University Parking impact on the Triangle

Pete Thomas

Committee
Conservation
The university has increased parking fees at Avenue campus (just behind Oakmount Avenue) by 300%. Staff and students are not happy about this and will no doubt be parking on public roads - the triangle being an obvious place with no residents parking and a very short walk a long Lovers Walk to the Avenue Campus.

The odd thing to me is that the car park seems to be nearly empty. Here are some photos I took midmorning during term time:
 

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ClaireBrand

Resident
If it’s possible to have permits for the residents id be so grateful, as I tend to go to the gym most mornings and when I get back I have no where to park, which can be really frustrating when I’m running late for work and only want to run in for 5 minutes for a quick change of clothes. If there’s anything that can be done, that really would be great and you would of course have my vote
 

Pete Thomas

Committee
Conservation
Seems like my prediction from 2008 is coming true!

Staff and students are not happy about this and will no doubt be parking on public roads - the triangle being an obvious place

Not one available parking space in the whole of Oakmount Avenue

parking 1.jpg



parking 2.jpg
 
Is there a specific reason why the triangle doesn’t have a permit policy? It seems like everywhere else nearby does.

What I find even more disruptive than the parking is the breakneck speed some of these cars arrive at in the morning. It’s a real pain.
 

Victoria

Resident
I mentioned this 4 or so years ago and was told clearly that there was no appetite for a permit system and those of us who get stuck with all the university parking essentially needed to just ‘suck it up’. It’s not been a problem for the last two years with no one at the uni, but it’s been really bad again recently, and maybe if it’s now affecting even the further reaches of the triangle it could be looked at again!

And I agree with Jo, it’s not just about the parking, it’s the dangerous driving.
 

Pete Thomas

Committee
Conservation
I mentioned this 4 or so years ago and was told clearly that there was no appetite for a permit system
I'm not sure how that happened as I don't think we ever had a survey although the topic does usually get discussed at AGMs, and there does seem to be opinions both for and against rather than just "no appetite." It has been mentioned to me quite a lot recently. As you said, the problem went away during lockdown but it does now seem to be back with a vengeance.

Parking will be discussed again at the AGM on April 2 so that will be a good starting point - I'd encourage anyone with an interest, for or against, to come along and have your say. I believe the parking scheme in Abbotts Way was introduced based on demand from residents, so really what we need to do is to have a survey.

In general there are arguments both for and against, and I think it's worth being aware of those before making any decisions or casting any votes. For example, once you have a parking zone there is no going back if you change your mind.

Meanwhile people can contact the council, see here:


And also contact your ward councillors. They were round canvassing the other day and hopefully residents with strong views mentioned it to them.

Contact details for the three Portswood councillors here:


photo of Councillor Gordon Cooper
Councillor Gordon Cooper
c/o Members Services, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LY
Work: 023 8083 2430 / 3340
Work: Councillor.g.cooper@southampton.gov.uk
photo of Councillor Lisa Mitchell
Councillor Lisa Mitchell
c/o Members Services, Southampton City Council, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LY
Work: 02380 83 2430/3340
Home: 07814 596242
Work: Councillor.L.Mitchell@southampton.gov.uk
photo of Councillor John Savage
Councillor John Savage
c/o Member Services, Southampton City Council, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LY
Home: 023 8087 8999
Work: Councillor.j.savage@southampton.gov.uk

What we do know is that although most houses here have off street parking (I think it's about 85%?) there are are many more residents than there are houses
 
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shaf

Committee
Perhaps the first step would be for Otra to write to the university explaining the consequences to neighbouring streets Although permits do have a benefit they also come with another layer of bureaucracy and cost.
 

Pete Thomas

Committee
Conservation
Perhaps the first step would be for Otra to write to the university explaining the consequences to neighbouring streets
I have spoken to them (Adam Tewkesbury) . He suggested that the solution would be a residents' parking zone.

I am sure they will not change their policy. Although the Avenue campus car park is still mostly empty it has been filled a bit lately with the testing centre and the prefabs, but

Due to the demand for parking space outstripping supply, and in line with the University Travel Plan, the issue of a parking permit is restricted to staff members that live 3 miles or more from their work location and to students that have medical grounds for needing to drive.

