In September, the Council published a consultants report on the future of City centre transport systems in York. The proposals were referred by a working group for further development and consultation, with a promise that a further report “would be published before the end of the year”. As that deadline is fast approaching we are taking a closer look at some of the options included in the report.
Today we look at the car parking plans.
Perhaps first it needs to be said that the conclusions are marred by the fact that no costings have been undertaken and we still await the “modelling” work which will predict the effect that any road closures would have on other parts of the network. It is highly likely that many of the proposals will simply not be affordable in the foreseeable future.
Under the proposals, the number of municipal car parking spaces available in the city centre would be reduced by 350. This would be most noticeable on the west of the Ouse with Nunnery Lane being reduced in size, leaving only 206 spaces available (Nunnery Lane, Esplanade and Bishopthorpe Road).
The consultants want to close the Castle, Haymarket and Stonebow House car parks. A new multi storey car park would be built at the inner ring road end of Piccadilly. The Coppergate shopping centre car park would be converted for use by disabled pass holders only.
St Georges might accommodate a second tier but with a reduced footprint (leaving the rest as a park….. or water feature depending on the time of year!)
Other car parks – including, interestingly, Union Terrace – are regarded as important contributors to the economic health of the City centre and would be retained.
No reference is made in the report to “on street” car parking but is likely to be much more difficult to drive to spaces within the city walls under other proposals contained in the report.
The consultants refer to “pay on exit” being introduced at short and “medium” stay car parks…..although the latter were phased out some 4 years ago(!)
The report assumes an increase in park and ride spaces from 3750 to 5350.
Car park charges would be “sufficiently high to make park and ride attractive”
Resident parking discounts would be discontinued.
The consultants fail to appreciate that car parking revenue is one of the few ways in which York residents directly benefit from the City’s popularity as a tourist destination. Removing the York resident discounts would be hugely unpopular.
Rather the City should look to introduce a much more flexible system of charges which would encourage increased visits by providing off peak and frequent user discounts. The reintroduction of, fundamentally unreliable, electro mechanical exit barriers at surface level car parks would be a big step backwards. Instead use should be made of the new generation of smartcards which are now available.
The location of a large (450 space) car park on Piccadilly would mean a longish walk for shoppers carrying bulky goods.
It’s fair to say that the car parking proposals are amongst the least convincing of any included in the document.