TRANSPORT chiefs are set to press ahead with plans to cut the price of all-day parking charges in central Edinburgh, despite claims the move will bring more traffic into the city centre.
Fees for nine-hour stays would be cut by £2.50 in 530 spaces on 17 roads, largely on the outskirts of the city centre.
Drivers would pay £3 instead of £5.50 under proposals expected to be backed by members of the city’s transport committee on Thursday.
Edinburgh City Council said the aim of the move was intended to encourage motorists to park in allocated spaces instead of clogging up residential streets outside the charge zone.
Mark Turley, director of the communities department at the council, wrote in the report: “The aim of these changes is not to encourage commuters to bring their vehicles into the Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ), but to provide more parking opportunities for those who already park either in the city centre or in uncontrolled streets surrounding the CPZ.
“All-day commuter parking in residential areas inconveniences residents and prevents them from parking close to their homes.”
However, cycling and urban planning groups warned it would result in more commuters driving to work.
They also highlighted the fact that at £3 it would now be cheaper to park in the city centre than buy a Lothian Buses day ticket, at £3.50.
The plans were first announced in May 2011 and officials have been consulting with a number of groups in the city since then.
London Road, Polwarth Terrace, Colinton Road, Cluny Avenue and Brunswick Road are among the 17 streets included.
Cyclists’ Touring Club Lothians said the proposals will cause congestion and increase the risks to cyclists with more traffic on the road and Spokes claimed the moved would make rush hour periods even busier.
Urban planning organisation The Cockburn Association warned greater congestion in the city centre would impact on bus times.
Director Marion Williams said: “The Cockburn Association is very pro-public transport and is keen to see the city make the best use of the bus services here, which are among the best in the country.
“We would also encourage cycling and think a lot more could be done to make the city cycle-friendly.
“Therefore, we believe that introducing more cars into the city would only go against those aims.”
Eddie Thorn, chair of Craigleith/Blackhall Community Council, was sceptical over the move. He said: “The controlled parking zones have pushed drivers looking for free spaces into residential streets and I just wonder how much difference this will make.
“I would like to see another park-and-ride site created, as that would actually make a difference”
Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, said: “This is certainly not about encouraging people to drive into the city centre.
“At the moment there are many people who park in uncontrolled residential areas to avoid paying the £5.50 charges and people who live in these areas have complained.
“If you continue with controlled parking, you’ll end up with people parking by the bypass. It is more sensible to use the controlled parking than having people block people drive ways.”
Time to change
Streets where all-day parking charges will be reduced:
• Annandale Street
• Beaverbank Place
• Beaverhall Road
• Brunswick Road
• Hopetoun Crescent
• London Road
• Craigleith Road
• Orchard Brae Avenue
• Ravelston Terrace
• Wester Coates Road
• Cluny Avenue
• Colinton Road
• Polwarth Terrace
• South Ettrick Road
• Spylaw Road
• Harrison Road