Monday 4 February 2013

The long road

Once upon a time there was a beautiful winding road, more than two thousand miles long. Although some people used the road to go on very long journeys most people just liked to stay close to their local area. The road was so beautiful that people used to visit it just to enjoy a short walk or take photographs. Some people used the road for cycle journeys. 

But the road was built for cars and there were over 35,000 cars using the road. Some of the cars had permanent parking spaces and some of them travelled continuously, parking only temporarily. Some travelled long distances and some travelled short distances, in the same area. The cars that had no permanent parking space were allowed to park on the road-side for fourteen days at a time before continuing their journey.

Parking spaces near pubs and facilities were popular but in 12 years travelling on this road I had never been unable to find a parking space (except in Camden). So I really don’t know why The Trust, (the people trusted to look after the road) want to change many of my local parking spaces from a 14 day permitted stay to a two day stay. It reminds me of when The Trust tried to introduce neighbourhood parking zones in London. Those proposals would have forced travellers to travel further in a shorter space of time. People with cars on the road in London did some research which indicated that the road was not overcrowded. (1)

Parking on the Wendover arm may be reduced to two days at any one time: Perfect for a weekend visit but impractical for someone who lives in their vehicle. The Trust have proposed to make some parts of the Wendover arm into “no parking” zones; whilst at the same time admitting its popularity. Big changes to parking rules in Berkhamstead will result in locals being forced to leave the area. This will have an impact on local businesses serving pints of ale to the weary traveller!

The thing is, if parking is restricted to shorter time periods then travellers will have to move more often and further. But moving X number of cars without a permanent parking space to different temporary parking spaces, more often, does not free up more parking spaces.

If I arrive at a popular visitor mooring and find it full I tend to just moor on a nearby towpath mooring instead. If some people overstay longer than 14 days then by all means deal with those people, but don’t penalise a whole community and way of life because a few people break the current rules.

We only have until the 1st March to make our views heard. If you disagree with the proposed changes please sign this petition, and send your own response to The Trust.


PS. I do now have a permanent parking space, but still feel part of the lovely friendly travelling community! 

(1)    London Boaters BW Consultation Response. Appendix D Congestion Survey Maps.

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