The news that Bristol is set to go ahead with Residents Parking Schemes (RPS), which leaked out last week thanks to an injudicious blogger, is forcing car owners in Cotham and Clifton (see proposed RPS zone below) to have a serious rethink about their position. It's one thing to vote for or against RPS when none are in existence, quite another when you know that the streets near you are going to have one, displacing much of their parking in your direction!
The displacement of parking from RPS zones will be much greater than most people realise. Not only will there be the commuter/visitor parking targeted, but also all the illegal parking which is currently tolerated, including parking near corners and of course on pavements (at least we hope). Many streets which currently have parking on both sides by 'virtue' of pavement parking may find that they will only have designated parking on one side under RPS. Plus designated 'Pay & Display' places will be taken out of what's left for residents.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm all in favour of that. But adjacent areas aren't going to know what hits them. And there's more. The areas selected for the first RPS zones contain a lot of houses converted to flats and Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), so it's unlikely that more than one permit will be available per household. So what will those households with second or third cars do? Why, park outside the RPS zone of course. In some cases these residents vehicles may not be used much more than once a week, but they will be parked permanently in the streets just outside the zone.
So the worst outcome for anyone with a vehicle to park on-street (which includes me) is to be outside but within half a mile of an RPS zone. I don't suppose I'm the only person in Clifton or Cotham (proposed RPS zone above) with enough brains to work that one out, so as the truth dawns we can expect a bit of a scramble to get included in the pilot schemes. It's also clear that enforcement of parking regulations is only going to happen in RPS zones so even non car owners have a vested interest in being in one.
To explore the reasoning behind this from a somewhat cynical perspective see James Barlow and The Prisoner's Dilemma and Salami Tactics. There are also interesting observations on RPS over at Bristol Traffic, who have kindly made the maps shown available for download. Long live the fraternity of bloggers.