includes the Henbury line, better services to Yate and Weston-super-Mare and new stations.  MetroRail phase one is planned for completion by 2019, with phase two by 2023.

19.    Bus fares and smart ticketing are recognised as crucial to making bus travel more attractive. First is currently consulting on fares with a view to making changes in the autumn and the Council is determined that smart ticketing moves forward; several bus operators are already using it and First are being encouraged to commit to extensive introduction within months.  A pilot will also be running on Park & Ride services later this year. Through projects such as GBBN and BBAF the Council is working with bus operators to reduce overheads, improve reliability and reduce journey times. The Council is also working to increase passenger numbers through the provision of better facilities, stops, information and marketing.

Park & Ride improvements
20.    It is recognised that the current opening hours of the Park & Ride sites do not always provide enough time for people to get back to their car after work, particularly if they do not work in the city centre.  Therefore, to make Park & Ride a more viable alternative for people who currently commute by car, it is planned to extend the opening hours of Bristol’s three Park & Ride sites beyond well 7.00pm from autumn 2013 and to keep this under review to offer more flexible options for commuters and other passengers.

Walking and cycling improvements
21.    There has been a dramatic and impressive increase in the number of people cycling and walking in Bristol in recent years. 2011 census data shows that twice as many people cycle to work now compared with ten years ago and around 40,000 people walk to work.  Building on the £22million investment delivered through Cycling City, a further £2.3million being invested from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) award from the Government.  LSTF projects include big improvements around Easton Way, Clarence Road and Avonmouth to be delivered before March 2015 as well as many smaller improvements and safety schemes.

22.    Building on successful pilots, 20 mph speed limits are being rolled out to most roads across the city.  As well as making Bristol a more pleasant place to be, this also makes cycling more attractive and improves local streets.

The proposal:

23.    This report recommends the development of RPS proposals for areas around the city centre, as shown in Appendix 1.

Scheme improvements

24.    The operating principles of the scheme, in terms of the numbers and types of permits that are available, have evolved over the last two years as the Kingsdown scheme has been reviewed and pre-statutory consultation carried out in other neighbourhoods.  This is a process of constant evolution as we learn from our existing schemes and listen to the issues raised by each community.

25.    A number of practical issues and concerns about how the schemes work were raised by local residents and businesses following the initial announcement that new schemes were being considered.  This report recognises that the introduction of parking controls across a much larger area of the city presents some new challenges, particularly for mobile workers.  Research and benchmarking with other cities across the country has been updated in recent weeks to ensure that Bristol continues to learn from best practice elsewhere.

26.    As a result, a number of key changes to the operating principles of the scheme are proposed in this report, as outlined in paragraphs 25 to 34. These represent a set of minimum operating criteria for Bristol, which will be offered to each new scheme area.  However, this does not mean that the final residents’ parking proposals will be identical in each case.  Local needs and circumstances will be carefully considered as each scheme is designed to ensure that the final proposal is as good as it can be and reflective of local needs and issues.

Extension of free waiting time
27.    Existing schemes have a free 15 minute period in all pay & display bays.  This will be doubled to 30 minutes to make it cheaper and more convenient for people to make short visits to local shops and businesses.  This may also increase turnover of space, making it easier for people to park and is intended to support local businesses.  
  
New types of permit
28.    Traders permits will be introduced so that people working at different locations in an area, or in different parts of the city, can park in the permit holders’ bays within Bristol’s residents’ parking scheme areas.

29.    Medical permits will be introduced for professional healthcare workers who need to visit patients at home so that they can park in permit holders’ bays without having to obtain a permit from the person that they are visiting.  This will also help residents, who will no longer have to ensure that they have sufficient visitors’ permits available.

30.    Residents in need of regular care visits will be eligible for an essential visitors’ permit.  This will replace the existing system, whereby residents are issued with unlimited daily scratchcards to issue to their carer(s).  

Permit pricing structure

29.    When Kingsdown RPS was introduced, the permit pricing structure was fixed for the first three years of the scheme.

