I saw this news story while we were away on holiday, and out of all the news stories from the two weeks this was the one I had to comment on. The idea which I deem to be moronic is this… let drivers park on double-yellow lines for 15 minutes in order to boost local trade.
There is good intent behind the idea – ‘local’ shops and the traditional British high street trade are struggling under the weight of competition from retail parks and megastores. So it stands to reason that it would help local trade if customers can park nearby and quickly visit the shops. Okay, I agree with that.
But let’s consider the point of double-yellow lines. Generally, they are placed on roads to instruct drivers NOT to park there. There will be a number of reasons why drivers shouldn’t park there – safety, visibility, impact on pedestrians, and the effect on the width of the road (and therefore the impact on the volume and flow of traffic).
Consider the scenario supported by the Conservatives and Eric Pickles… let shoppers park on the lines for 15 minutes. If the lines are there for any of the reasons listed above, parked cars could have an impact on safety and traffic. Someone will say “ooooh, but it’s only 15 minutes” – and after that driver has moved on someone else will park there for 15 minutes. And then someone else. And repeat. So the likelihood is that the place where cars shouldn’t be parking will be occupied by cars all day. Genius.
This mentality is very much like that which makes people think it’s okay to park in the supermarket pick-up point. “I’ll just be there a few minutes” – yep, and the selfish bastard who drives into the ‘space’ when you’ve vacated it… and the next, and the next. Why not just put your hazard-warning lights on? Then you can park anywhere.
Pickles believes that double-yellow lines are often put in place in order to generate revenue. If that’s the case local authorities should remove the lines if they can prove that safety and traffic aren’t impacted by parking. Leaving the lines in place and then telling people that parking is okay is pointless and will confuse drivers.