It all stems from the lack of commuter parking at the station

These photos of the station car park were taken yesterday morning walking through at 9.50am on the way to catching the 10.02am train to London. 36 empty spaces…(The picture at the bottom of the post was added 22 March 2012 in response to a reader comment regarding smart cars.)

 

8 comments for “It all stems from the lack of commuter parking at the station

  1. haslemerehetty
    22/03/2012 at 12:10

    This is not a rare sight.

    Yes this whole parking problem is about commuters not wanting to park in the station car park.

    I think even if we had a 10 level multi-storey carpark it will still be the same.

    SWT/Railtrack should work a lot harder to utilise what parking there is, and actively encourage rail users to use the existing car park.

    There should be greatly reduced price parking after 10am, which is also going to help train over crowding.

    Also Why don’t they offer 1/2 price parking to ‘Smart’ cars within certain size? Let’s look at the advantages…
    1. Parking permits would be cheaper (therefore people could afford it).
    2. It would allow almost double the amount of cars to park (no need for a multi-story).
    3. Reduce the current waiting list for the car park
    4. Reduce car running costs (£0-30 per year Road Tax, etc)
    5. Reduce emissions and environmental damage.

    This is ‘win-win’ situation. I can’t think of any real disadvantages?

    Come on SWT/Railtrack. White paint has got to be cheaper than two lines of yellow! Most certainly cheaper than building a multi-storey

  2. grayswoodcommuter
    22/03/2012 at 22:35

    “Yes this whole parking problem is about commuters not wanting to park in the station car park.”

    Just to be clear, you can’t park at the station before 9am without a parking permit, the wait list for one is estimated at 5 to 7 years.

    I can say for myself, that whilst I use the streets to park and commute, I always park at the station when travelling in late after school drop off.

    But yes – you suggestions are very valid – especially for my smart car! That said I’m against a station car park and all the supporting double yellows as this hands parking to South West Trains, who will run a monopoly and steadily increase the cost until we get to Woking rates – up to £12 a day – £250 a month….

    The real solution is land bougth by Waverley close to the station with a fair cap on rates – not the fair ground though!

    Adrian

    • Paul M
      24/03/2012 at 09:27

      What land do you have in mind?

      Haslemere Station is season ticket only before 9am and there is a long waiting list for season tickets. When somone has paid hundreds of pounds and waited years to get a season ticket it is reasonable that they should have exclusive access until the time has past when they are likely to show up.

      What day of the week were the pictures taken? Mondays and Fridays tend to be quiet now, and if you go through the Weydown Road carpark on those days you will see quite a few empty spaces there too. In fact, Weydown Road will have a dozen empty spaces at 8am, by which time the great majority of commuters have arrived at the station, while neighbouring streets are clogged by parked cars.

      This is not just about availability of parking, although that is a factor. It is also about wealthy Surrey residents/City commuters who can afford new(ish) cars, quite often luxury makes, who don’t want to have to pay to park them. Well, I have news for you. Roads cost a considerable sum to maintain and much of that cost falls directly on the County Council. Dealing with illegal parking which blocks access, obstructs emergency vehicles, and makes life difficult for disabled people and mothers with pushchairs, costs money in enforcement activity, such the the County has a deficit on the parking enforcement account. Why, precisely, should I as a council tax payer subsidise this activity, rather than I as a driver?

      • Editor
        24/03/2012 at 09:45

        To answer your question: “What day of the week were the pictures taken?”
        The pictures were posted on the site on 21/03/2012 by The Editor. As stated: “These photos of the station car park were taken yesterday morning walking through at 9.50am on the way to catching the 10.02am train to London. 36 empty spaces…(The picture at the bottom of the post was added 22 March 2012 in response to a reader comment regarding smart cars.)” So, they were taken on a Tuesday. Hope that helps.

      • haslemerehetty
        26/03/2012 at 08:27

        Dear Paul M.

