In a bid to combat city congestion and promote the use of public transport, the Cardiff council is considering the implementation of a new zonal parking system. The proposed scheme, announced last week, involves the creation of four distinct zones, each with its own set of parking restrictions, prompting residents to reapply for new parking permits.
The initiative was subject to detailed scrutiny during a Cardiff council environmental committee meeting on January 11, where a council member emphasized the need for a robust public transport system alongside the proposed parking changes.
“I just wanted to stress how important it is that alongside that… we really need to ensure that public transport across the city and across the region allows people to conveniently and affordably get to where they need to go,” said the council member.
While expressing support for the idea in principle, the council member raised concerns about potential adverse effects on city centre businesses. They highlighted the current reliance on private vehicles, driven by the perceived lack of reliability and affordability of buses and trains.
“Many commuters are driving because they have got no other viable option. The buses and the trains aren’t always reliable enough, they are not always affordable enough, so people end up driving,” warned the council member, emphasizing the importance of enticing commuters to explore alternative modes of transportation.
The proposed zoning plan encompasses areas south of the A48, west of the River Rhymney, east of the River Ely, and north of Cardiff Bay. The council aims to simplify resident parking in streets and adjoining areas while addressing the concerns raised by the council member.
A council officer highlighted the potential positive impact on local businesses, stating, “A managed parking plan can help stimulate local businesses… by providing the capacity on street for a turnover. What you want is a full turnover.”
The plan envisions a phased introduction of the parking zones, incorporating features like secure urban cycle storage, bus franchising, and a reinvigorated car club. A Cabinet member for transport and strategic planning assured that the plan includes measures to make life easier for residents, striking a balance between incentives and regulations.
“There are things to make life easier for people. It is not all stick. There is some carrot in there too,” said the Cabinet member.
If cabinet members approve the proposal in a meeting on Thursday, January 18, a public consultation will follow. The proposed changes include alterations to existing parking permit terms and conditions, requiring all current permit holders to reapply for a new zonal permit specific to their locality.
Additionally, the new system mandates motorbike owners seeking on-street parking to apply for a permit. Visitor parking will be limited to 150 days per household each year. Special provisions include community on-street permits for places of worship and disability access groups, a business permit for on-street parking limited to businesses in the outer parking management area, and two types of carer permits.
As the city anticipates potential changes to its parking landscape, the delicate balance between encouraging public transport use and addressing the concerns of commuters remains at the forefront of Cardiff council’s considerations.