Officers got it wrong claims Cllr Rowley in Sunday parking

Councillor Rowley seems to be in dispute with his own officers over the statistics supporting the introduction of Sunday and weekday evening parking charges.

Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg

Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg

At Westminster Councils City Management and Transport Policy and Scrutiny Committee meeting last night Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg asked Councillor Rowley:

From the questions I’ve asked the officers it appears by not allowing people to park in the evening and Sunday afternoon on single yellow lines something like 1700 parking bays are taken out of use. Now how does that loss of capacity help drivers who are coming to the West End in the evening or Sunday afternoon, how does it help them find a parking space. How does reducing capacity help drivers?”

An irritated looking Cllr Rowley replied;

The premise of your point is incorrect. You have taken a measurement of the amount of single yellow lines on the city streets in the affected zones. You have then taken an average I assume of the average amount per bay of yellow line take up and done a simple…”

At that point Cllr Dimoldenberg again reminded Cllr Rowley that it was his officers who had supplied the figures, to which Cllr Rowley continued;

..and it’s incorrect. Well whether it’s you or the officers,  it’s incorrect. It will be the equivalent of. It is not 1700 parking spaces, it’s the equivalent of. It isn’t true to say that 1700 parking spaces will be taken up in the city of Westminster. Single yellow lines will be controlled in a way that was made clear during this consultation period to secure the expeditious movement of traffic. ….. it’s mischievous to suggest otherwise Paul, but that’s your game

Council officers Leith Penny, Rosemarie Macqueen and Martin Low

Council officers Leith Penny, Rosemarie Macqueen and Martin Low

Council officers sitting further down the committee table from Rowley spoke up to defend their statistics, with Martin Low stating “In relation to the total length of single yellow line in the areas that are affected it is about 1700 metres. Certainly the equivalent of about 1700 spaces on the basis of looking at the information we have.”

BBC's Gareth Furby interviews Cllr Lee Rowley

BBC's Gareth Furby interviews Cllr Lee Rowley

So far Cllr Rowley has changed the recommendations put forward by his officers three times, telling them last night that “Officers had not struck the correct balance”. On the 1st August he changed the hours of the new Sunday parking enforcement. Later Rowley altered the times residents could park in pay-by-phone bays, then last night Rowley stood in front of the TV cameras announcing he’s changed the start date for the whole parking experiment.

Nutsville left the meeting last night feeling assured that no one was making things up as they went along and we all went home in the full confidence that Cllr Rowley was right to say the Council officers were incorrect.

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6 Comments

MikeOctober 13th, 2011 at 9:09 am

How does 1700 *metres* of yellow lines equate to 1700 parking *spaces* (unless they / you are talking about m/c parking spaces)? The official size for a parking bay is 6 metres long, so 1700 metres should equate to around 284 car parking spaces!

As for the general issue of reducing the available parking space, well that has been going on for years, in WCC – for example, it just needs a quick check on overall parking capacities in the 2011 Parking Occupancy Survey against the figures it quotes from the equivalent 2006 Survey!

MikeOctober 18th, 2011 at 8:59 am

Will my previous comment ever be “moderated”?

I note, by the way, that nutsville previously listed the number of *metres* of yellow line – it’s obviously just WCC (Martin Low) who don’t know the difference between metres and parking spaces!

EsinemOctober 24th, 2011 at 7:24 am

I have repeatedly asked Cllr Rowley for the year on year change in the number of available parking spaces but apparently they don’t have that information!! I would have thought that would have been the starting point for parking management! However, I caught them out lying and showed that 8,500 places in 2007/8 was reduced to 6,753 in 2009:

“Thank you for your reply. To my first question “How many parking spaces does Westminster City Council (WCC) provide for non-resident parking, broken down by vehicle type, i.e. car, motorcycle etc and whether it is free or paid for? Please provide data for the last five years.” You replied:

1. The breakdown of non resident controlled parking spaces in the City of Westminster is as follows:

• 30,012 resident bays;
• 4,149 Visitor Pay by Phone bays;
• 2,604 other paid Visitor bays;
• 6,150 paid for Motorcycle bays;
• 220 White Badge disabled bays;
• 480 Blue Badge bays;
• 102 Car Club bays;
• 21 Electric vehicle charge bays;
• 546 special user group bays for taxis, coaches, doctors, hospitals, diplomats.

Regrettably, it is not possible to advise what the comparable trends are – e.g. over the last 5 years, as this information is not held by the City Council and is as a result, is not available for the purpose of Section 1 (4) of the FOI Act 2000.

I have reason to believe that it is untrue that “information is not held by the City Council” on the number of parking spaces. To quote Alastair Gilchrist in a “Case study – Westminster Council (Parking Services)” Source: http://www.ttauk.com/ttauk/documents/CSWestminsterCouncil.pdf : “All of Westminster’s 8,500 parking bays are now enabled for pay-by-phone parking and it expects that by March 2009 it will have physically removed the remaining 2,000 meters and cash-taking pay and display machines from the streets.” This proves such data was in fact held in years prior to 2009.”

EsinemOctober 24th, 2011 at 7:40 am

I have further evidence, in the form of their own Parking Services Business Plan 2006/07, which shows that the council withheld the information requested and denied having such information. The number of parking spaces is clearly shown:

2.1 Key resources provided or managed by the Parking Service:

• 37,000 residents Permits
o 32,000 spaces
• 8,000 metered spaces
o 700 P&D’s – covering 3,500 spaces
o 4,500 meters
• 5,500 off street spaces
• 5,500 Westminster Disabled Parking Permits
• 20,000 tradesman permits
• 14,000 suspensions per annum
• 6,000 other permits and permissions to park
• 1,600 annual Car Park season tickets

MikeOctober 24th, 2011 at 9:31 am

Esinem – I’ve seen so many, varying, values for the numbers of parking spaces in WCC, over the years!! Yet, they produce a Parking Report, each year, which many of these numbers, they have had two Parking Occupancy Surveys (2006 and 2011), which evidence these numbers, so it does clearly seem to be a case of information being withheld, although whether it’s through incompetence, a deliberate act, a lack of knowledge of what is held, porr procedures, or (most likely) a combination of all of those, is hard to determine, at times! That said, the figures in your second comment above do seem to be rather too “round” to be precise, although I guess they give a good idea of the actual numbers!

EsinemOctober 25th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

The point is that WCC seem to being coping with the “increasing demand for kerb space” by reducing parking spaces. The cynical might say there is more money to be made from an illegally parked motorist than a legally parked one. Plus, there is the old law of supply and demand. Prices will rise if demand exceeds supply. If you have a virtual monopoly, you can increase prices by reducing supply. As it appears that demand is falling as a result of the congestion charge, exorbitant fines and parking fees, the only way to maintain their grotesque profits is to reduce supply. Simples!

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