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Experts, campaigners and ordinary people line up against 15-minute spring shopping idea

Cycling activists and commentators have reacted with extreme scepticism to  MP Eric Pickles' suggestion of a 15-minute 'grace period' in which drivers will be allowed to park on double yellow lines.

Mr Pickles believes that letting people park on double yellow lines would help stem the decline of the high street by making shopping more attractive in towns rather than out-of-centre retail parks. 

Dame Sarah Storey, Britain's top paralympic athlete, took to Twitter to says: "New plans to allow motorists to park "briefly" on double yellow lines... Yet more ideas that will be a danger to cyclists :-("

Transport commentator Christian Wolmar, who is seeking the Labour Party nomination for Mayor of London, tweeted that the notion was: "A bad idea; 15 mins parking on dble yellow lines will lead to chaos, not more business. Instead, improve modes such as walking and cycling."

Sustrans’ Policy Director, Jason Torrance, said: “The assumption that making it easier to drive to the shops will save the high street is fundamentally wrong - the last thing that our high streets need is more parking, more traffic and more congestion.


Double yellow lines are often used to prevent parking in bike lanes.
(copyright The_Chauffeur/Flickr)

“Rather than encouraging councils to create dangerous, noisy and congested high streets, the government needs to lead a renaissance - making our streets more vibrant places where people want to meet, socialise and spend time doing their weekly shopping.

“By slowing speeds and discouraging parking, our high streets will become a hub for walking and cycling, creating an atmosphere where people want to linger and boosting local economies.”

Islington Cyclists Action Grpups said: "If Mr Pickles cycled around London for 30 minutes he would quickly appreciate the value of double yellow lines!"

Friendly streets, slower streets, profitable streets

There is considerable evidence that making high streets more accessible to cyclists and pedestrians increases business because people travelling more slowly are more likely to linger and buy more.

"Streets that prioritize walking and biking, incorporated with amenities such as pedestrian plazas, have proven to boost local retail sales by 10-25 percent in cities around the world," according to US advocacy organisation Transportation Alternatives.

The most famous recent example of this effect is that of the first protected bike lane installed in New York. Businesses on 9th Avenue saw a 49 percent rise in retail sales, compared to 3 percent across Manhattan as a whole, according to research by the New York City Department of Transportation, cited by Yes! Magazine. Researchers at Portland State University found that shoppers who arrive by bike spend 24 percent more at stores per month than those who drive.

But it's not just bike advocates and transport planners who are aghast at Pickles' idea allowing people 15 minutes to sprint round a Tesco Express. Plenty of apparently ordinary members of the public are unimpressed too.

Jamie Wallace (@JRWStudio) said: "Isn't this what single yellow lines are for? and double used when it's dangerous or a serious obstruction?"

Chris Lovell (@ChrisLovellGB) tweeted: "Would cause a bit of a jam in many #Birmingham streets if introduced."

And Matt Langford (@mrmattlangford) spoke for many when he tweeted: "Double yellow lines parking plan. Stupid idea! People won't bother with car parks and jam up the streets!"

 

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

29 comments

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Ultraman [8 posts] 2 years ago
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Britain's fattest MP wants to be able to park on double yellow lines...

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doc [167 posts] 2 years ago
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Well it would be a help to heavyweight politicians nipping in to the bakery to top up the cake supply  1

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TeamCC [146 posts] 2 years ago
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I was raised by car in the US and the first time I was in a car-free zone shopping area just felt so great. I didn't know it before but the presence of cars adds a bunch of stress. Sitting outside a cafe without the noise and fumes of a vehicle 5 feet from you is a great thing. this is the style in which London should be city planned around.

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crazy-legs [704 posts] 2 years ago
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15 minutes is just the amount of time Eric Pickles needs to park up, waddle to Greggs to collect his lunchtime order of "everything" and waddle back again.

Fat pillock, another moronic and unworkable idea.

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zanf [759 posts] 2 years ago
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High streets formed through footfall traffic and have been decimated by car usage.

As soon as food retailers outgrew the high street, the moved to out of town box stores that took that footfall traffic with them, already by then converted to vehicular traffic.

Fatty Pickles think s double yellow parking is going to help rejuvenation of the high street but will do nothing but add to the culture of driver entitlement, which will then end up with rogue parking everywhere.

What I suggest is a blood sacrifice of Eric Pickles to appease the angry gods and hopefully make abundant once more the harvest from the high street. It may seem banal, pagan and quite futile but dammit, THE GODS DEMAND IT!

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jazzykoenig [16 posts] 2 years ago
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Seems like a good idea to me. Just another good way to stop councils robbing us with their extortionate ticket prices and ridiculous operating hours.

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Hasis [37 posts] 2 years ago
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"Seems like a good idea to me"

Okay, at what point does this "15 minutes" start, when the Traffic Warden first clocks you?

Which part of the word 'unworkable' do you think Pickles is struggling with?

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ScotchPoth (not verified) [367 posts] 2 years ago
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'Please sir,i want some more'

MOOOOORRRRE??!!

