Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) are key to reducing traffic and congestion and make it easier for residents and their visitors to park near their home.
Controlled Parking Zones are areas where on-street parking is controlled during specified times. Why do we have them?
- They are the most effective way of managing parking demand and are commonly used to manage parking for example near train stations, hospitals, colleges, central shopping areas, or in areas where there is more demand for parking than there are spaces.
- They are also used to improve visibility for road users, for example at corners, and to stop dangerous and nuisance parking.
- CPZs also increase space for other uses e.g. more pavement, increased cycle parking, seating or urban greening. (Much public space in London is given over to motor vehicles, despite the majority of trips being taken by walking, cycling or public transport.)
Avoiding a move to more front garden parking when introducing CPZs
Front garden parking is unsightly, leads to uneven pavements and makes it impossible to use that stretch of kerbside for parking or anything else. When introducing Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs), local authorities need to guard against more front garden parking by ensuring they have policies in place to discourage applications for pavement crossovers (householders must apply to the council, and pay, for a pavement crossover to be installed, if they wish to park in their front garden).
Benefits for Drivers of Controlled Parking
“We were avoiding using our car because we couldn’t find a parking space when we got home. I can now park outside my house. I feel like I’ve got my car back.”
Osbaldeston Road resident, Hackney
Whether you’re a motorist, pedestrian, cyclist or travel on buses, there are significant benefits to be gained from controlled parking zones.
CPZs give priority access to parking for residents so it’s easier for you to park near your home. CPZs prevent commuter parking and other long-stay parking, so there are more parking spaces for local residents and businesses. And it’s more convenient for your visitors and for tradespeople and deliveries.
There will be fewer cars on local roads and so less congestion, noise and air pollution. CPZs reduce traffic and pollution by discouraging vehicles from driving through or to the borough for example to park and commute.
Streets will be safer because CPZs designate where it’s safe to park and where it’s not, creating better visibility at junctions. And there will be better access for emergency and utility vehicles and other large vehicles like rubbish and recycling trucks and delivery or removals vans. CPZs also reduce inconsiderate parking.
Your streets will be more attractive. CPZs reduce the dominance of parked cars on a street and mean there is more space to introduce street trees for example, or attractive features, benches or bicycle ‘hangars’ (secure cycle parking for people with no space to store their bikes).
CPZs can also help if you run a local business. Parking controls can help prioritise on-street parking spaces for residents who might rely on a vehicle for their work such as people regularly carrying heavy equipment. This can be done through issuing business parking permits.
There will be less impact from nearby new-build housing because CPZs enable ‘permit-free’ planning conditions to be placed upon future developments, so reducing the impact on existing communities, particularly drivers, of additional cars on local roads.
“We were all amazed at how all the cars disappeared. It shows there must have been so many commuters using our streets to park.”
Nightingale Road resident, Hackney
LOW COST permits?
Residents might resist controlled parking because it means they must pay for a permit, adding to the costs of keeping and running a car. But there are lots of reasons why car-driving residents – as well as the many households who don’t have access to a car – will benefit from controlled parking. Councils might therefore consider introducing parking permits at a reasonably low cost to residents. Permits should cost a minimum of £150 per vehicle with surcharges for larger and more polluting vehicles (rather than giving discounts / lower-cost permits for less polluting vehicles).
CPZs and TRAIN STATIONS
In research in 2019, CPRE found that car parking remains uncontrolled in the streets around the majority of train stations in outer London. This encourages people to drive in from outside the borough, park nearby to the station and continue their journey by train. To reduce this type of car trip, it is particularly important that councils control parking around stations.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Cars are parked 95% of the time. (The High Cost of Free Parking, Donald Shoup)
- On average 2/3 of households in Inner London boroughs don’t have a car. In Outer London 1/3 of households don’t have a car. (Table KS404EW, 2011 Census)
- It’s around 50 times cheaper to rent a parking space than to rent a home. For example, in Westminster, the space needed for a single parking space would cost £8,000 a year to rent as housing. It costs just £145 to park there for a year. (Why we should be paying more for parking – video explainer, The Guardian)
Nightingale Estate in Clapton, Hackney before and after introduction of a CPZ in 2018
‘Evaporation’ of commuter parking: More space and improved safety for residents.
Space intended for residents parking was being used by commuters. There were also safety issues with cars parked inconsiderately on pavements and in places which were restricting emergency service access.
Before – cars are double parked, on pavements and on a corner, restricting access for emergency and utility vehicles and reducing sight lines for pedestrians making it less safe to cross
After – a large number of empty spaces at all times indicates cars previously parked there did not belong to residents. Double yellow lines ensure emergency/utility vehicle access is now clear and pedestrians can cross safely.
Grosvenor Terrace, Southwark before and after introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone
More space for residents; a more attractive, safer street; and easier access for deliveries
Now a much more attractive street, the introduction of controlled parking zone has transformed parking for residents, improved safety by making pedestrians more visible and creating spaces for pedestrians to cross safely, and it has ensured deliveries can be made without blocking the road.
Before – cars are parked on both sides along the length of the narrow road
After – parking is no longer an issue for residents and the school yellow zig-zags are visable
This blog post is adapted from a CPRE London report published in 2019.
Main image: Google Street View