Support our campaign for an hours free parking.
Barnet Council have to be made to realise that their expensive, extensive and inordinately complicated parking regime requiring motorists to pay by telephone and/or credit card is driving away visitors and potential shoppers.
Unless the council can be persuaded to take drastic action to ease parking controls along the High Street and all its car parks in the area, yet more shops and businesses will go under in the tsunami of closures that is sweeping across the shopping centres of Britain.
We believe the time has come for the local council to recognise the plight of traders and to make a dramatic and constructive gesture on their behalf.
In order to compete on a level playing field with other nearby shopping centres that have few if any parking restrictions, the High Street and Barnet Council’s car parks in High Barnet should offer an hour’s free parking every weekday and Saturday.
An hour’s free parking is the very least that Barnet Council can offer our beleaguered town centre – and it could easily be in operation in time for pre-Christmas shopping.
The hour’s free parking could be introduced with minimal disruption: all that would be required is a clear sign on lampposts along the High Street notifying motorists of the free parking period, and that where meters operate they will issue a ticket for a free sixty-minute period and that where there is only parking by phone there is no need to register for the free hour.
There are over sixty parking spaces along the entire length of the High Street, from High Barnet tube station to the start of Hadley Green, and a considerable number of spaces in the council’s Stapylton Road, Moxon Street and Fitzjohn Avenue car parks.
If they offered free parking for an hour, as does the High Road at Whetstone for example, our shopping centre might have a chance and start to win back lost customers.
Barnet Council’s two concessions in response to the groundswell of anger over the imposition of parking by phone or credit card parking have had little or no effect on the rapid fall-off in High Street shoppers.
Free parking for an hour in the Moxon Street car park is welcome but Moxon Street is the least accessible of the council’s three town centre car parks.
However, we contend this concession strengthens the Barnet Society’s campaign: if the credit card machine can issue a ticket for an hour’s free parking in Moxon Street, there is no reason why this relaxation should not be extended to the entire length of the High Street, and the rest of the council’s own car parks.
The same argument applies with regard to the council’s second concession of up to two hours’ free parking along the main road beside Hadley Green where motorists are told that there is no need to register by phone for the free period.
Again if parking enforcement officers are capable of monitoring limited free parking beside Hadley Green, it could easily apply to other parking bays where motorists have no other option but to register by phone.
It is little wonder that so few motorists are aware of the Hadley Green free parking.
Signs have been fixed seven feet high and to add insult to injury face towards the pavement rather than the road and are in very small lettering, making it virtually impossible for motorists to spot them, let alone read.
For many Barnet residents and visitors attempting to park in the Moxon Street car park is not for the faint hearted.
Motorists turning right into Moxon Street or Park Road have to turn across the flow of traffic in the High Street. Motorists seeking to re-enter the High Street usually face considerable traffic congestion; buses are often queuing at the bus stops near the Park Road junction and cars trying to turn out of Moxon Street often find the High Street blocked by cars tailing back from the traffic lights at the Wood Street junction, and if turning right face the hazard of a blind corner to the left.
New signs would need to be at eye level, facing both the road and the pavement, and in much larger print so as to reassure motorists they could obtain a ticket for a free period or alternatively would not need to register by phone.
The sad state of the High Street only serves to underline the Barnet Society’s SOS and the need for dramatic action: a growing number of vacant premises and yet more charity shops.
THE TIME FOR ACTION IS NOW
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