No local issue has prompted more correspondence to me in recent years than the Mayor’s Residents Parking Schemes (RPS). Last year hundreds of people from across the constituency got in touch to share their views both for and against, subsequently schemes were halted in many parts of south Bristol. Media reporting over the past few months has meant that residents in Totterdown, Windmill Hill and parts of Bedminster could be forgiven for thinking that this was now only an issue for Clifton and other communities north of the river.
However the Bower Ashton RPS is now fully operational and during the late spring residents of Southville were invited to give their views on a RPS. Regrettably the Mayor has refused to share the detailed feedback from the consultation, I remain very disappointed with that decision.
In the coming days Bristol City Council is due to publish revised proposals for parking in Southville. It has always been obvious to me that the “one size fits all” approach was bound to fail. It is my hope that the final proposals for Southville take full account of local opinion and if necessary the scope of the RPS amended accordingly. I remain very concerned about the cost of permits, particularly to vulnerable people who need a car, I hope that this will be looked at afresh.
The past few years have seen some local improvements in public transport such as the new bus shelters on North Street and elsewhere, the real-time service information and the introduction of a new fares structure. Should an RPS be implemented in Southville I would expect First Bus to reconsider their decision to stop operating along Beauley Road. I have long been a supporter of moves to reduce the reliance on the private car but it should be remembered that not everyone has the ability to cycle, or walk to a distant bus stop.
As plans progress for the Bristol Arena close to Temple Meads I want to see the Council bringing forward sensible plans for an RPS covering Totterdown, Windmill Hill and parts of Knowle. Despite assurances to the contrary it is inevitable that there will be some increase in both traffic and parking problems should the arena be built. In my view local people should not bear the cost of an RPS which will be needed because of an £80million development which benefits the whole city.
It is clear that the Mayor is still very keen to introduce Residents Parking Schemes but if implemented they must be tailored to suit local needs. I would therefore urge everyone in Southville to have their say in the formal consultation due this month.