Drivers abandoning car journeys in residential parking wars


The battle for residential parking spaces has become so intense that more than one in 10 drivers (12%) put off making car trips to avoid losing their spot, according to a new study.

Almost a fifth of motorists (19%) say they "always worry" about being able to park as they approach their home.

The poll of 24,739 drivers found that Londoners feel most affected by the issue, with more than a third (36%) anxious about parking and almost a quarter (24%) actually postponing or abandoning some journeys.

The AA, which commissioned the research, claimed the problem could be eased if councils review whether all their parking restrictions in residential areas are necessary.

A Local Government Association (LGA) spokesman insisted that they are "on the side of motorists".

The availability of parking spaces outside homes concerns people across the country, with the North East, South East and Wales joint second for worried drivers at 20%.

The proportion of motorists from these regions who put off car trips is 12%-13%.

The research, exclusively revealed to the Press Association, found that East Anglia is the most relaxed region for residential parking with just 13% worried and 7% delaying journeys.

There appears to be a direct correlation between parking anxiety and car ownership, with Londoners having the fewest cars and vans per household (0.8) while those in East Anglia have the joint most at 1.3, according to Department for Transport figures.

A previous AA poll found that 47% of motorists reported significant parking on pavements where they live, while 12% have seen this result in arguments between neighbours.

AA president Edmund King believes rising house prices are making it harder to park as many people are living far away from where they work, meaning they have to own a car to commute.

In densely populated areas many single family houses have been converted into flats, leading to more cars needing to be parked in the same area.

Mr King said: "Councils have tried to ease the squeeze by making roads one-way to allow parking on both sides. Some have re-engineered roads to create more spaces, while others have used variable-cost parking permits to try to moderate demand.

"But others have just left residents to get on with it, creating stressful residential rat-traps and blaming car ownership instead of looking at the causes of more cars parked in a road and what might be done to make their electorate's lives easier.

"The AA would like to see local highway authorities review their yellow lines in residential areas as often the parking restrictions may have been implemented for historical reasons which no longer exist, for example outside a school or factory which closed years earlier."

LGA transport spokesman Peter Box claimed the research highlights the difficulties faced by councils in "balancing the requirements of commuters and residents".

He said: "Councils often introduce restrictions at residents' request and consult widely on them, but in some places there simply is not enough road space or parking space to accommodate demand."

Mr Box added that councils are keen to enable people to make journeys without using a car, and called on the Government to help it meet this objective by fully funding the concessionary fares scheme for buses.

The AA published research in October which found that more than one in seven car commuters may be giving their employer an extra hour of unpaid work every day because they arrive early to secure a parking space.