EDINBURGH’S park-and-ride sites are too full to cope if a workplace parking levy persuades more motorists to leave their cars and take the bus into the city, Tories claimed today.
Lothian Conservative MSP Gordon Lindhurst said the Capital was unprepared for the introduction of a car park tax.
He used Freedom of Information legislation to obtain figures for the three city council-run park-and-ride sites at Ingliston, Hermiston and Straiton and said the results showed there would be a serious shortfall in spaces at two of the three if demand were to increase significantly
The council’s response to the FoI request acknowledged that Hermiston and Ingliston were both “at capacity” and said options were being looked at.
Straiton was under-used at present and had much spare capacity every day.
The average counts for vehicles at the sites, Monday to Friday, over three years were 993 at Ingliston – leaving 87 spaces; 241 at Hermiston – leaving 209 spaces; and 100 at Straiton – leaving 500 spaces.
Mr Lindhurst said census data showed 55,745 commuters driving into Edinburgh from outside the city.
He said there was growing anger in the west of the city, especially in Corstorphine, where residential streets were under increasing pressure from motorists parking their cars for extended periods.
A workplace parking charge would increase demand for park and ride facilities which in the west appear not to have the capacity to cope.
“The car park tax is one of the most misguided policies that the SNP government have come up with in their time in charge, backed up by the Greens.
“It means more and more people coming into Edinburgh from the north and west will have to use park and rides to avoid paying the tax, yet the two facilities on that side of the city are, by the council’s own admission, already full. That will either push more people into residential parking in the city itself in places like Corstorphine, which residents don’t want. Or if controlled parking is introduced, it means commuters will simply have nowhere to go.
“Our park and ride facilities are vital for commuters, and even more so if the car park tax is introduced. But as it stands, in the west of the city in particular, the souncil is totally unprepared.
“The Scottish Conservatives will continue to oppose these misguided plans for a car park tax at every turn.”
However, Cllr Lesley Macinnes said the introduction of a levy will help raise money for more park and ride sites. She added: “We will be undertaking further in-depth research and analysis on the possibilities of a local Workplace Parking Levy, including all of the structure that would be required to make it work effectively. This will be followed by a period of engagement and consultation. Any decisions we take will be fully informed by the views of residents and stakeholders.”