Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Parking Wars

The Standard reports "Councils across the capital are to wage war on drivers...increasing the cost of residents' parking by up to 150 per cent and ramping up the cost of on-street parking."

"In the worst case, residents in Barnet will see their resident permits rise from £40 to £100".

So that's...ah...£60 a year? Hardly in the same league as tuition fees. If this is war, students are facing genocide.

Let's look at what your Barnet resident gets for their £100 a year. 10m2 of asphalt, regularly resurfaced, administration of the residents' parking scheme and  parking patrols to enforce restrictions. Where in London can you rent any serviced 10m2 for 30p a day? To give you a comparison, a central London car park will charge you around £30 a day. An onstreet parking space in Knightsbridge will set you back £300,000. Of course, Barnet is cheaper than Knightsbridge, but land is worth a lot more than £150/m2 which is the price implied by the parking charge (£550/m2 is about the average cost of land in London), and that's ignoring the maintenance and services that come with the parking space. As Freewheeler has pointed out, the cost of works to create parking spaces can work out at £10,000 per bay. If I invest £10,000, I'll expect a return of at least 5%, so on that basis, the parking space should cost at least £500 a year as a commercial proposition (again, ignoring the services and maintenance).

Now you could argue that being council-tax payers, the residents of Barnet already paid for the streets. Except that around half of London residents don't own a car. So why are they being forced to subsidize a service they don't use, and suffer from in terms of the road danger, congestion, noise and atmospheric pollution that it brings?

Isn't it good to know that the sedentary car-owning lifestyle continues to enjoy lavish subsidy, while healthful activities such as  free swimming, school sports and cycling are all being cut back?

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to see a 'war on parking on the Public Highway' that would encompass pavements as well, because I'm sick of having to squeeze past parked cars, whilst just trying to take a walk down the pavement...grrr...why is it so widely accepted???