HC Deb 21 March 1956 vol 550 cc1230-3
29. Mr. Partridge

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what further consideration he has given to the problem of traffic congestion in inner London; and what action he proposes to take.

Mr. Watkinson

Yes, Sir. I am satisfied that the crux of this problem is the indiscriminately parked car, and that more positive action must be taken to regulate parking in inner London and, in particular, to give the motorist a much clearer indication of where he may or may not legitimately leave his car. I have therefore invited Mr. Alex Samuels, the Chairman of the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee, who will be assisted in this matter by a small group of experts, to undertake a new survey of the streets of inner London with a view of determining where parking can or cannot be permitted and, where it can, for what periods of the day. I have expressed to Mr. Samuels the hope that he will be able to present a report to me within about six months.

I am circulating with the OFFICIAL REPORT the names of those who have accepted my invitation to take part in this inquiry, together with the terms of reference.

Mr. Bowles

Is the Minister aware that at the bottom of St. James's Street, opposite a "No Parking" Metropolitan Police notice, cars are often parked by tens and twenties?

Mr. Watkinson

I agree. I think every hon. Member has examples of this sort of thing forcibly brought to his attention every day. I therefore think it necessary to look again at the whole problem.

Mr. Ernest Davies

Is not stricter enforcement the key to this problem, and is not one of the main difficulties shortage of police? Should not any new methods of enforcement therefore be carefully considered?

Mr. Watkinson

That is a pertinent point, but I am also advised that at the moment there is a lot of confusion as to what motorists can do and what they cannot do. I should like to make that much more plain.

Following is the information:

1. The following have agreed to take part in the survey:

2. The following are the terms of reference:

1. The area to be covered should be that surveyed in the 1953 Report.*

2. Within this area the task is to survey all streets, squares, mews, etc., and indicate those

  1. (i) in which no parking should be allowed at all,
  2. (ii) in which a reasonable period of parking should be allowed, to be regulated by parking meters, so as to cater for the genuine needs of those who have to use their cars during the day; the days and hours of operation of these parking places should be carefully defined.
  3. (iii) in which long-term (all-day) parking might be permitted at a relatively high price.
If in the course of this survey it is found that a case is made out for a limited degree of parking free of charge on any streets, recommendations to this effect should be made. In all cases where recommendations are made for permitted parking the maximum period or periods for which it should be allowed should be clearly defined.

3. It is most important that the motorist should be left in no doubt as to where he can or cannot park, and recommendations should be made as to the methods of sign-posting by which motorists should be told the limits of the special zone and the places within it at which parking is, or is not, allowed.

4. The pattern of existing restrictions should not be regarded as binding in connection with this survey; in particular existing legal differences between street parking places and unilateral waiting streets should be disregarded for the purposes of the survey. A realistic view should be taken of where cars do, in fact, park today for long periods without serious detriment to traffic flow, and in general, in considering the suitability of any given street or area for parking the needs of through traffic should be given high priority. The overriding need for a coherent parking plan may well involve some degree of interference with existing doctrines in regard to access.

* Report of the Working Party on Car Parking in the Inner Area of London, published in 1953.

5. Where streets are scheduled as prohibited streets (paragraph 2 (1) above) recommendations should be made as to any special measures necessary to regulate exemptions for loading and unloading, collection and delivery, picking up and setting down etc., and as to any alterations necessary to existing bus stops and taxi ranks.

6. Based on information derived from the survey referred to above estimates are required of

  1. (i) the total number of cars which could be accommodated at any one time at parking places recognised under the survey in streets, squares, etc., designated under paragraph 2 (ii) and (iii) above.
  2. (ii) the total number of cars which could be accommodated in public off-street parking places or garages, and
  3. (iii) the number of cars which would be displaced if the recommendations arising from the survey were adopted and rigorously enforced.

7. The survey should be based on the existing pattern of one-way streets and prohibited turns in the central area, but there is no objection to recommendations for changes in this pattern if such a course were thought to be reasonable and would enable increased accommodation for parking to be provided.