        If a commuter has waited 20 years for a permit, or not, it’s totally irrelevant.

        The issue is: if space is at a premium then let’s MAKE THE MOST OF WHAT WE HAVE.

        But is there an issue at all? Nobody actually knows without a proper study based on hard facts.

        I find your comment ”wealthy Surrey residents/City commuters who can afford” very narrow minded to the type of rail users who can or can’t afford.

        Car owners pay a road license so should be able to park where that permits, but yes I agree that illegal and dangerous parked cars should be dealt with accordingly – but is this a real issue?

        There is an expectation that residents must be able to park right outside their front door. Residents who are affected by parked cars for the station [or shops] also benefit from the convenience of being close to such services too. Registered disabled have a badge.

        In a nutshell, if a resident chooses to buy a house/flat next to either a station, shops or school (all of which have been there for many years) then it is pretty ignorant not to expect parking issues.

        And just for the record, I don’t drive to the station when using the train.

        Hetty.

  3. grayswoodcommuter
    26/03/2012 at 13:11

    Dear Paul M – Purely in the spirit of debate, I thought I would note down in bullets my take on things, as I appreciate that you have made some good points. I think:

    – The financing of roads doesn’t come from Council Tax. As an example for 2009, tax disc and petrol dues raised £32bn, of which only £10bn is used to manage and maintain the road network. So on the basis that SCC takes a grant from UK Government for roads, the driver is paying. And paying dearly. Put simply, the roads are a profit centre, not a cost centre.
    – I’m not wealthy or rich, but I do commute. I live in Grayswood, so I could walk or cycle 1.5 miles, but I have to say I take an easy option for the 07:02 train. I am in a suit after all, and carrying papers.
    – I could pay for parking, but having some spare at the end of each month means I don’t want to – and there are plenty of spaces on the roads to accommodate all sorts of cars for all sorts of reasons.
    – I do think that roads that get very congested and dangerous should have double yellows for safety and residents permits (at a good price non profit price)
    – I don’t ever block or impede anyone’s access – I can’t imagine it is common. But as I don’t know the extent for sure, I would support measures to ensure this doesn’t happen. However SCC designs to double yellow whole roads to achieve this seem simplistic at best.
    – In combination with double yellows for safety, parking permits for some roads, and restrictions for other areas – (e.g St Barts could get ‘commuter relief’ with a single yellow, no parking between 1 and 2 type near the school to stop all day parking) we could create some harmony. This is a what a proper consultation would achieve. What we had was an ‘argument’ with SCC, not a discussion.
    – The meeting in Witley was lively. I don’t think rude, nor discourteous. I think when SCC act so badly you have to fight your corner, and rules of the meeting in this case were being used to silence democracy, not to assist the efficiency of the meeting.
    – As you can imagine I’m also allergic to the term ‘commuter blight’, as my city job does support a whole host of local small businesses. And Waitrose..

    I enjoy the dialogue – do comment further as I’d like to know what you think. My opinions have certainly changed here and there during the debate.

    Adrian

  4. Paul M
    03/04/2012 at 17:29

    Adrian

    I think the parking problem impacts us all in different ways, some beneficial and some adverse, according to the capacity in which we view it. I am a resident, but also a driver/car owner, a customer of the town’s shops, and a commuter from its railway station. I am a council tax payer, and a national tax payer. As it happens, as a former HMRC official and currently a tax adviser in an accountng firm, I think I am fairly familiar with taxation and how it works.

