Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180
WEDNESDAY 7 DECEMBER 2005
Q180 Clive Efford: Is that the reality
though? I can think of stations in my constituency with the trains
late at night, the last few trains, with few people getting off
and if you were a woman on your own, whether it was lit up or
not you would feel vulnerable.
Mr Franklin: The trouble is, it
is about an ever-decreasing circle because the more people who
do not use public space on foot, the less safe it becomes. So
what we need to do is increase the number of people who feel safe
in the public space and use it because we feel safer when there
are other people around. So by in a sense turning that into a
virtual circle we can make streets far safer at night by actually
doing things like making sure there are clear routes, good signage,
that the lighting is good and that it does not just follow the
carriageway, it actually follows the walking routes. Sometimes
that can be off the direct route of the carriageway. Things like
that will encourage people to use the streets at night and therefore
people will safer.
Q181 Clive Efford: That requires
a partnership between the local authority and the transport provider,
does it not? Do you think there is enough work done around that?
That is a very compelling argument you have just made.
Mr Franklin: I think in this whole
area there is not enough attention being placed on this because
there is so much attention being placed on the needs of traffic
first, motorised traffic. Despite all the talk of the transport
hierarchy with pedestrians at the top, the reality is that they
are just getting scraps in terms of the attention and I think
there needs to be much more focus being placed not just by local
authorities but by the bus operators, the train operators, and
so on. So many bus stops are in a terrible state and the routes
to those bus stops are in a terrible state. If we want to encourage
people to use public transport, we should not just look at the
bus, we should look at the routes to the bus stops as well.
Q182 Chairman: The bus companies
do complain bitterly about on-street parking, for example, impeding
them. Have you any solutions for them?
Mr Adams: We work with the bus
transport network very closely to look at the hot-spots
Q183 Chairman: Mr Adams, I am sorry
I am going to sound like my friend Mr Martlew, but there is a
different situation in London. You can talk to the bus companies
in a completely different way because those of us who are outside
London who do not have the same contractual relationship find
time after time the companies do what they like. They have very
interesting ideas of traffic planning like not going to the main
station because they want to turn off a quarter of a mile earlier,
which is a problem I have had, and not going down the most heavily
domesticated roads because they say there are too many cars and
they cannot drive down there. Their interpretation of traffic
planning, Mr Adams, outside this capital city is not necessarily
the one you recognise!
Mr Elliott: I think one of the
problems is the 1984 Act from the local authority point of view
made public transport planning outside London extremely difficult,
but that is another subject which you may be having another inquiry
Q184 Chairman: Yes. I think, Mr Elliott,
if we manage to go through Buchanan and the 1984 Act we shall
be here for some time!
Mr Link: Chairman, there are,
nevertheless, good examples outside London where that is happening,
so it is possible.
Q185 Chairman: If I did not believe
there was anywhere in the United Kingdom that was capable of solving
this problem, Mr Link, I would not be sitting in this chair. The
ALG witness did suggest signage was completely regulated by the
Government, but you are all suggesting there is a slight scope
for improved clarity. Have local councils got that choice and
Mr Link: I think the point was
that the current signing guidelines are not helpful. They are
not clear, certainly to large numbers of the public, and a revision
to the signing regulations is well-overdue. The evidence to move
forward has been with the Department for Transport for some years.
Q186 Chairman: Since there has been
decriminalised parking the number of reported parking contraventions
has increased very significantly. Is that a trend which ought
to worry us?
Mr Elliott: I think that when
parking enforcement is first decriminalised because it has been
so badly done before the number of penalties will increase very
markedly. I said earlier a third of a million people were parking
illegally in central London every day before decriminalisation
and there were one and a half million tickets issued in a year,
so it was scratching the surface then, so it is a massive improvement.
Q187 Chairman: You do suggest in
your memorandum particularly that performance indicators should
be restricted to levels of compliance rather than numbers of tickets
issued, do you not?
