Tougher response needed to anti-motorist policies – Daily Business Magazine

AS I SEE IT: TERRY MURDEN says demonizing motorists is not the right way to deal with the economy or net zero ambitions


It looks like there will be another showdown next week between the companies and those who govern us over the latest plans to impose fees on those who park in the office or factory parking lot. The Scottish Chamber of Commerce is flexing its muscles ahead of the latest round of talks with MSPs over the workplace parking charge, although its tough talk is little more than a complaint about the added cost burden on workers. businesses.

The added cost at a time when other costs are rising is certainly a key issue, and the SCC provides evidence that companies in Nottingham – the so-called flagship of such a scheme – have laid off workers or relocated their transactions in order to meet, or avoid, payments.

But if the CSC is serious about connecting WPL, it will need to strengthen its case with the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee by not being sidetracked by government agendas, such as its campaign for more bike lanes and parking lots. for bicycles. . There are many reasons why cycling is a failure for many commuters or delivery services and CSC must stop pandering to the cycling mafia.

Hammer policies like parking taxes and road blockages won’t stop drivers from finding ways to get to their place of work or delivery point. They just get more frustrated. Bus-only lanes are already compressing more traffic into single-file queues that create more congestion and encourage motorists to seek out rat-runs. To avoid workplace parking charges, commuters will park on residential side streets, creating a new problem.

I hear of artisans who avoid working in city centers because they are tired of parking restrictions that make it difficult to load and unload their vehicles close to where they work. It’s bad for them and for the local economy.

CSC and other corporate lobby groups should stand up for motorists and demand a more holistic solution to reducing emissions and congestion, while keeping the engine of the economy running. This latest skirmish comes as another committee has been formed in Glasgow to find solutions to the decline of its ‘style mile’ – Sauchiehall St, Buchanan Street and Argyle St. Recent initiatives have been pathetic. Planting more trees might hide graffiti and shut down stores, but it won’t bring back more shoppers and commuters. And more parking fees will force more of them to stay away.

There needs to be more focus on how to attract more people without penalizing them for choosing to drive. This means better management of traffic flows and encouraging more motorists to switch to electric vehicles, in particular through the provision of an efficient and abundant charging network, or the greater availability of shared vehicles. If local councils want to reduce the number of cars in town centres, they must offer more park and ride facilities.

Parking fees in our cities and towns should be staggered throughout the day to encourage people to shop and attend to their business interests. In the age of hybrid work, why do loads still apply throughout the day? Why not increase the availability of free short-term parking at different times of the day in different areas of the city to distribute traffic and boost local commerce?

A little imagination wouldn’t hurt.

Of course, one of the main reasons to prefer the WPL route is that it offers a new source of revenue for local authorities who claim to be struggling to find money. Forget all that net zero stuff, it’s another case of talking money.

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Terry Murden has held senior positions at The Sunday Times, The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and The Northern Echo and is now editor of the Daily Business


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