Plan the parking and keep the peace, say the experts

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Poorly planned residential parking can lead to neighbourhood disputes, increased crime, danger to pedestrians and ultimately, undermine public health – this is the stark picture laid out in a report produced jointly by the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) and the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation (CIHT).

Parking problems manifest themselves in pavement parking, blocked driveways, difficult access for delivery vehicles and refuse collectors, damage to verges, trees and footpaths, and cluttered, unsightly streets, according to the report.

They cause tension between neighbours that has been known to escalate into violence, and reduce the likelihood of children using the street for play. Neighbourhoods that generally well-designed often have their appearance ruined by poor planning in parking for residents and their visitors.

The report also concludes:

Allocating parking to individual homes increases the amount of parking space needed – a more flexible approach increases overall use of space

The size or location of property is not a clear indicator of the space needed: residents of two- and three-bedroomed houses have a vastly differing needs for space

Car-owners like to be able to see their car and know it is securely parked

Car-parks tucked away behind residential blocks attract vandalism and crime, and tend to be underused because of this – leading to serious on-street parking problems

Car ports are more likely than garages to be used for parking.

Garages are more often used for storage than parking, especially when the size of the garage does not relate to the size of modern cars

A single garage needs to be big enough for additional storage – and even then it may not be used for parking

A double garage is often used for a single vehicle with bicycles, motorcycles, domestic appliances and garden equipment stored in preference to cars

If on-street parking is strictly enforced, garage parking is more likely – but again, doors need to be high and wide enough for modern vehicles

The emergency services, especially the Fire Service, are sometimes confronted by the partial – even total - obstruction of streets where the design concept for parking has failed to meet the expectations and practice of residents and their visitors. Designing with emergency access in mind will also reduce problems associated with deliveries, removals and refuse collection.

Similarly, access for all road users can be undermined when people park on or across footways, and in other places that were primarily designed for non-vehicular movement. Vulnerable street users, in particular, often feel unsafe when this occurs.

The report notes that residents’ perceptions of the safety of their streets and their willingness to let their children own and use bicycles are undermined by ad hoc on-street parking. Conversely, residential areas with cycle ownership and use tend to be those without parking problems and fears about safety.

As such, getting the parking right appears to contribute towards the personal health agenda for all residents.

The new guide to planning residential parking is available in electronic format only and can be downloaded from the {http://|IHE website} and the {http://|CIHT website}.