Park­ing dan­ger

Out­cry over re­stric­tions that see driv­ers us­ing ‘dark’and‘un­safe’ ar­eas

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - Heartless - Ju­dith Ton­ner

An Air­drie town cen­tre res­i­dent says new en­force­ment of its park­ing re­stric­tions means neigh­bours are be­ing di­rected to use un­lit and un­safe car parks – or risk be­ing fined for day­time park­ing near their homes.

Lor­raine Macpher­son re­ceived a £30 fine af­ter leav­ing her ve­hi­cle for more than half an hour in a space out­side her South Bridge Street home, which she has used for the decades she has lived in the prop­erty.

She has un­suc­cess­fully ap­pealed the penalty charge no­tice and is call­ing for res­i­dent per­mits to be made avail­able, say­ing the sug­gested al­ter­na­tive park­ing at ei­ther side of High Street and via Mill Loan leaves both peo­ple and ve­hi­cles “vul­ner­a­ble” and can­not be eas­ily ac­cessed from her street out­side of­fice hours.

North La­nark­shire Coun­cil say that a res­i­dents’ park­ing scheme is now due to be in­tro­duced in April; but in­sist the 8am to 6pm re­stric­tions are re­quired to ac­com­mo­date shop­pers.

Lor­raine told the Ad­ver­tiser : “We’ve al­ways parked our cars on the street out­side our houses, as close as we can get – we’ve done that for 25 years and never had tick­ets, even when there were traf­fic war­dens here sev­eral years ago.

“We’d heard they were go­ing to be in­tro­duced but didn’t know the ef­fect and the res­i­dents weren’t specif­i­cally no­ti­fied; the war­den said there were signs on lamp­posts and leaflets put on cars, but ours aren’t there dur­ing the day.

“The coun­cil have said there are var­i­ous car parks around the area that we can use, like the ones at the back of South Bridge Street – but I’ve had three cars bro­ken into there and a car must have had its win­dow smashed just a cou­ple of weeks ago as there was glass all over the ground.

“It’s dark, poorly lit and un­safe, and I won’t be us­ing it at night and risk­ing my­self and my car.

“Peo­ple hang about there and I won’t take the chance of be­ing threat­ened; there are no cars there when the shops are closed so it puts a lone per­son in dan­ger, and there’s no di­rect ac­cess from South Bridge Street be­fore 9am or af­ter 5pm as the link walk­way gets locked.”

Mo­torists are al­lowed to park for a max­i­mum of 30 min­utes on South Bridge Street dur­ing the re­stricted hours of 8am to 6pm on Mon­days to Satur­days, and can­not re­turn and park again for at least a fur­ther half-hour.

One side of the street has a load­ing bay where park­ing is pro­hib­ited in the re­stricted hours, and where load­ing is also pre­vented dur­ing the peak times of 8.30am to 9.30am and 4.30pm to 6pm.

Lor­raine said: “The re­stric­tions mean that when I get home from work at 5pm I’d have to park at the back for an hour, then walk all the way up or down the hill af­ter the walk­way is closed to get to my car and drive it round; and on Satur­days I’d have to get up and move my car some­where be­fore 8am.

“The al­ter­na­tive is leav­ing it in the back car park all night and risk it be­ing bro­ken into – and then walk­ing all the way round or climb­ing the fence in the morn­ing as I leave at 7.30am and the walk­way isn’t open.

“Shop­keep­ers are con­vinced they’ll lose busi­ness – if peo­ple are go­ing to the hair­dresser, gym, post of­fice or take­away they’re go­ing to be longer than the 30 min­utes al­lot­ted, so I can imag­ine a sharp drop in rev­enue.

“The street has been de­serted when I’ve ar­rived home in the evenings. I’ve emailed our coun­cil­lors in the hope of a res­o­lu­tion; there are only a few res­i­dents who live in the street and have cars, so it would be quite nice if they gave us park­ing per­mits.”

Neigh­bour George Spit­tal agreed: “The park­ing be­hind the shops just isn’t safe, es­pe­cially late at night – I wouldn’t have my wife and kids park­ing there

when they’re com­ing back from the kids’ clubs.

“Cars have been bro­ken into in these car parks; and they also aren’t easy for older peo­ple to get from to their homes.

“The res t r i c t i o n s a re in­con­ve­nient for res­i­dents on South Bridge Street – for ex­am­ple, if the kids or I are ill and off work or school, the last thing you’re go­ing to think about is go­ing out to move the car in the morn­ing.

“I un­der­stand the need for yel­low lines and to stop peo­ple park­ing on them; but ac­cess to the town cen­tre car parks isn’t safe or easy for res­i­dents and is­su­ing per­mits would help with wel­fare and safety.”

Coun­cil­lors agreed at last month’s full North La­nark­shire as­sem­bly that res­i­dent park­ing is re­quired fol­low­ing the rein­tro­duc­tion of war­dens to is­sue penal­ties to mo­torists flout­ing yel­low- line re­stric­tions, which had pre­vi­ously gone un­en­forced for more than seven years.

A spokesper­son for the lo­cal au­thor­ity told the Ad­ver­tiser this week: “The coun­cil has de­cided to in­tro­duce a res­i­dents’ park­ing per­mit scheme, and is cur­rently work­ing on the de­tails of how this will op­er­ate.

“We an­tic­i­pate the scheme will come into ef­fect at the start of the 2019-2020 fi­nan­cial year.

“Park­ing re­stric­tions on South Bridge Street are de­signed to pro­vide short- term park­ing spa­ces for up to 30 min­utes for shop­pers – how­ever, res­i­dents can park in the bays from 6pm to 8am, Mon­days to Satur­days.

“These re­stric­tions have been in place for some time, but are now be­ing en­forced by our of­fi­cers to im­prove ac­cess to the town cen­tre, with spa­ces be­ing made avail­able for peo­ple visit­ing lo­cal shops and busi­nesses.

“I n f o rma t i o n about the in­tro­duc­tion of the de­crim­i­nalised park­ing en­force­ment scheme was made avail­able in ad­vance in the lo­cal me­dia, on the coun­cil’s web­site and so­cial me­dia chan­nels, and on leaflets dis­trib­uted in town cen­tres.”

I wouldn’t have my wife and kids park­ing there when they’re com­ing back from the kids’ clubs George Spit­tal

Con­cerns Park­ing prob­lem Lor­raine and her neigh­bours high­light the is­sue Lor­raine claims shop­keep­ers in South Bridge Street (pic­tured) are con­vinced they’ll lose busi­ness

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