Report of the Director of the Built Environment.
The Committee considered a report of the Director of the Built Environment regarding the Traffic and Parking Service Programme 2020-2022.
The Assistant Director (Highways) reported that, when this Committee had last considered parking pay and display bays on 2016, they had expressed a desire to retain these in the City. However, cash now accounted for less than 1% (approximately £150 per day) of takings from the City’s on-street Pay & Display bays and it was therefore now recommended that a fully cashless on-street parking operation for Pay & Display bays be implemented. Members were informed that other elements of the re-evaluation of the Traffic and Parking Service Programme such as the introduction of new technology and changes in structure and delivery would be put before this Committee for approval as and when different matters progressed.
A Member commented that, at present, parking in the City was free on evenings and weekends. He suggested that this wrongly encouraged people to drive into the square mile when there were good transport links here. He asked that Officers reconsider this and the impact that this was having in terms of air pollution levels. He asked that they look at what other local authorities were doing in this area. The Assistant Director (Highways) commented that the Transport Strategy set the context of this and that it was a matter of balance. He undertook to look into the matter further as requested.
Another Member commented that he was generally supportive of the direction of travel here but sought assurances that these issues, which seemed to be presented as lots of separate pieces of work, would be addressed comprehensively. The Assistant Director (Highways) agreed with the point made and reassured the Committee that Officers were keen to continue to do everything in the round, look at the context of issues and develop a strategic approach that would also include engagement with Members along the way.
A Member commented that whilst there was no denying the move towards cashless parking, it could be that this would have unintended consequences for some vulnerable road users. She asked that this be balanced, by way of an Equalities Impact Assessment, against the envisaged £25,000 saving referenced within the report. She added that this was a very sensitive and interesting area and highlighted that recent reports from Finland had suggested that they were now beginning to move in the opposite direction on this. The Assistant Director (Highways) reported that a small trial had been undertaken whereby cash metres had been removed around Guildhall and no feedback whatsoever had been received in response.
In response to various further questions, the Assistant Director (Highways) reported that rules around parking were set by the Government. He added that feedback from the public on things such as engine idling had, however, assisted in identifying hotspots for this. A Member mentioned that a scheme incentivising the reporting of engine idlers by members of the public was currently being trialled in New York City.
In response to questions around how the performance of sub-contractors was monitored, the Assistant Director (Highways) stated that there were KPIs associated with the contracts and that inspectors were not incentivised to issue parking tickets. Contracts were monitored very closely and Officers were pleased to report that they were very satisfied with how these were being operated at present. There would, however, be significant opportunities to revise KPIs and the like going forward as contract retenders arose.
RESOLVED – That Members approve the implementation of a fully cashless on-street parking operation for Pay & Display bays subject to a satisfactory Equalities Impact Assessment.