Brighton, weather and parking charges

A lot of noise has been generated recently in Brighton by traders upset by an increase in parking charges, implemented on April 1st – they are firm in the belief that the increases have driven away their customers.

Seafront businesses are demanding an emergency meeting with council transport chiefs to discuss the “unmitigated disaster” of increased parking charges. Twenty businesses have come together for the first time and are calling on Brighton and Hove City Council to ditch the increase and reinstate parking charges from last year.

Businesses in Madeira Drive, including the Sea Life Centre, the Brighton Wheel and Waves Café, say the decision by the council to increase parking charges in April has severely damaged trade. The changes saw tariffs in some parts of the city more than double overnight. Following protests from traders, the council announced it would introduce a new eight-hour tariff costing £15 in the seafront high zone, including Madeira Drive, while keeping the all-day charge of £20. Madeira Drive businesses say that even the weekend’s warm weather had failed to boost visitor numbers.

It is of course very likely that the cold, wet and miserable weather over much of the period since the increase in parking charges has had a more serious role to play in keeping people away from the seafront – either those people who have parked there, or who arrived by public transport, on foot, or on bike.

The businesses evidently don’t agree, arguing that the warm weather of last weekend (it wasn’t that warm) has ‘failed to boost visitor numbers’. Indeed

Annette Kettle, the co-owner of Waves café in Madeira Drive, said: “We have had warm weather in the past week and there is still no one parking down here because of the increased parking charges. Whether that will change if there is a heat wave I don’t know but I seriously doubt it.”

I was down in Brighton on Tuesday, and visited the seafront at about 11 o’clock in the morning. Probably not the busiest time; a weekday, rather than the weekend, and also at a time of day when children are still in school. Was there ‘no one parking down there’, despite the warm weather?

Every space full, as far as the eye can see.

All the spaces adjacent to the seafront itself – right in front of Annette Kettle’s establishment – were taken too. Note that the seafront itself is not exactly heaving; even at this less busy time, all the parking bays are full.

This suggests to me it is quite obviously weather that has been affecting the numbers of people choosing to visit Brighton seafront, not parking charges; the traders are misdiagnosing what is influencing visitor numbers, and probably also overestimating the numbers of people who arrive at Brighton seafront, and visit their businesses, by car.

I wonder if that ’emergency meeting’ the traders are demanding will still go ahead.

This entry was posted in Brighton, Car dependence, Parking. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Brighton, weather and parking charges

  1. fonant says:

    Quite agree. It’s odd that, given a quick check of the parking spaces, they are all full. Which means that the maximum number of cars have parked even with the increased charges!

    In fact higher prices might encourage people to park for slightly less time, allowing MORE people to park their cars each day.

    As far as parking charges go, they should be increased until there are a few spaces left on a normal day. Then you know that the parking charges are as high as they can be without putting people off parking. Given the demand for parking in Brighton, I suspect the actual market-maximum charge would be a lot higher than most people would think.

  2. Yet another drivers=shoppers argument showing some rather flawed logic. In regards to what fonant suggested I think they did pilot a scheme of variable parking charges in the US whereby as a street filled up the remaining spaces became more expensive, thus people used streets slightly further away with cheaper charges. Not only does it provide a rather decent public barter system for parking charges it was also shown to almost always provide a few free bays on a road at any given time🙂

    • livinginabox says:

      Some resources about variable charge parking schemes:

      The High Cost of Free Parking – Donald C. Shoup Reprint UCTC No. 351 – The University of California Transportation Center, University of California at Berkeley
      http://www.uctc.net/papers/351.pdf

      U.S. Parking Policies: An Overview of Management Strategies, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
      Rachel Weinberger John Kaehny Matthew Rufo
      http://www.itdp.org/documents/ITDP_US_Parking_Report.pdf

      ‘You might be shocked at how much traffic consists of drivers who have already arrived at their destination but find themselves cruising the streets, searching for an open parking spot. In some city neighborhoods, cruising makes up as much as 40 percent of all traffic. All this unnecessary traffic slows down buses, endangers cyclists and pedestrians, delays other motorists, and produces harmful emissions. The key to eliminating it is to get the price of parking right.’
      http://www.streetfilms.org/mba-the-right-price-for-parking/

      ‘SFMTA established SFpark to use new technologies and policies to improve parking in San Francisco. Reducing traffic by helping drivers find parking benefits everyone. More parking availability makes streets less congested and safer. Meters that accept credit and debit cards reduce frustration and parking citations. With SFpark, we can all circle less and live more….’
      http://sfpark.org/

  3. white says:

    after driving 60 miles to brighton to see the car show we had no choice but to pay the out £3.50 an hour parking charge which is more than double what I pay to park in putney, london. like many others at the car parade today, we were discusted by these high charges. Certainly won’t be visiting brighton again in a hurry.

    • “we had no choice but to pay the out £3.50 an hour parking charge”

      That’s not quite true – you had a choice to use the Regency Square Car Park near Churchill Square, for instance, where 1 hour’s worth of parking would have cost you £1. 3 hours of parking there would cost you £7.

  4. Pingback: Smartphone Parking Payment Systems | Brian Riley's - A Better Way for Hadleigh

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