Problem in Northumberland


Problem in Northumberland

For those of you who don’t frequent the English Countryside, a “housing estate” is a poorly designed area of duplexes and fourplexes built cheek by jowl on narrow curving streets. It’s like a typical housing tract in the US but with streets half as wide and twice as many houses on the same amount of space. If we built something like this here, they would be apartment houses or townhomes with green belts, parks, and lots of parking. What has happened in this case is that people are parking on both sides of the street and when they do, it’s almost impossible for cars, trucks, or buses to fit down the street. Oh, did I mention that each living unit has a garage, usually one car. In this article the local traffic guru has basically thrown his hands in the air and said “There is nothing we can do.” People want to park in front of their houses and that’s that.

As I’m sure you expected, you humble servant has a possible solution. Issue one parking permit for each housing unit. If a car has that permit they can park on the street. It is free. The second permit can be purchased but its £150 a month. Outrageous, you say. Nope – See virtually none of the residents is using their garages for what they were intended. They are full of storage and junk. There is a perfectly good self storage complex just down the road and for £75 a month they can rent a unit and put all their treasures there. Then they can park their car in a garage thus taking half the cars off the street. If you want to become very draconian, you can restrict parking to one side of the street.

It seems to me that if a family can afford two or three cars, they can afford to pay to park at least one or two of them. My guess is that if money were involved, some entrepreneur would set up a parking facility nearby where people could rent spaces for their cars and walk the three blocks to their house. However as long as the local government sees fit to subsidize parking by allowing residents and visitors to park for free, none of this will happen and yes, “there is nothing they can do.”


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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