Mr Elliott: If you can measure
compliance well. It is what we are all trying to achieve.
Q188 Chairman: How do you do that?
Mr Elliott: Some authorities have
been doing it. You can monitor parking spaces continually or monitor
illegal parking continuously in between the times the attendant
comes around and see how many extra offences are committed. One
central London authorityagain it is the central London
authorities which have the resources, I am afraid, to do these
sorts of thingsfound that only one in 10 of offenders do
actually get tickets, and that is a very well-managed authority
with lots of resources in central London.
Q189 Chairman: So do you think that
the actual count levels of penalties for parking infringements
Mr Adams: I think there could
be a change, a variable change, i.e. where cars are overstaying
on a meter, depending on a car which is parked on a double yellow
line. It is a different infringement and I think the penalties
should be higher for those cars parked on the double yellow line.
Q190 Chairman: So where should you
permit clamping and removal of vehicles?
Mr Adams: It is the ultimate deterrent,
the removal, and certainly again where you have built-up cities
you have persistent evaders and you will need to remove those
vehicles. It is difficult sometimes to remove all the vehicles
or get to the vehicles, so therefore you need to clamp them and
I think it is important you have that end deterrent.
Q191 Chairman: Yes. We were told
originally that the American scheme regarded this as a progression.
You would not say so? Because we are asking very specifically
what numbers and in what circumstances would you expect clamping
to be part of your weaponry?
Mr Adams: I think it is difficult
to put an exact number on it, but I think it is important that
you have it as a back-up system in terms of supporting the general
enforcement of ticketing.
Q192 Chairman: Do you have any idea
at all how many people are persistent offenders, any rough %age?
Mr Elliott, do you have this in your weaponry?
Mr Elliott: I have done a persistent
evader study. I cannot quite remember, but I feel it was something
like 10% of the tickets.
Q193 Chairman: You could perhaps
confirm that to us in writing when you have had time to dig it
Mr Elliott: I will see if I can
find it. I cannot guarantee that.
Q194 Chairman: You are quite clear
that you think councils could in fact do a lot more as far as
the signage is concerned, is that so? Mr Franklin, you want it
all cleaned up, do you not, in your streetscape. So how should
we really accommodate increased demand for parking? We have been
talking about Victorian streets. I can give you a classic example
because my town was built at the same time as Mr Martlew's. Victorian
houses did not expect people to be in love with combustion engines,
which was not a problem then, and people are consistently complaining
that having bought the terraced houses they cannot park outside
the door. Well, no, but then what do we do about that, say "Tough"?
Mr Franklin: I think sometimes
we are going to have to say "Tough."
Q195 Chairman: You have never been
a councillor, I take it?
Mr Franklin: I am a councillor,
actually. I know very well. We cannot do a sort of predict and
provide on this, because the proportion of people who own cars
and the number of households with two cars is going up all the
Q196 Chairman: So are you going to
put a limit on the numbers of vehicles in a particular street,
or are you going to say, "No one can park in this street"?
Mr Franklin: I think it is about
limits, the space which is available there and looking at what
other needs are there too. For instance, in the home zone area
parking is allowed but it is allowed with other activities going
on too, including spaces for children to play, etc. Parking can
actually be used in those sorts of circumstances in a way which
enhances the street environment and slows the traffic down.
Q197 Chairman: I have to tell you
it is known to most elected members as being the one cause of
enormous friction. Now we have started you off! Yes, Mr Elliott?
Mr Elliott: I recognise that.
I have lived with that for a long time and I have worked for central
London and outside. It is again a question of why, because people
think, "I've got a right to park on the street."
Q198 Chairman: Oh, they think they
own the street, yes.
Mr Elliott: The street and land
is a terribly expensive commodity in the centre of cities and
if we actually charged a fair price for it an awful lot of people
would sell their cars now.
Q199 Chairman: Are you abrogating
that, Mr Elliott?
Mr Elliott: No, I will defer to
the politicians to market that product!