Abandoned bus stops, cut routes and calls for permits - the impact of ‘chaotic’ parking in Norwich roads
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
People in Norwich have been urged to park responsibly after a bus was left stuck in a crowded street for four hours.
Many roads around the Mousehold Heath area, some of the closest to the city centre without permit parking, are often lined with cars either side.
Last week, a Konectbus was stuck in Gertrude Road for four hours, after it was unable to move around what the operator said on Twitter was 'inconsiderate parking'. Managing director Jeremy Cooper said it was a known issue.
'Konectbus does experience regular problems with parked vehicles in the Mousehold Heath area, despite our use of special narrow vehicles,' he said. 'It's a shame that a small number of motorists don't consider people who cannot walk far and need the bus to stop close to their home, or the potential need for emergency vehicles in their community.'
But it isn't just a concern for public transport providers. Britannia Road is one of the nearest streets to the city centre without permit parking, meaning those working in the centre, or living in controlled areas nearby, often park there.
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And with a popular café and one of the city's most scenic views on its doorstep, it can be difficult for residents to find a parking spot.
Cathy Bishop moved into the road two years ago, and said it should become permit parking. 'Sometimes my husband will drop me and our kids off so he can go look for a parking space elsewhere,' she said. 'It's chaotic when it gets busy, it's a wonder there's not more accidents.'
Another resident, who has lived on the street for 20 years, said a lot of people parked there and walked into the city, and that it could be hard to find a space late at night.
He said the street would ideally have permits and speed bumps, and that, while he supported the initiative, the opening of Britannia Café had worsened the situation.
But café chief executive Davina Tanner said, while parking was difficult along Britannia Road, it wasn't solely down to the café and that even when the business was quiet, the road and nearby free car park remained busy.
Norwich City Council said a previous consultation showed the majority of residents did not want permit parking, but they appreciated things could change.
'If we can demonstrate there is a reasonable level of support for permit parking in an area, including from local ward councillors who are a key in capturing local resident feeling, we can add it to our programme of future areas to consult,' they said.
Issues around Norwich
While roads in the Mousehold area can be problematic, people living in other parts of the city echoed residents' concerns.
One person got in touch to say buses often struggle to get through Bowers Avenue, while another person said their route around Costessey was made difficult by people's parking.
Roads in the golden triangle and streets around Silver Road often prove problematic - bumper to nose parking along either side of the road often leaves drivers little room to manoeuvre when faced with an oncoming vehicle, and residents have been in touch to say they too spend time trying to find a parking spot.
Mr Speed said First had previously had problems getting buses around the Northfields estate, near the University of East Anglia, with the area being one of the first streets near the university without controlled parking. But he said work with the city council and residents meant it was no longer an issue.
Earlier this week, First bus said that due to 'reducing passenger numbers and increased issues with parked cars' in the Coleburn Road and Theobald Road areas, the 39/39A services on its purple line would only operate once an hour during the day.
Bus stops unused
New bus stops are going unused on one estate near Norwich after buses were unable to navigate around parking.
First said getting its vehicles around cars in Dragonfly Lane, in Cringleford, had proved tricky, with the operator forced to change the route to instead go around nearby The Pines.
But it means bus stops built on the estate, some as new as two years old, are now unused.
Head of operations Chris Speed said: 'If you are visiting the area you could quite easily end up waiting there.'
He said people living in crowded streets needed to be aware of parking issues.
'People park outside their house because that's where they live and it's understandable,' he said, 'but the key is working with residents. If a bus can't pass, neither can a fire engine, so it does matter. You have to be considerate for the community.'