 
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That’s funny because I remember that the staff at the Boldrewood site have at times has fairly stern warnings about parking on certain roads nearby because of university/neighbourhood relations.

But yes, parking permits would probably be the best solution. I know there are disadvantages but if residents can’t actually park here because of vehicles from the university then we need to be sensible about it.

Also - we have had cars over our side that appear and stay for days/weeks/sometimes months. It would be much easier to know if they were legitimately parking on the street of if they were abandoned with a residents parking scheme.
 

Pete Thomas

Committee
Conservation
That’s funny because I remember that the staff at the Boldrewood site have at times has fairly stern warnings about parking on certain roads nearby because of university/neighbourhood relations.
But if they were warned, I wonder if there was any kind of actual enforcement procedure if to make sure they would heed the warning. Or a hotline where residents can report registration numbers of offending staff? I hate to appear negative, but I am doubtful such a policy would work.

However I will again communicate with Adam about this and see if I can get a more helpful response, especially in the light of this:


However this may be one of those cases where it could be just as useful (if not more so) to have residents writing individually.
 
It might have had something to do with the planning permission when they redeveloped the Boldrewood site, I don’t recall. From reading UoS community engagement pages I’m not super hopeful that they would consider that they have a role to play here: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/community/who-to-contact-problem.page

Active travel plans are great but they fall down as soon as someone has to factor picking up children into the equation in my experience. It might be just as convenient for an adult to cycle but it’s more complicated if you’re doing school/nursery drops as well.

The only way to actually stop it is going to be a permit zone, so I guess putting it to a vote/neighbourhood ‘consultation’ is probably all we can do at the moment.

I was driving down Oakmount earlyish the other morning, and there were multiple cars coming up quite quickly and not being very considerate about sharing the space.
 

John Marshall

Committee
Conservation
Yes, we have had surveys. On street parking during the evening is local residents. During the days its others parking up. The Council is turning the streets of Soton into a giant car park to gain revenue.

We have looked into it a number of times and the voice from those who have lived under such schemes was that it made everyones lives more complicated. The Council are happy to oblige but impossible to go back.

It would also be divisive in that those with drives into front walls have booked themselves a parking space. Either on street or in the garden.

Abbotts Way is a sort of red herring. All the houses have drives. So, it appeared to be done as they didn't want people from/visiting Portswood parking in front of their houses.

The University did pay for a traffic warden for local streets. It would be good to ask if this is still being done. I have not seen one recently. It was a strategy agreed with them. So, they can't walk away from it. It was for the streets around every campus.

The strategy was always report everything. There might be help if we get a 20 mph zone.

John
 
I’m struggling to see how a traffic warden would help - the cars are parked legally, because there are no parking restrictions.

I suspect this is one of those issues that will eventually reach a tipping point, so while the disadvantages of a parking scheme outweighed the advantages last time it was raised that may not be the case now.

It does seem much worse now than before lockdown. Every time I go along Oakmount/Blenheim/Leigh during the day the parking is pretty much saturated. On WC we had a van left here for 3 months or so over winter, with no idea whose it was or whether it was abandoned.

That said, the parking restrictions behind the main university site (Hartley Avenue etc) were put in to make it difficult for university users to park, but the result is that people still park there and then move around the streets every couple of hours, so we may not fix the issue with restrictions.
 

roger brown

Resident
This is an issue that has come up in the past. It obviously needs further and full discussion,

I do understand the concerns and problems in Oakmount Avenue in particular. However as John Marshall says, there are a lot of pros and cons. When the issue was discussed by OTRA some years ago, one of our members (who has since moved away) was very trenchant on the bureaucracy and lack of flexibility on the basis of his experience in another City. We also found that many of the cars were actually those of residents, including of the flats.

The suggestion of a survey as well as discussion at the AGM is excellent. It will be very important for everyone to have full information given that any such scheme would be irrevocable.

