Friday, 21 October 2011

St Marys Primary - Dollis Park - Soak the parents

The below article appeared in the excellent Hendon & Finchley Times. See the original here.

PARENTS are rallying together to oppose Barnet Council’s plans for an all day parking restriction near a school in Finchley.

The current controlled parking in Dollis Park is from 2pm-3pm, but the council proposes to extend the restrictions from Hendon Lane up to Clifton Avenue, Church Crescent and Victoria Avenue from 8.30am-6pm.

Mums and dads who have children at St Mary’s CE Primary School in Dollis Park argue it will increase congestion near the school.

Claire Sparksman, whose seven-year-old daughter Angelina attends St Mary’s, said: “Introducing these restrictions in this quiet area will put increased pressure on parking further down Dollis Park and surrounding area and so increase congestion around St Mary's at the start and end of the school day.

“The area in which the revision is proposed is a quiet residential area with large houses, wide streets, away from shops and transport, with no clear need for all day parking.”

Ms Sparksman has written to the council opposing the changes which she argues will detriment the school’s Sustainable Travel Plan.

The travel plan encourages children to walk or cycle to school safely and has recently received an award at outstanding level by Transport for London.

Ms Sparksman added:
“This proposal is clearly part of a borough-wide revenue raising strategy by Barnet Council which to introduce a stealth parking tax on local residents, costing us yet more money and more inconvenience.

If the plan goes ahead, many residents will pave over their gardens, remove trees and gardens and create their own off-street parking, resulting in a loss of green space in the area.”

I completely agree with Ms Sparksman. This is a venile attempt to extract more money from motorists. Now let us see how this might work. There won't be any parking meters that people can use as they are now, despite 53 years of valuable service in England, no longer acceptable in Barnet. 

So if you don't have a mobile phone what do you do? Well you find a space in the nearest bay to the school, which is 25m from the school gates. Then you take your 9 year old and walk back down Dollis Park, all the way up to Ballards Lane and then you turn right and go to the nearest Paypoint outlet which is at 2 Hendon Lane ( The Corner Supermarket ). To find your own nearest paypoint for any postcode go here.

You will then have walked 0.29miles = 466m and back again = 932m or almost a kilometre. This will have taken 15 minutes, maybe longer if there is a queue in the shop and your 9 year old will be tired at the start of the school day. And then you have to do the same again in the afternoon.

Whilst you are doing that the Civil Enforcement Officer who has been lurking nearby, ( remember that Barnet Council have been targeting schools according to a press release they sent out a month or two ago ) will have pounced and given you a ticket and then you will have to spend all your time writing to Barnet Council with an appeal, they take weeks to reply, or spend hours on the phone trying to get through to them, instead of helping your child with their homework.

I wonder how this cashless parking scheme ever got through the Equalities assessment. It must have been fudged.

If I was in charge of the school I think I would be looking to see how I could safely organise a dropping off point in the school entrance. From looking on google earth I can see that there is masses of tarmac. Send pedestrians and walkers right and cars left maybe ?

There must be a better way.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Cancel that CPZ - Church End - part

I cannot find any legislation that allows for the removal of a CPZ. It looks therefore like it is down to your local councillors to assist you. Here is an example of one small part of the Church End CPZ which is mooted for removal.

click to enlarge; back to return

So it seems that if the CPZ is close to local amenities which are regularly utilised by visitors to local amenities then it is OK to remove the CPZ. So Barnet High has shops in the High St, the library just behind, a museum (just), churches, Hadley Common, High Barnet tube, the Vale Drive clinic, Barnet College, all local amenities that get used by visitors. Best take out the C zone CPZ completely.

Seriously, if you want to get rid of your CPZ so that you don't have to pay £100 for your car, £4 a day for any visitors and risk getting a PCN at £110 if you oversleep then you need a plan. The route I would take is to go and talk to as many of the neighbours as possible and see if you can get a consensus, then put out a survey to every house in the zone and then discuss the findings with your ward councillors and convince them to support you. If you can make friends with Cllr Coleman so much the better.  Then make a formal application to the Council who will have to consult and then make a decision; hopefully in your favour if you have done the groundwork.

Best of luck

Miss Feezance

Monday, 10 October 2011

Keep calm and carry on

I believe in road safety and driver education. Here is an example of what can be done by some simple changes to the environment.

The following article appeared in the magazine Tree News which is published by The Tree Council

article is bottom left; click to enlarge, back to return

It is a bit harder to do this in town but perhaps Barnet could have a few boulevards lined by poplar trees like on the entry to towns in France.

Barnet was Barn├ęt for a while after all.




Yours appealingly 

Miss Feezance

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Moss Hall - have they borrowed some zig-zags from another school

I was out and about and my route took me past this school which a friend had told me had dodgy lines. It does.

click to enlarge, back to return
Lines that go on for ever. The first set appear to be longer than allowed for in the regulations. They also exist at an entrance that is not in use so a bit of a waste to blot out that section of road. There are four consecutive sets of zig-zags each separated by a 100mmm gap. It is envisaged that there could be two adjacent zig-zags in the government guidance but not four. This section of road needs to be visited again in order to repaint some of it with double yellow, single yellow or no lines at all and this would then give those parents that have to drive a fair chance of dropping their children somewhere near the school, give the coaches somewhere to stop and with 45 to 90m of unobstructed vision still keep the children safe.


