The launch of a parking survey in West Lothian has shown how strong feelings on the subject are, as residents have issued criticism.
Consultants are currently working on a review of parking in the county, ahead of new Holyrood legislation expected next year that will ban parking on sidewalks.
This will effectively force the council to police parking either by issuing a contract to a parking agency or by employing parking wardens and issuing fines.
There are no parking regulations in West Lothian other than in the private car parks at Livingston Shopping Centre, making it a bane for residents of all wards.
In launching the survey, the council said: “This survey is open to local communities, businesses and stakeholders and the results will help to understand evidence-based issues and specific actions that can be provided as part of the parking strategy.
“We would appreciate it if you could complete the survey and also encourage your friends and family in West Lothian to do so as well.” Residents were quick to comment online, most welcoming that an investigation was underway but criticizing it for what it missed. “
‘Major omission that motorbike parking is missing – same with questions about visitors but not including anything regarding motorhomes or caravans,’ wrote one contributor.
Another resident pointed to the need for change, and the poll first: “Parking on our street is terrible; park on corners and shoulders and there are plenty of areas that could be turned into parking.”
The survey asks 19 questions, including where drivers usually park and whether they pay to park in surrounding towns in central Scotland.
It also asks where drivers find it most difficult to park and how much time they add to their journey times to allow for a search for parking spaces.
Basically, he asks how much an hourly parking charge would be unacceptable if one were to be introduced – ranging from 50p to £3 or more.
The survey also asks what other measures the council could introduce to discourage car use and promote public transport and the improvement of the environment of towns and villages.
He also asks for opinions on the development of the electric car network. For all the negativity of the social media responses, some recognize that practical steps need to be taken to deal with a growing problem.
One respondent said, “If there is a strategy to get people out of the car and into walking or cycling, build cycling infrastructure instead of parking lots.”
Many local authorities now run what are known as parking decriminalization (DPE) programs where they can issue fines for parking violations that are not recorded as offences, or where they contract out DPE to private companies.
West Lothian decided not to use this particular option at the end of 2019.
In the last council administration, Labor also ruled out the introduction of workplace parking charges.
Unless parking is prohibited by traffic restriction ordinances, it is not illegal to park on the street, or even on the sidewalk at this time.
Where there are persistent problems – as is the case in the town centers of Bathgate and Linlithgow – the police regularly “blitz” by issuing tickets to drivers who block exits or park thoughtlessly and cause an obstruction.
To participate in the survey go here
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