A DETAILED review of residents parking and permit schemes in Reading begins this week and will run through the summer.
As demand for limited parking spaces in Reading continues to increase, the Council has set up a scrutiny task and finish group to take an in-depth look at parking pressures and the obvious impact on local residents.
The cross-party group will look at why parking pressures are increasing, what works well with the current residents parking scheme and what doesn't, how other local authorities with similar parking pressures operate permit schemes, and possible future recommendations for changes to the Reading permit scheme.
There are currently around 13,000 households located within the existing 19 residents parking zones in Reading. First permits are free, with a charge for second permits. In 2011/2012, the parking permit service and the zoning system was updated. 52 zones were re-organised into 19 larger zones, with a better split between the number of permits being issued and the number of on-street parking spaces available. Despite the extra capacity and flexibility built in as part of the changes, increasing demands mean many of the zones are near to 100% capacity, with more permits issued than parking spaces available in three of the existing 19 zones.
Councillor Tony Jones was appointed Chair of the Task and Finish Group at a meeting of the Council's Traffic Management Sub Committee last month.
He said: "Parking permits first came to Reading in the mid-1970's to allow residents to park in streets that would otherwise have been occupied by shoppers or commuters. The rationale of the scheme remains the same, but the town has changed massively over 40 years. Reading is a major destination for employment and shopping. Set alongside the explosion in car ownership, the number of houses converted into flats and an increasing population, the impact on limited parking spaces is clear.
"As parking pressures grow so does demand for the introduction of residents parking schemes, which has spread from central Reading to other parts of the town. The job of the scrutiny panel is to consider whether the current permit scheme remains the right one for Reading, and to look at what how Council's coping with similar parking pressures operate permit schemes, and how enforcement and administration costs are covered.
"Key to this process will be feedback from local residents who experience parking pressures on a daily basis, and the frustration of not always being able to park near their homes. I would ask them to contact me directly with comments on the current scheme, what works well and what they would like to see change."
All evidence and feedback will then be considered by the scrutiny task and finish group, before the findings and recommendations are considered by a meeting of the Council's Traffic Management Sub Committee in November this year.
Residents Parking Scrutiny Task and Finish Group
The Terms of Reference for the scrutiny task and finish review were agreed at a meeting of the Council's Traffic Management Sub Committee on June15th and are: "To review the performance and current and future arrangements for delivery of Parking Services with a focus on the services relating to residents parking schemes."
Cross party members of the Residents Parking Scrutiny Task and Finish Group are: Cllr Tony Jones (Chair); Cllr Debs Absolom; Cllr Sarah Hacker; Cllr Liz Terry; Cllr Ed Hopper; Cllr Rob White