    In the spirit of debate (and thankyou for not calling me “narrow-minded” which I think is pretty below-the-belt, and untrue anyway)

    – you didn’t mention where is the land which could be converted into a car park, but perhaps you know where it is? There is also of course the “flying land” which would consist of additional storeys in a multistorey carpark at the station. I suspect most would agree that the real solution would be for SWT and Network Rail to take responsibility for their customers and make proper provision for them, rather than dumping the problem on someone else, but of course that won’t happen unless they are financially induced – they have to be able to see that parking revenues would flow and that can’t happen where there is unrestricted free parking on-road nearby, as we can already seen by the way that the roads fill up before the Borough car parks do
    – some road financing does come from the council tax, admittedly not much. In general however roads are financed from general taxation. HM Treasury has always regarded “hypothecation” – the notion that specific taxes are raised to finance specific public expenditure – as anathema. Indeed, it was Winston Churchill himself who as chancellor of the exchequer abolished “road tax” (the Road Fund Licence) in 1936, precisely because he deplored the notion that motorists would start to think that because they paid towards the roads, they had a privileged access to them. You can’t even draw a link between quantities and say that specifically road taxes (VED and fuel duty – all others are common to all expenditures) pay/more than pay for the roads. It depends on what yuou consider to be the cost of the roads – just their construction, or their maintenance? Policing? Other emergency services? NHS costs or socisl security benefits for road accident victims, asthma and other respiratory sufferers? Looked at that way, those taxes nowhere near pay for the roads.
    – I am not wealthy either, but wealth is a relative term. I challenge you to compare a typical Haslemere resident and commuter to London on the train as being relatively not wealthy, compared with, say, a teacher or a nurse in a local hospital, a fireman or policeman, an agricultural worker. Should these people’s council tax or income tax subsidise my right to park? I don’t think so, and I believe that it is a Tory philosophy (not that I can say for sure, as I am not one) that general taxes should be tightly controlled and people should as far as possible pay for the services they use. Roads not only cost money to maintain so that you can drive on them, they are also valuable real estate – if you had to rent an off-road parking space from a private landlord, you would certainly have to pay
    – inconsiderate parking is actually very common, where parking is congested. Perhaps that is not yet the case in Haslemere but it certainly is in parts of central London where Westminster council has recently been lambasted by a coterie of special interest groups like celebtiry hairdressers and restaurateurs (whose cutomers don’t want to have to walk a couple of hundred yards to their cars), merely because they have double-yellowed stretches of kerb which in fact were already illegal for parking anyway, only now it should be clearer that they are. As pressure increases on Haslemere roads, inconsiderate parking will rise, and will need to be dealt with. Disabled spaces, drop kerbs, access to residential drives, all will gradually come to suffer

    I am not entirely a winner from any proposal to introduce parking restrictions and charges. The car parking fees are modest but it is a monumental pain to have to find the right change for them. Dropping in to West St right by the entrance to Waitrose and not having to feed a meter is a boon, I admit. If I drove to the station – and I live just as far from it as you do, just the other side of the railway tracks – I would prefer not to have to pay for parking.

    But I happen to think that it is *right* that people, I even – should pay for a service I use which is not used by everyone, either because others don’t have cars, or don’t commute by train, or cycle/walk/bus to the station, and on current form would have to subsidise me because they pay council tax and income taxes just as I do.

    I also find that uncontrolled parking can have a negative effect on others. Not just residents who are inconvnienced or merely irritated by parking outside their houses. Also cyclists (such as me, on my commute) who find the narrow alleys between parked cars hazardous as traffic speeds through, and general motoriing traffic which also has to take extra care negotiating roads such as derby Road and Weydown Road, or Bunch Lane, because of the congestion caused by parked cars.

    Finally, I cannot think it is right that parking enforcement in Surrey runs at a deficit. On street parking revenues can only be used for narrow purposes, such as funding enforcement, providing more parking, and some transport projects. They can’t be used to subsidise the council tax, although they can be used to prevent the council tax subsidising them.

  5. AndrewLoves
    05/04/2012 at 17:47

    Just a quick comment on what already is a good debate:

    I walked through the main station car park this morning at 7:20am and there were only 42 cars actually parked! the remainder spaces were empty.

    OK so I know it’s half-term and a bit early, but this is slightly bonkers.

    Andrew

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