Letter: Essential measures to curb chaos at the kerbs

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The Independent Online
Sir: So councils that try to tackle street-parking problems caused by increasing car ownership in cities are guilty of 'green fascism', according to Oliver Gillie (13 July). And we're only in it for the money.

Memories are short, it seems, when it comes to transport policies. Only three years ago Wandsworth led the London-wide campaign of resistance to government road-building plans for the capital. We helped to establish a unique consensus which argued that more roads only meant more cars. Far better, people agreed, to make better use of existing road space and toughen up the enforcement of parking controls. Even the hitherto alien concept of traffic restraint moved on to the

agenda.

We are still fighting the roads battle. Tonight I shall recommend to fellow councillors that they reject government plans for widening the A3 Roehampton Vale.

It would have been easier in Clapham Junction to have done nothing. To have sat back and watched the area become strangled by commuter parking. To have ignored the pleas from harassed residents for the freedom to park, if not outside their front doors, then at least in the same street.

Controlled parking schemes have been around for years. In Clapham Junction, after exhaustive consultation, residents voted for the voucher method of payment. These cost 30p or 60p an hour - not the pounds 1.50 carelessly quoted in the article. And residents' permits remain free.

No controlled parking scheme could ever please everybody. But we are listening and making changes. We expect to go on making adjustments - that is the nature of these schemes. Meanwhile, in other parts of the borough, escalating traffic problems mean that more and more residents are lobbying the council for parking controls to protect their area.

The real issue, which the article simplistically ducks, is the conflict between individual desire for increased car ownership and the fixed supply of road space in our cities. If you are serious about making it easier for city dwellers to park near their homes, then something has to give. If not controlled parking, Mr Gillie, then what else?

Yours faithfully,

RAVI GOVINDIA

Chairman

Technical Services Committee

Wandsworth Council

London, SW18

14 July

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