Five-minute feature: safety concerns over proposed double yellow line changes
NEARLY 2,500 county drivers have been slapped with parking tickets since April after they illegally stopped on double or single yellow lines. Eric Pickles plans to crack down on "over-aggressive parking enforcement" and give drivers a 15-minute grace period to park on double yellow lines. Laura Churchill explains.
CRITICS are already slamming Eric Pickles' new scheme which will show lenience to drivers parking on single or double yellow lines.
He believes the 15-minute grace period will regenerate the high street by allowing customers to pop into shops more easily and quickly.
But those sceptical about the plans say they would lead to more congestion on the roads.
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Highways bosses in Gloucestershire, who are in charge of ticketing illegal parkers, are not taking a view on whether the plan could work.
Katherine Sinclair, of Gloucestershire County Council, said: "Supporting Gloucestershire's economy is a top priority for the county council and we look forward to seeing further detail from Government on how this initiative could achieve that without compromising road safety."
Gloucestershire County Council currently decides where the lines should be introduced. Often they are found where roads are narrow, near busy junctions, or where parking might obscure a sight line or make crossing difficult or dangerous for pedestrians.
Consultation is carried out locally before the Traffic Regulation Order is passed and the lines are painted.
New lines were recently painted in Hatherley Road near the post office at the request of residents, who had problems with visibility and accessibility at the nearby junction.
Garry Handley, from the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership, said safety was something that would have to be looked at.
He said: "There are issues that would possibly impact congestion and tensions could rise because of that.
"But I suspect there would be a risk assessment by those responsible for enforcing and that would have to be part of the proposals.
"One thing that we have to remember is we are talking about parking problems and that is because people assume that private vehicles are the best way.
"We have got an over-reliance on cars and we need to look at how it is best to rejuvenate things without bending over backwards to the motorist."
Gloucestershire Constabulary is highlighting the dangers of illegal parking.
Simon Masters, spokesman for Gloucestershire Constabulary, said: "In general double yellow line enforcement is carried out by traffic wardens.
"Parking that obstructs other vehicles or the footpath can be very dangerous and we need drivers to work with us and the council to think before they park."