The AA recently commissioned research about parking in residential areas. The results revealed that competition for parking spaces outside homes is becoming more fierce as motorists reveal concerns about finding parking spots. One in ten drivers (12%) are now putting off making journeys in their car for fear of losing parking spots.
The AA polled 24,739 motorists and the survey revealed:
19% of drivers “always worry” about being able to park as they approach home.
Londoners feel the most affected and 36% anxious about parking and 24% abandon or postpone journeys.
In the North East, South East and Wales 20% drivers are concerned about the availability of parking spaces outside their homes. The poll revealed that 12-13% of motorists in these areas put off making journeys in their car for this reason.
So, where in the UK are people most relaxed about parking outside their homes? The answer is East Anglia where only 13% of drivers were concerned and only 7% delayed journeys. This helps to reveal an underlying relationship between parking concerns and car ownership. People in London have the fewest cars or vans per household (0.8) while those in East Anglia have the joint most (1.3) according to the Department for Transport.
A while ago the AA conducted a different poll which found that 47% of drivers reported a large number of vehicles parking on pavements near their homes. At least 12% of these people have witnessed arguments between neighbours over this issue.
The AA believe that rising house prices are forcing people to live further from their workplaces so they need cars in order to commute. This means that some homes which have several adults may mean that there are two or more cars parked nearby. Densely populate areas where buildings or houses have been converted into flats also leads to more cars parked in a constricted area.
The AA state that the problem could be eased if local authorities reviewed parking restrictions in residential areas. Some councils have been helpful and allow parking on both sides of the road. However, many others create parking permit zones which infuriates residents who don’t want to have to pay to park outside their own homes. The AA think that councils should review the use of yellow lines in residential areas as these parking restrictions may no longer be necessary and could alleviate parking issues.
The Local Government Association (LGA) claim that they are “on the side of motorists”. They also bemoan the difficulties of balancing the needs of commuters and residents and say that there just isn’t enough space to meet the growing demand for parking.
Of course, the solution is to get a driveway put in so you can park on that. Converting gardens into driveways in urban areas has lead to an increase in flooding as the amount of water going into storm drains is increased. New regulations put in place in 2008 mean that you will need planning permission to put in a driveway if you are not using a permeable material. Using permeable materials or directing water to a lawn enables rainwater to slowly seep into the drainage system rather than flood in. The more driveways installed the more pressure on an archaic drainage system. Hard surfaces like driveways can increase surface water run off double fold.
If your driveway crosses the pavement or verge outside your home then you will need to obtain permission from the Highways Department at the local council. The kerb will need to be dropped to the road level so that it doesn’t become damaged as you drive over it. Councils vary in their approach to this, some will do the work themselves and others will expect you to do it and they will insist you use contractors that they approve of. Whoever does the work, you will have to pay for it. Costs are determined by the local council and depend on the area of footpath used to access the driveway. Many councils do offer a scheme for elderly and disabled people to apply for a dropped kerb grant. However, this grant usually applies only to the cost of the footway crossing and not making the driveway hard standing.
So just as you find the solution to one problem, another can of worms opens up. The life of a motorist!