Sunday shoppers will be left hoping for a guardian angel on their shoulders as parking enforcers look set to be given the all clear to begin preying on poor parkers on the Sabbath.
However, church worshippers can rejoice as they have been offered a grace period with the controls not taking effect until “later in the day” – it is understood that this means after 1pm.
Under the plan, single yellow lines would be enforced for the first time on Sundays as well as weekday waiting and loading restrictions.
The council say the move may be necessary to cope with the growing number of cars on the roads as Sunday becomes just another shopping day for many people. There are no estimates of how much the extra parking fines might raise, but the city collects up to £7 million a year in parking fines through existing enforcement.
A time limit of two hours of free parking is also being proposed to stop drivers taking up spaces all day. Motorists would need to get a pay and display ticket to show how long they had been parked, but wouldn’t have to pay.
City transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “Increased parking controls on Sundays is something the council is exploring as a means of reducing traffic and improving the environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
“People’s shopping habits are changing, and as such Sundays are becoming similar to the rest of the week. This means uncontrolled parking on main routes impacts the flow of traffic to the city centre, causing delays to buses and worsening conditions for other road users. We’d like to see how we can promote public transport and active travel among shoppers, benefiting retailers and the general public alike.”
At present, Sunday restrictions are largely limited to double yellow lines. Sunday parking has been a contentious issue in recent years. City leaders once suggested charging for on-street parking at designated spots to deter “bay blockers” from abandoning their cars for hours on end.
Rev Ian Gilmour from St Andrew’s and St George’s West on George Street, which has up to 150 people attending morning worship between 9am and 12.15pm each Sunday, said: “From our congregation’s perspective it would be extremely helpful if charging did not begin until later in the day. The use of yellow lines and loading bays on a Sunday is necessary to allow disabled worshippers and those with mobility issues easier access to church buildings.
“It would be short-sighted to enforce for the whole of Sunday as I think the whole city centre would suffer but probably worst affected would be the churches.”
The latest plans will be subject to consultation with business owners, residents and other groups before possible introduction next year.
CITY CENTRE WOES
THE Evening News told in January last year how the city centre was becoming a no-go area for couriers and contractors who felt they were being targeted by over-zealous parking wardens.
Firms told us how workers were either snubbing jobs or charging up to double their hourly rate after becoming sick of the fines dealt out during drop-offs and building site visits.