Story by: ANDREW PAPWORTH
Saturday, December 8, 2012
SHOPPERS and commuters are being urged not to park in residential streets and to use Huntingdon’s car parks – even if the minimum charge doubles next year.
Sam Hicks, of Alberta Crescent, Huntingdon, said she was increasingly concerned about the number of vehicles parking in American Lane – close to adjoining junctions – and is worried it is only going to get worse.
“This is becoming a danger to people trying to manoeuvre in and out of Alberta Crescent and also cars travelling down American Lane,” the 38-year-old said. “The way in which some of the cars park is making it a hazard pulling on to American Lane.
“The situation needs monitoring. Are we waiting for a child to be knocked down or a major accident to occur?”
She believed the situation would get worse if Huntingdonshire District Council pushed ahead with its plans to double the minimum stay – and the minimum charge – at most of its car parks. She feared motorists would seek to avoid the charges by parking on streets further outside the town centre.
Councillor Mike Shellens, who represents the Huntingdon East ward on the district council, visited the area with a Cambridgeshire County Council engineer to investigate the problem.
He said it was difficult for cars trying to get in and out of junctions but said a Traffic Regulation Order, which gives the council legal power to regulate car parking and vehicle movement, could be the only solution.
However, a county council traffic engineer told Ms Hicks in an e-mail: “Such orders typically cost in the region of £2,500 to £3,000. Understandably, we receive many requests from residents for various traffic orders to improve safety.
“Unfortunately, the cost of funding all the requests for improvements to the county road network always exceed the budgets that the county council is able to allocate for this work.
“Therefore, priorities have to be set by councillors, which means that we are unable to deliver many of the measures being requested.”
The engineer said the first recourse to illegal parking should be via the police, who can issue fines for cars causing an obstruction.
However, she understood that “calls for police assistance are prioritised and they can only attend incidents in line with other calls on their limited resources”.
Cllr Shellens said: “We’re looking for people to co-operate rather than fine people, which is unpleasant.”