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Benefits of Controlled Parking Zones

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).

Permit controlled parking on a residential street. Photo by Cali Riffee

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.



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.

Image: Google Street View
Image: supplied

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

Image: Southwark Council
Image: Southwark Council

This blog post is adapted from a CPRE London report published in 2019.

Main image: Google Street View

5 thoughts on “Benefits of Controlled Parking Zones”

  1. Alberta Road in Bush Hill Park is where I live. Presently, only the top half of the road is a CPZ between 1pm and 2pm. My half of the road is a nightmare. I’ve frequently come home with nowhere to park! From early evening, it’s nigh on impossible to park. Our end is also the cul-de-sac end with a pedestrian walk through onto the A10. So, we have congestion from those who don’t have a permit at the other end, from anyone who wants to use Bush Hill Park Station and from the residents on the A10, plus tradesmen, builders and visitors. As we speak, a car has been parked outside my house for weeks! This happens a lot where people park up and go away for weeks on end!
    Now, we’ve been complaining about this situation for years. Last year we were asked to get a petition, which we did and submitted. Because of Covid, apparently funds are low, so our request has been shelved again, till goodness knows when!?
    Can you please help us! At the very least, allow the entire road to buy permits or enforce permits for the top half. Ideally the entire road should be a CPZ.
    Thank you and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

  2. I have mixed feelings on the train station issue: yes commuter parking near stations does result in busy roads but not everyone lives in walking (or cycling) distance from a station and a lot of stations don’t have car parks – if parking is restricted this means people won’t use the railway and just drive to their final destination (something that happened with the Beeching cuts of the 60s, where it was suggested people would use alternative stations but chose to drive instead). Surely a car + train journey is an improvement upon a solely car journey.

    1. For those who live beyond walking and cycling distance from a station surely a bus is an option to be considered if a car journey is to be avoided?

      1. Yes, buses are great – when they are running, and when they run early enough! I was born in a ruralistic LA and now live in one – where buses were and are few and far between, rarely run early or late, etc. I now understand that good public transport (in the UK) needs a rate of homes per km of about 45+. Not a problem in cities, but even in large areas of rural towns, this can be lower, especilly as much new housing comes in at 25-35 homes /km – something over which many councils have little or no control.

  3. Definitely, a parking control system is needed otherwise there will be parking issues and will get worse as we experienced the same issues. We had to bring in a private parking management company to enforce parking rules on our private road after drivers were parking their cars on our road to avoid the council’s parking fees and restrictions. They issues few parking charges to the offending cars and the problem stopped.

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