Parking Permits – driving the way forward, or stuck in reverse gear?

If you look at any residential parking permit scheme that gets introduced, you will find that some local residents will be in great support of the idea, and some will be staunchly against it.  Personally, I can see both sides of the argument having lived in a number of permitted and non-permitted areas of Portsmouth (a city with well documented parking problems).

London Parking

A residents parking scheme has just been lifted where I currently live after being active for several years, and this has been met with a mixed reaction from residents in the local area who have different views on the scheme. It was evident while my road was permitted that it was only half full with cars at best. This seemed to me to be a waste of valuable car parking, especially in a congested city such as Portsmouth where we surely need to be efficient with the space that we have.

You will find that the reasons for introducing parking permits are broadly the same. They are a measure which aims to reduce congestion, overspill and other associated parking pressures in certain locations by encouraging people to use car parks or public transport, while also enabling residents to be able to park close to their homes. These schemes are particularly prevalent in congested city areas that may suffer from overspill from shopping centres or other attractions, though this seems to be simple to understand and implement in theory rather than in practice.

You will find that some residents advocate the use of permits in their street as this guarantees them a space in what would otherwise be a crowded road, especially at peak times. Most will quite happily pay for the permit, as they are usually set at a reasonable price, with the first permit often being offered for free. Some would however argue that there shouldn’t be a price as they live there and deserve to park outside their house.

However, residents that live in close proximity to a permitted zone, but aren’t in a zone themselves will mostly be against them as they can cause ‘displacement parking’. This is where somebody without a permit for a particular road parks in a nearby road without a permit, thereby exacerbating the congestion in this location.

Is there any way to improve upon this disjointed form of traffic management? In my research for this blog I saw a lot of calls from residents to either introduce city wide permit schemes, or scrap them completely in order to get a system that works. I can see merits to both ideas but it does highlight the fact that this issue needs to be addressed holistically, and not on a street by street basis.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has recently called on Councils to ensure more parking spaces are provided for new homes in an attempt to end a ‘vicious cycle’ of clogged up streets. He stated “No space at home leaves no space on the road. We need to cease this vicious cycle that leaves our streets endlessly clogged up. Allowing the market to offer enough parking spaces will help take the pressure off our congested roads”.

This way of thinking will certainly help in the future with new developments in mind, but surely we need to look at a better way of managing our current parking issues.

Is your road permitted? If not, do you wish it was? Are you affected by displacement parking due to a nearby resident parking scheme? Let us know your thoughts on what you think is best solution for the future of parking on our roads.


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