Motorbike Bay Congestion

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Motorbike Bay Congestion

Post  BackSeatDriver on Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:12 am

Question/comment for you all. I have been following your campaign and support it (sorry to say I haven't been on a ride yet). Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere but I couldn't find it by searching using terms above.

I use my motorbike for work & spend a lot of time visiting different building sites in London. I have found in Kensington & Chelsea that gradually the bays are becoming more congested with motorbikes & scooters, some of them genuinely being used on a regular basis others that seem to have lain dormant for some time. The upshot being that if I don't arrive before 8am then often I can't park where I want to. My example is just off the west side of Sloane Square so maybe that is the issue with it being on a boundary with Westminster, it is causing congestion but I do find it elsewhere.

With paying for parking in Westminster it seems that the motorcycle bays are generally free-er probably because they are paid for. If Westminster now reverts back, what effect do you think that would have on parking congestion and how do you think they should manage that?

I have been conditioned by driving a van & paying £4/hr, when it comes to paying £1/day I'm less resentful. Was just interested to play devil's advocate and get your comments & thoughts.


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Re: Motorbike Bay Congestion

Post  Ballistic on Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:49 am

We had this question asked many more times on our old forum. But yes...the parking bays on all Westminster boundaries (I work near Camden) are all full because of that.
Plus, Kensington & Chelsea have too many 'residents only' parking bays which are usually empty for most of the day.
Another issue with Westmonster is that they have been steadily reducing the number of available motorbike parking bays (over the years) and converted them into Boris bike bays - SoHo square just one of the examples) and part of their underhand tactic was to count each bike space with width of 80cm, instead of DoT recommended 100cm. So, reducing number of parking spaces in real term but, on paper, keeping the number steady. They also 'moved' number of parking spaces into car parks which they proceeded to sell off to various partners.
Anyways, just how long you think the parking for motorbikes will remain at £1 a day? Westminster was the first council to introduce car parking charges in this country and it only cost 5p per day then.
Look how much you're paying now.


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Re: Motorbike Bay Congestion

Post  Grumpy on Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:55 am

Another factor is residents have to pay to put their bikes in resident bays; so they mostly leave them in visitor bays, as they are free.
And leave resident bays unused.


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Re: Motorbike Bay Congestion

Post  Legolas on Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:09 am

This is a valid question, certainly.

One reason the on-street bays are not full is because many people try and ram their bikes into the over-subscribed free car parks. The reason the car parks are free and continue to be maintained is because:

a) The wardens' handsets don't work in underground car parks;
b) The council recognises (though is disinclined to admit it these days) that having Pay by Phone as the only means of payment for an on-street space is socially exclusive. (i.e. not everyone has a mobile phone or a credit/debit card).

The question as to what would happen if they decided to scrap the charge tomorrow is more significant than people may think and raises a number of other questions.

The first of which is; if they scrapped the charge, would they also do away with the free spaces in the car parks? The car park operators are obliged to provide those spaces under the terms of their leases, though the council will not be drawn as to whether those clauses will stay in place for the full term (25 years I believe) of those leases.

If the council scrapped the charge and simultaneously withdrew the obligation on the car park operators to provide the free bike parking, I'm pretty sure the on-street spaces would again be rammed full of bikes.

I do think we need to think about this. Many riders are very happy with the free off-street spaces. Will they thank the council for removing them and making on-street spaces free again? It's an important question.

My own views, for what they're worth, and the reasons I continue to actively fight the parking charges are:

1) I have always found the social exclusivity of the charge more offensive than the charge itself (though I still find the charge itself pretty offensive);
2) If the council ever feels that the dust has settled on this dispute, there is no doubt in my mind that we will begin to see the erosion of the free car park spaces combined with the steady increase of the on-street charge.

But ... and here's the rub ... if you've used the car parks recently, you will doubtless have noticed that they are massively under-used by cars, presumably because they are so expensive. I've used three of them in the last few months - Chinatown, Queensway and Leicester Square - and none could have been more than a quarter filled with cars.

In other words, providing the bike spaces free is not currently costing the operators anything at all.

If the council had the true interests of the borough and the public at heart, they could scrap the parking tax for on-street spaces and continue to oblige the operators to provide the off-street spaces free in the public interest. This simple step would keep everyone happy (except perhaps the car park operators, but realistically the revenue they're missing from not charging bikes is pennies in the grand scheme of their finances). And more importantly, it would solve every single powered two wheeler parking problem in Westminster and the surrounding boroughs at a stroke.

Why on earth would any council refuse to do it? If you manage to get an answer out of them to that one, you're a better man than I.


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Re: Motorbike Bay Congestion

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