31.    Permit prices are a policy matter and are set in relation to the value that they bring rather than being directly linked to the administration or operation costs.  The permit holder will be able to park more easily in the area and, as illustrated earlier in this report, the scheme will bring wider benefits to the community in terms of reduced circulating traffic, less obstructive parking, improved safety and improved air quality and health.

32.    This report seeks approval to take forward a new pricing structure to be included in the statutory consultation for each scheme.  Appendix 2 sets out the current pricing structure and the proposed new structure.

33.    It is recognised that small businesses are particularly concerned that the cost of business and customer permits could undermine the viability of their business. The proposed pricing structure would enable businesses in receipt of small business rate relief to apply for business and customer permits at a discounted rate.  The same permit prices would also apply to registered charities.

34.    The proposed permit pricing structure includes a variable charge for the first residents’ parking permit, based upon vehicle emissions.  This supports the broader policy objectives of the scheme by linking the price of the permit to the environmental impact of the vehicle.

35.    The Council will introduce a system that enables permits to be purchased in quarterly instalments.  Under the current system, the permit cost is an annual charge that must be paid in full before the permit is issued.  The new arrangements will apply to all types of permit and will be available in every scheme area.

Engagement process

36.    A process of wider engagement began with the launch of a conversation about residents’ parking, transport and Bristol’s future on the Ask Bristol website on 10th June.  This sets out how residents’ parking, alongside the other transport initiatives set out in paragraphs 13 to 20 of this report, can contribute to the vision of a greener, healthier city.  It will develop alongside the RPS programme and aims to stimulate debate and provide an opportunity for everyone to engage with the wider issues.

37.    The proposals for Easton & St. Philip’s, St Pauls and Bower Ashton have already been subject to informal consultation. Statutory consultation has been undertaken for the Easton & St. Philip’s proposals.  In the case of St Pauls and Bower Ashton, pre-statutory consultation has already been carried out and statutory consultation will take place in summer 2013.

38.    Of the new schemes, significant progress in scheme design has been made in the case of Cotham North and Redland.  Initial proposals have been produced and made available on the Council’s website with feedback encouraged through e-mail. Meetings were held with local ward members and stakeholders from the community in May and early June. Initial proposals for two of the four Clifton schemes have been produced, with the remaining two nearing completion.

39.    In the case of these six schemes, guidance will be sought from the local ward members as to whether a compressed delivery timescale is appropriate or whether more time should be taken to engage further with the local community.

40.    For each of the remaining schemes in the programme, an additional pre-statutory consultation stage will be carried out once the initial design has been developed but before it is finalised.  Every property in the scheme area will receive information about the proposals and a feedback form seeking their views on the detailed plans and the operating principles of the scheme.  Detailed plans will also be available online and in local libraries.  Exhibitions will be held in the local area to enable the community to discuss the plans with officers and to ask any questions that they may have.

41.    The streets just outside these areas will also be included in the pre-statutory consultation.  It is important to note that the proposed outer boundary will not be finalised until after this consultation has taken place.  The streets that this applies to are shown in the map in Appendix 1.

42.    Neighbourhood Partnerships (including ward members), forums and traffic sub-groups are key to the engagement process.  Public meetings will be held in the local area during the informal consultation stage.  There will also be a full briefing of local ward members once the initial proposals have been developed but prior to the informal consultation taking place. Engagement with local schools, businesses and other community organisations will also take place at this time in order to collect the views of all parts of the community.

43.    The proposals for each scheme area will be finalised once the feedback from the informal consultation has taken place, to ensure that residents, schools, businesses and other stakeholders have a meaningful opportunity to contribute to the design of the scheme.  All of the comments, suggestions and requests for changes will be logged and summarised in a report which will either identify how they have shaped the final proposal or explain why they were not incorporated.  This report will be provided to local ward members and Neighbourhood Partnerships and will also be available online.

