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My gripe is about Oxford City Council who have a crazy scheme to introduce residential parking all over Oxford. In the area I work (Summertown) they recently held a meeting so residents and the public could air their view.
The outcome was that the majority of residents were not in favour of the scheme as there is plenty of parking in this area (even when the rush hour has arrived) and they resent the way they will have to apply to park outside their own homes and in some cases pay for the privilege to do so.
Result: The Council are going ahead - for the good of the residents. Are they mad?
They say that the new Park and Ride being built in Kidlington will take the demand. This in itself is crazy as the location of this Park and Ride smack band in the middle of an existing traffic hot spot (almost stand still in the rush hour).
Yes I drive a car to work. Is this a crime because the way I am being treated makes me feel as if I have done something wrong. If there was another practical cost effective commuting solution - I would take it.
I feel this is a vendetta against motorists in order to exclude commuters like myself from parking in the many available spaces in the Summertown streets. In most cases - we commuters are considerate to the local residents - ensuring we do not block them in and allowing plenty of space for them to manoeuvre.
Even when the rush hour has arrived each morning - there are still plenty of free spaces so I do not feel it is fair to say we are depriving local residents of their rights to park. I used to use the local pay and display car parks until I was forced into the streets by exorbitant price increases.
I live in Witney and am aware of the various forms of public transport. I have tried to use them in the past but they are completely inadequate. To do so would steal an additional 3 hours from my life each working day. I was educated in Oxford and used to bus daily. At this time - the bus from Witney would alternate its route via Botley and then Summertown. However when I commenced work - the Summertown routes were scrapped. Thus from my experience - public transport has let me down and forced me into a car.
Even using the park and ride will impact my daily journey for at least an additional hour and in my case increase pollution as I will be forced to head out of the city and then double back on the bus. I also feel there will be considerable traffic bottlenecks created by concentrating vehicles into areas surrounding the Park and Ride.
I wonder what the residents of Kidlingdon will feel as the Summertown commuters descend on their already overloaded traffic system. Oxford has recently been criticised as having the worst transport system in the UK resulting in an article on BBC Top Gear. The strategy is to impact the car drivers - forcing them to use alternatives. What is not considered - is the fact that there are no practical alternatives - such commuters are forced to continue using theirs cars in a system that has reduced in its ability to cope.
I pay my local and Government taxes including a road tax, which should
entitle me to some rights yet it seems to me we commuters are being treated as second class citizens simply because we do not live locally.
We bring considerable revenue into the area. I calculated that I have spent over £1500 last year with Summertown businesses. I saw an article recently in the Oxford Mail stating these businesses felt they would not be impacted by the introduction of this scheme. However - I beg to differ. They simply are not considering the sizeable revenue delivered by us commuters. This scheme will force us away from the area and potentially steal more money from our pockets. This extra money will have to come from somewhere and people will cut back on lunches, luxury purchases etc. I know I will be bringing in sandwiches and voting with my pocket if this scheme is introduced as it seems this is the only message that is understood. I will be urging other people affected to do the same.
Finally and I also think most importantly, is the impact this scheme will have on working parents with children in school. The Government is keen to encourage parents - especially mothers - back into work. They rely on their cars to drop their children off and then commute to work. There is simply no practical way they can do this using public transport. Even the introduction of using the Park and Ride will reduce the number hours they can work. It will also potentially put their children under additional risk if they are late picking them up due to public transport delays out of their control (full/late bus, additional journey, strikes, overloaded traffic queues leaving/entering the parking area).