In addition I agree with Shaf about an approach to the University. As it happens, HRA (of which I am Chair) recently had a meeting with the University about a Civic University Agreement which would provide a good vehicle for such a discussion. Pete - could we discuss how this could be done.

Roger Brown
 
I too recall discussion some years ago about volume of University-generated parking in Oakmount/Westbourne while car parks in Avenue campus were nearly empty. The University Travel Plan has a blanket policy of discouraging car use. Parking on Avenue campus is by long-term permit only (charge applies) with no provision for staff who need to be on site only once or twice a week or who for a particular (including personal) reason need occasionally to travel to work by car. We got nowhere in asking the University to take a more flexible approach. OTRA could try again, but the University's track record in listening to local community concern about parking does not give cause for optimism.

It's quite apparent that the daytime parking affecting us is University generated, and unfortunately by students as much as by staff. At that time, the conclusion was 'benefits' in perhaps reducing pressure on on-street parking spaces was insufficient to outweigh inconvenience for callers/visitors. There was understandable anxiety that, though initially there may be no charge to residents, there would be no way to avoid later introduction of charging for permits. The problem has got worse; maybe time to review whether the balance of advantage is now for a residents' parking scheme?
 
Although relatively new to the triangle and with off street parking available to us , our feeling is that there should be some parking restrictions in place within the triangle. Within the last year on 2 occasions cars have parked partly across my drive during the morning so i have been unable to get my car out the drive to get to work at the general. One luckily came back from uni just intime and the other occasion I had to resort to getting a taxi to and from work due to late finish times. The parking feels worse than 2 years ago pre covid. Its very disappointing to see empty university car parks and I'm happy to raise this with the councillors above including improving more green provisions for getting people to and from work. The traffic has also surely also contributed to the poor state of the roads in the triangle which also needs to be addressed.
 

Sam Spencer

Resident
Implying the university give a damn about local residents, they exist for profit so charging for their car parks is the logical choice for them. If it bothers you that much I'd suggest contacting the Vice Chancellor or the Students' Union Community officer.
 

Pete Thomas

Committee
Conservation
OTRA could try again,
I believe that we should at least make another effort, especially in the light of renewed concern shown in this thread. I have written but am not holding my breath.
but the University's track record in listening to local community concern about parking does not give cause for optimism.
Implying the university give a damn about local residents,
And in this case they have created a problem, and their response so far has been to expect the residents to pay for a "solution" which is not really a solution. It is a prime example of a treating the symptoms not the cause.

We will discuss at the AGM initially, however it is also something that needs to also involve residents who are not signed up OTRA members.

The suggestion of a survey as well as discussion at the AGM is excellent. It will be very important for everyone to have full information given that any such scheme would be irrevocable.
I think the survey itself needs to make all information clear, both in regard to benefits and disadvantages.
 
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Indeed - restricting parking permits to those living >3 miles away solves their issue with insufficient parking, and also ticks a box re: promoting active travel. University personnel parking (legally) on local streets doesn’t feature in the equation really because it’s not a ‘problem’ for them or that they can fix. They haven’t publicly endorsed it, and can’t stop it happening.

I wonder if there is a simple solution to help us work out the scale of the issue - we could print a notice for the cars to show which are otra related (residents and visitors) and see how many additional cars are around in the day.
 

John O'Flynn

Resident
Definitely worth a discussion at the AGM so that the wider community can contribute.

I have lived with permits (elsewhere in Southampton & another city) and I found them to be a real pain. Although there's a relatively minimal cost, the fumbling around looking for visitor permits when friends/relatives/trades arrive was a challenge. Only to find that the last book only had one day left!! Then add the failure to remember to renew your own permit, followed by a fruitless discussion with SCC to quash the fixed penalty parking fine. Perhaps that's the disorganised life we lead, but I don't think the additional logistics should be overlooked.

And although we don't seem to get the Uni users at this end of the triangle, we do get the parkrunners, the families coming to the common and the occasional cruise ship vehicles left for a couple of weeks.

I'd rather park a bit further away from home than have permit parking here, but understand the frustration if that's every day.
 
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