44.    The final proposals will then be advertised in accordance with the statutory consultation process.  This will provide a further opportunity to make representations and objections as well as to request amendments or object to the proposal.  The decision about whether or not a scheme will be implemented with or without modifications will be made once the response to this consultation has been considered.

Business engagement

45.    Under the minimum operating criteria for each scheme, every school, business and organisation based within an RPS area would be able to apply for two business permits and five customer permits.  Separate provision will be made for mobile workers, as set out in Appendix 2.  These arrangements, coupled with the proposal to discount the cost of permits for small businesses, are intended to address some of the concerns that have been raised by the business community.

46.    However, it is recognised that medium and larger organisations, particularly those with very little off-street parking for their employees, face a greater challenge in managing the transition to being based in an RPS area.

47.    As part of the LSTF programme described in paragraph 19, the Council can offer these organisations an incentives package to provide support and advice for members of staff that are considering travelling to work using more sustainable transport.   

Timescales

48.    It is anticipated that if the decision is taken to implement each proposed scheme, all of the schemes can be delivered by May 2015.  The inclusion of an additional pre-statutory consultation means that the programme will take up to four months longer to deliver than would be the case if this stage were not included.  This will allow for a four week consultation period followed by five weeks in which the responses will be collated and three weeks to finalise the scheme, seeking guidance from local ward members on the issues arising from the consultation.

49.    The decision on whether or not to implement an individual scheme area will be made following the conclusion of the statutory consultation process.  If a decision is made to implement a scheme, a detailed timetable will be produced setting out the next steps before implementation works begin and providing information about the permit application process and the anticipated start date of the scheme. This information will be sent to every property in the scheme area, to ensure that the community is kept informed of progress.

Scheme reviews

50.    Each new scheme area will be reviewed after it has been in operation for six months.  These reviews are an essential part of the Council’s commitment to ensuring that each scheme works as well as it possibly can.  Every household, business and organisation in the scheme area will be written to asking for feedback about the scheme.  Officers will carefully consider all responses received through this process together with other comments received during the first six months of the scheme, new aspirations for the area that the Neighbourhood Partnership may have and feedback from local residents’ associations and other community groups.  The review will also provide an opportunity to install or remove statutory disabled bays as required.  Officers will accommodate requests for adjustments to the scheme wherever possible.  The outcome of the review process will be made available online and provided to the local Neighbourhood Partnership.

51.    There will be an opportunity to make further adjustments to the scheme every year, as part of our on-going commitment to work closely with the local community and to listen and respond to people’s views and concerns.

Costs and payback
52.    In order to provide a robust finance model, the cost and income from RPS needs to be considered across the whole programme.  This is because some areas will, by their nature, cost more than others to implement and similarly some will generate more income than others to assist with payback of the prudential borrowing.

53.    As with all income to the Council’s parking service, this is required by law (s 55 Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984) to be used first to offset costs against the parking account – in the case of RPS this means the cost of implementation, payback of borrowing including interest charged, enforcement, review and maintenance of lines and signs.

54.    The current financial model anticipates the borrowing to be paid back after 10 years.  Beyond this time the legislation requires any income surplus after operational costs are covered, to be used for other parking and transport improvements, including public transport.

Consultation and scrutiny input:

a.    Internal consultation:
    SD&T Scrutiny Commission on 28 May 2013

b.    External consultation:

Other options considered:
Whilst Residents’ Parking Schemes are tried and tested across the UK as an effective means of managing commuter parking and providing local benefits, the other principal option, of introducing non-permit part-time limited waiting schemes, has been considered as an alternative.  This type of scheme can provide some protection for residential areas but are costly to enforce and can cause residents difficulty.  They are most effective around rail station hubs as commuters will rarely have the opportunity to move their cars during the middle part of the day.  In other places it may be easier for people to move cars to avoid the limited waiting restrictions but this generates unnecessary vehicle activity in residential areas and can cause residents just as much of a problem.

‘Do nothing’ – if no further schemes are developed, existing network congestion, parking problems and access issues will remain and are likely to worsen.  This is not considered to be a viable option.

 

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