The bus services are generally excellent in Edinburgh, especially for those who live close to the main routes.
But for various reasons our cars are still for most of us a very important part of how we get about. That is something that needs to be addressed if we want more people who live in and around Edinburgh to keep shopping in the city centre.
Putting a time limit on parking in the city centre on a Sunday is a sensible step forward. It will open up the chance to park right on the doorstep of the shops – something that we are all used to doing when we shop in Glasgow or go to out-of-town centres – for many, many more people.
At the moment, a large proportion of city centre parking spaces must be taken up by staff from shops, bars, and so on, who take advantage of being able to park there for free all day on Sundays. Who can blame them? It’s not good for business, though, when it makes life difficult for the customers. A reasonable time limit will stop that happening and free up spaces for a succession of shoppers and other leisure visitors.
The question is, how long is a reasonable time for city centre parking?
Two hours seems far too short for all except those who have been drawn to the city centre by a particular specialist shop. That’s enough time for them to get what they want and pick up some other bits and pieces before shooting off again.
For most, however, visiting the city centre is all about a richer shopping experience. They want to take their time to browse at their leisure, stopping for a coffee or lunch, perhaps slipping into a gallery. Even Usain Bolt would be hard pressed to do that in two hours.
Why restrict parking on a Sunday to less than the three or four hours allowed to those who pay during the week? A similar limit would be consistent and give people more chance to enjoy the city centre properly on a Sunday.