Why such long hours? Why not just restrict the hours when children arrive for school and leave?


Just look at how lazy the contractor was, that or he was only paid to paint up to the end of the new tarmac, but the effect is that the second set of lines are invalid as incorrectly painted. There also used to be a white line which has no meaning.


I checked the national curriculum and found that Road safety is fortunately not included for junior schools. Message to coach drivers - ignore what the school suggest. If you switch off you engine whilst you are adjacent to one of these signs which are adjacent to zig-zags you will be committing the offence of stopping on a zig-zag which is not allowed, not even for the school bus, but as professional drivers you will know this. If you don't believe this then see this link.


reminds me of prison garb



These are the lines in Nether St. They are longer than 45m so if you have/had a ticket for parking on those appeal and/or ask for your money back as you have paid in error.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Where to park & pay less or £nil in High Barnet - zone C & environs (updated 5 October)

Motorists, you have a choice. We all use our cars too much. You could save money on parking & petrol and get fit by walking a little. Here is how for High Barnet ( I am sure that some people will say that you should take the bus but if you start early in the morning, or have to carry lots of equipment about then it isn't always practical. I use the tube if going into central London but if going to South London { shudder } and returning late at night then I drive. )

Costs

The cost of parking. Here are the choices.

TimeSpiresCPZCouncilHigh BarnetEdge of


On-street Car parkTube stationCPZ
up to££££
30mins.501.001.004.50nil
1 hour.602.002.004.50nil
90 mins4.003.004.50nil
2 hours1.204.005.004.50nil
3 hours4.005.004.50nil
4 hours2.207.005.004.50nil
all day6.007.005.004.50nil






Saturdayas aboveas aboveas above1.50nil






Sundayas abovefreefree1.00nil






CashYesNoNoYesn/a
CardNoYesYesYesn/a

Update Jan 2012 : The Spires have amended their tariff to make themselves cheaper in the up to 4 hour category ( ample for shopping ) but to discourage all day parking.
So what do I deduce from the above table.

Choices

If you are visiting Barnet for 4 hours or less then the best place to park is the Spires Shopping Centre. You don't have to spend any money there but it has a lovely Waitrose, the long established Victoria bakery, a bookshop and other shops that you can peruse here, and it fronts onto the High St so it is very well placed. 

Don't pay to park in the Spires on a Sunday as it is free to park across the road in the council car park or even in Stapylton Rd itself on a single yellow line as they only operate 8am to 6.30pm Monday to Saturday.  Please don't try staying until midnight in the Spires as you will be locked in. The car park closes 30 minutes after Waitrose closes. You can see the times here.

I don't understand why you would pay the council £7 to park all day on the road ( say Strafford Rd ) when just 25m away is a car park where you can park all day for £5! ( Stapylton rd). Is this an example of joined-up government. It doesn't sound true does it. Here are the photographs to prove it.

Stapylton Rd car park

Strafford Rd meter ( unless Brian Coleman removes it )

I notice that the meter still takes 5p pieces. Try putting 140 in for a £7 tariff? Now doesn't that show you how charges have risen since the meters were installed.

As for using one of your supposedly concessionary Visitor Vouchers that cost £4. If your visitor is staying less than 3 hours then it isn't worth using one. Better for them to pay and display or go to the Spires if it isn't too far ( mind the height restriction, this won't work for Transit vans, but it will for cars. ) There are nearly always spaces in the Spires. It is a bigger car park than it looks with a basement and parking on the roof and a lift for if you can't manage stairs very well.

This cost comparison will change if the judicial review, which is taking its course through the High Court, is won. To keep up to date with that process, please click here and then return.

Walk

So if you can easily walk up to a kilometre or a mile then my advice is to park on the edge of the zone and walk the rest. You will be able to breathe in the air, listen to the birds singing. possibly meet someone you know for a chat, pick up a paper at the newsagents and get fitter without trying. If coming from the south then park near Barnet Odeon and walk up Barnet Hill. ( postcode for your satnav EN5 1AB ) This is particularly suitable for people who want to take the Northern Line into London.

If coming from the west, say from the A1, then park in Wood St ( lots of hospital staff do this rather than pay the horrific car parking charges  ) although you might have to go as far as the Arkley pub.( EN5 3EP) You can get dinner there and a shandy on your way home. It is a level walk into town from there with some good old large houses to look at as you walk along.

If coming from the north then stop at Hadley Highstone ( EN5 4PU ) and take a look at the memorial to the Battle of Barnet.







If it is already after 2.30pm then you can park on Hadley Common ( just past Pizza Express ) for nothing and the walk is much less.

Meter on Hadley Common


We are all entitled to park in any street as our road fund licences and council tax pay for them all.

There is no compulsion on you to give more money to the council than you absolutely have to. Try my walking idea for 30 days and see how you like it.

For whatever zone you regularly visit have a look and see where the edges are and where you might find quiet streets to park in without inconveniencing anybody. Please come back in 30 days and post a comment as to how you are getting on.

Yours for free

Miss Feezance

Monday, 3 October 2011

Bargain parking

A reader gave me this cutting from the Metro magazine. Everyone loves a bargain. 40p to park for 10 years - can we have this rate in Barnet please?

picture credit : http://www.metro.co.uk/
I don't suppose it would be a good idea to leave one's car parked for 10 years in one spot though just to enjoy a bargain.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance