HC Deb 04 November 1959 vol 612 cc1022-4
31. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Transport what action is to be taken to deal with the present parking problems and traffic jams; and, in view of the proposals of the motor industry greatly to increase production, what it is proposed to do to meet the future situation.

52. Brigadier Clarke

asked the Minister of Transport what he proposes to do to minimise the congestion of traffic caused by day and night street parking.

58. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Transport how he proposes to reduce traffic jams in London and elsewhere.

Mr. Marples

I have already partly answered these Questions in previous replies today about what is being done to improve the road system and the problem of parking in residential streets. It will also be my policy to see that the road system is used to best advantage through the increased application of traffic engineering methods. I shall support schemes for the strict control of street parking wherever these may be justified.

Mr. Dodds

Would the right hon. Gentleman state when he hopes to make some comprehensive statement about this matter? Is he aware that whatever statements have been made up to now, including the trivialities mentioned last night in the Adjournment debate, they do not seem to match up to the situation? Will he make a statement before long? Otherwise, the situation which is now grave will become frightening.

Mr. Marples

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be reasonably tolerant and patient. I have been at the Ministry for sixteen days, and to make a statement quickly on a vast problem of this size is not too easy. Yesterday we announced the Mayfair parking meter scheme which will go some way towards alleviating the congestion in Central London. I shall not delay unduly.

Mr. Lipton

As it is clear that the Government do not intend to spend enough money to alter the centre of London and other large towns to cope with the growing volume of traffic, will the right hon. Gentleman consider some limitation in the number of vehicles coming into the centre of London and other large towns, whether he likes it or not? Will he say that his mind is open to the consideration of what seems to me to be the inevitable consequence?

Mr. Marples

I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's assumption about the expenditure of money. This is a difficult problem and it requires many different solutions; parking, urban congestion and the motorways all hang together as a composite whole. We must get a comprehensive policy to deal with what is probably the densest population of cars in the world.

Mr. Peyton

When my right hon. Friend gets the time, will he give urgent consideration to the question of providing sites for off-street parking facilities? We shall not make any progress in this matter until that is dealt with.

Mr. Marples

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for asking that question. I have already been to Selfridge's garage myself, which consists of off-street parking, and I have found that during the day there are always large spaces vacant if motorists would care to use them, but they are not using them. At the same time, I am going into the question of off-street parking, including perhaps underground parking, which would not involve massive skyscrapers.