Christine Grahame: Why is parking so difficult in Edinburgh?

Why is it so hard to find a parking space in Edinburgh? (Picture: Greg Macvean)
Why is it so hard to find a parking space in Edinburgh? (Picture: Greg Macvean)
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Now I don’t need to tell you that trying to park in Edinburgh is pretty pointless, unless you’re in town for the dawn chorus, so I’ll skip past that.

No I want to talk first of all about parking in our out-of-town retail parks and garden centres. Take any large store. The spaces for your run-of-the-mill car are far too narrow and when one of those 4x4 juggernauts parks alongside you, then no-one, but no-one, can see you coming out.

Christine Grahame is the SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale

Christine Grahame is the SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale

On top of that, the doors of that humongous vehicle may be so close that you have to shimmy into the driver’s seat or enter via the passenger doors. Good job that summer diet is taking effect.

And how did they get out without banging against your car? Well they didn’t. Even if you try parking far from the ‘Madding Crowd’ on the fringes of the car-park you return to find yourself boxed in, despite your avoidance strategy.

Who decided that the more cars you squeeze in the better? Of course, if you have a wain with you then you and your passengers are given the right space to disembark.

Now my complaint is not to remove family or disabled spaces, certainly not, but to give us all a decent space.

READ MORE: Cheaper to get a fine than pay for parking in Edinburgh’s city centre

There are those who park across white lines put there by the council to allow egress from and access to residents’ homes. Yet park they must and they will then fake surprise, even outrage, as the occupier points out the white lines.

There are those who park willy-nilly where there are clear zig-zags around a school. Usually the defence is that they are only there for a few minutes. Where does it say that on the warning notices?

As for parking on pavements, heaven help you if you have a buggy or are in a wheelchair. There are charges at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for parking and as it is a PFI (Private Finance Initiative under Labour) hospital and charging for parking is part of the contract.

It would take an arm and a leg to buy out that contract and make it free. This is why charges cannot be abolished as has been done at the Western.

One visit to Outpatients can cost into several pounds, which can just be manageable but repeat visits for treatment or to see relatives or friends makes it onerous.

Now you will say, what about the buses? Indeed. But buses to the Royal Infirmary are not convenient for everyone, whether in Edinburgh or from outside and certainly not if you are unwell or frail.

As for those outlying precincts, they were ostensibly designed with the car owner in mind.

READ MORE: Cars found trapped in Edinburgh’s ‘robot car park’ 15 years on

Now I see, with the up-and-coming Transport Bill, the campaign group Transform Scotland has suggested including non-residential parking levies and a ban on pavement parking.

I have no problem with banning pavement parking with exceptions say for emergency vehicles but to charge firms for “free” employee parking is a bit rich.

I represent part of the Borders and Midlothian and some of my constituents do commute to work in Edinburgh and some will have no option but to use a car.

Why should their firm be penalised by providing parking for them? Let’s park that idea for a start.