York “free car parking” offer to be abandoned on 31st March

The scheme was introduced last year but was criticised for being complicated, applying to only some car parks and only for a limited number of days & hours.

Another Alexander project abandoned

Traders have confirmed that the offer – which cost £300,000 to subsidise – has had little effect on the number of customers that they have been getting.

A plan to pay for the scheme, using funds from a Business Improvement District organisation, appears to have fallen through

The scheme was the controversial brainchild of the former Council Leader James Alexander who was struggling to cope with traders anger in the wake of the Lendal bridge closure fiasco as well as fears that the new John Lewis store at Monks Cross would pull shoppers away from the City centre.

It will be a “double whammy” for visitors to the City centre from 1st April as a proposal by Green Councillors, to raise hourly parking charges by 10p, will also kick in.

Parking changes from 1 April will also effect on street parking and season permits across the city, 

• The standard rate of car park and on-street charges: will increase by 10p per hour to vehicles not displaying a Minster Badge (an optional resident parking permit). 

• Residents who are signed up to the Minster Badge scheme:  will benefit from an additional FREE hour in car parks on Friday and Saturday evening (which moves from 5pm instead of 6pm). Valid in selected car parks only.

• Pay-by-phone option (in selected car parks) remains 10p cheaper per hour than the standard rate.

• Season parking tickets: An increase of approximately four per cent.

From the end of March the council will also be installing new tariff boards in all council car parks to display the new charges.

For more details about parking in York visit www.york.gov.uk/parking 

Travelling in York? Plan journeys in advance by using the online Journey Planner at www.itravelyork.info

Free car parking – Labour plans DID NOT have business support.

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Proposals to introduce free parking at some City centre car parks were agreed by the Labour Cabinet last week.

The “free parking” plan covers the period between 8:00am and 11:00am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Only a limited number of car parks will benefit from the change.

The plan has been heavily criticised as it will encourage more traffic onto the highways network between 8:00am and 9:00am when congestion is at its worst.

Labour claimed that the plan was the result of a proposal from businesses in the City

…..but we can reveal that was not the case.

In their original plan businesses wanted free parking to operate between 9:00am (when most shops open) and 11:00am.

They did favour the concession being available between Thursday and Saturday but wanted it to apply to all car parks.

Pay on Exit” would also have been introduced at the Castle car park as well as at Marygate.

It appears that Labour spokespeople have been economical with the truth again and face a grilling when the proposal – which has been “called in” for further consideration – is discussed.

There is a “calling in “ meeting scheduled to take place on  12th May 2014 to discuss the Council’s latest Local Plan proposals.

So far, the “Free Parking” issue has not been added to that agenda, suggesting that the Labour Councillors are now desperately casting around for figures to support their perverse decision.

“Free” parking scheme – report published

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The York Council has sneaked an additional report onto the agenda of its “Cabinet” meeting which is taking place on 24th April.

It will discuss the plans for the free City centre parking scheme – which was originally scheduled to be considered on 6th May.

The change to the agenda has not been formally publicised, so many residents will be unaware that they have very little time – over Easter – to make their views known.

The report says that any continuation of “free” parking – after the Vanguard section S106 monies have run out – will be funded by City centre businesses that will be expected to participate in a “Business Improvement District” (BID).

The last attempt to form a BID in York floundered as most businesses did not wish to subscribe.

The Council has admitted that the scheme will cost it £275,000 in income plus any reduced income resulting from those drivers who switch to the free period from other times of the day (or from those car parks on which charges wills till apply like Bootham Row).

Our estimate of £500,000 a year in lost income seems about right.

The Council seems to have no idea what the impact on the viability of park and ride services will be.  No allocation for lost fare revenue is included in the costings.

No consultation with NCP and other private sector car park operators appears to have taken place.

The report is silent on how visitors will be reminded that, if they arrive during a “free” period, they may still need to purchase a pay and display ticket if they intend to continue their stay after 11:00am.

Some Council car parks will still charge £2 an hour during the “free” period. Quite why anyone would chose to pay when they can park for free nearby is not explained!

No assessment is made of the effect that the scheme will have on peak period traffic volumes. There is no acknowledgement of the impact that the change may have on deliveries which will be taking place in the Footstreets during these hours.

No attempt has been made to explain why the free period starts at 8:00am – before many businesses and most shops have opened.

We still believe that this scheme has not been fully thought through although the Council Leader James Al;exander asserts that he has spent 6 months working up the plan!