Thursday, 18 December 2008

Residents parking in Maidstone

This is from Ian McDonald to the KM on resident's parking. Please read the entire letter as the end is different to the start!

I would tend to be one of those supporting the introduction of the charge of £25 as a minimum for residential car parking in Maidstone, including my own street, and charges for Sunday car parking in the town. We cannot cater for the growing car ownership in many older streets, with many addresses having two or three cars, unless we start knocking houses down to make room for parking lots. Also cheap and free car parking in the town centre contributes to worsening congestion and pollution. Furthermore regular shoppers will not "go and shop elsewhere instead," even if they spin these views in the papers and on television for effect. All these indignant protests are made while many of us claim to be "doing our bit" to save the planet, while others are lulled by the temporary fall in oil prices caused by economic recession. Certainly we are going to have to look more closely at our love affair with the car in a couple of years time.
But I say "would" tend to support, if I knew the finance generated was being used to improve the bus services for everyone, and either cut or keep low fares on Park-and-Ride bus services, to encourage more shoppers and workers to travel more environmentally. Or to help pay for useful new railway stations at Tovil/Fant or elsewhere in the borough. But no, far from it; the Conservative Council plans to increase these bus fares, and abolish the London Road service entirely outside the rush hours, while existing Snodland and Larkfield bus passengers are treated to an additional 3-4 minute circuit of the car park at these times!
So yes I agree that they should be examining ways to reduce car dependence and parking anarchy, and make our streets more pleasant to live in, but, no, they should not be using this charge as a cynical way to help with their other revenue shortfalls, or their overspending on the unneccessary fripperies they enjoy so much.
Ian McDonald
(Transport spokesman for Maidstone Green Party)

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