Old fatty Dickensian workhouse pickling pickles proposes pickling retrogressive bollacks

Oh please Mr Pickles Sir,can you see it in your cold fat heart to pour a little more gruel into my bowl,please sir,im a lowly poor orphan peasant and im so cold and hungry,you see parking on double yellows outside shops are of no use to me as i havent the pennies to purchase a motorized vehicle or the comestibles inside said shops

MOOOOOORRRE? You young scoundrel,you will be in the ragged school before i can finish my slap up supper you young insolent blaggard,wheres my whip,come here you wretched scoundrel,you have the audacity to insult me? Fatty pickles?Yorkshire whore and capitalist cock sucker?I'll teach you all,you filthy peasants

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swelbo [33 posts] 2 years ago
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crazy-legs wrote:

15 minutes is just the amount of time Eric Pickles needs to park up, waddle to Greggs to collect his lunchtime order of "everything" and waddle back again.

Fat pillock, another moronic and unworkable idea.

 41

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swelbo [33 posts] 2 years ago
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Hasis wrote:

"Seems like a good idea to me"

Okay, at what point does this "15 minutes" start, when the Traffic Warden first clocks you?

Which part of the word 'unworkable' do you think Pickles is struggling with?

In Malta you have a clock on your car that you set to the time you parked. Honesty is always the best policy..

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neilmitchuk [11 posts] 2 years ago
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Why not take the front off every shop in the country then the car wedded shoppers can drive right inside.

What a ridiculous suggestion from a buffoon of a politician.

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HKCambridge [215 posts] 2 years ago
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jazzykoenig wrote:

Seems like a good idea to me. Just another good way to stop councils robbing us with their extortionate ticket prices and ridiculous operating hours.

On the contrary, parking prices are sometimes (often round here) too low to control the demand. Low or no parking prices encourage people to take the car, increasing congestion and resulting in lots of people driving round for ages trying to get a space which has not been valued highly enough because it was cheap. It doesn't even benefit the people it's supposed to help.

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Mattrb78 [23 posts] 2 years ago
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No need to worry about simple things like double yellow lines, stop lines, red traffic lights advance stop lines, speed limits or anything else like that in Hyde Cheshire. These have been ignored and not policed for years. The only thing we don't have to worry about in Hyde are cycle lanes, we don't have any!!!

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Leviathan [1778 posts] 2 years ago
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doc wrote:

Well it would be a help to heavyweight politicians nipping in to the bakery to top up the cake supply  1

Don't we supply him with enough free kitkats?

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stumps [3184 posts] 2 years ago
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"What I suggest is a blood sacrifice of Eric Pickles to appease the angry gods and hopefully make abundant once more the harvest from the high street. It may seem banal, pagan and quite futile but dammit, THE GODS DEMAND IT!"

Love it, we could throw in a few others from parliament and make it an annual event unless they start to play ball.  41

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IanW1968 [251 posts] 2 years ago
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It'll never happen, bit more Pickles nonsense.

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TheHatter [770 posts] 2 years ago
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May be he thinks that cyclists' "rubber knickers" will protect them... http://cyclelondoncity.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/as-london-announces-its-ow...

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SideBurn [890 posts] 2 years ago
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Great pictures  1

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banzicyclist2 [299 posts] 2 years ago
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I cannot see this idea working, why not just sort out the parking fees? It's £1.20 / hour in Ulverston. So everyone goes hunting for the few places where you don't have to pay, or goes to TESCOs where it's free.

My solution is a bike with panniers, only problem then is where tom lock it up while I'm in the shops.  4

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Yorkshie Whippet [499 posts] 2 years ago
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Mattrb78 wrote:

No need to worry about simple things like double yellow lines, stop lines, red traffic lights advance stop lines, speed limits or anything else like that in Hyde Cheshire. These have been ignored and not policed for years. The only thing we don't have to worry about in Hyde are cycle lanes, we don't have any!!!

Sadly a true picture of most of the country. Don't worry about cycle lanes, you not missing much. Around Leeds these are perfect parking places or maybe an extension of the junction so that you make an extra few feet before stopping traffic.

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doubledex [32 posts] 2 years ago
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Pickles likes to say things like this just to wind everyone up a bit - and it works! I would like to see real ivestment in the high street to make them really attractive places with trees, etc - more Banskys please! Would love to see a Landscape Architect post something here with the latest thinking on this - would be an excellent riposte.

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therevokid [911 posts] 2 years ago
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To use a well known comedians' phrase ...

Oi Pickles ..... Nooooooooooooooo

or

Shut it ....

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amawby [74 posts] 2 years ago
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Why stop at double yellows, I wonder what other road rules that road users could be allowed to break if they think it is safe? The speed limit? one way streets? Red lights?

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Gizmo_ [1333 posts] 2 years ago
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amawby wrote:

Why stop at double yellows, I wonder what other road rules that road users could be allowed to break if they think it is safe? The speed limit? one way streets? Red lights?

Running over road users who happen to be in the way? Oh, sorry, that already goes unpunished.

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a.jumper [845 posts] 2 years ago
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Too much bonkers, too little time!

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penhit [57 posts] 2 years ago
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They already do this in Grange-over-Sands... traffic chaos!

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BigBear63 [79 posts] 2 years ago
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Typically pointless token ideas from a government beset with tokenism.  35

Poorly thought through and the sort of idea that someone without a clue would dream up over a few too many beers with his mates down the pub.  39

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dp24 [201 posts] 2 years ago
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So, given the choice between a parking space they'll have to pay & display for, or a nearby set of double yellow lines for free, I wonder which people will go for? We'll no doubt end up with the ridiculous situation of people driving around looking for a 'convenient' set of double yellows to park on.

Another idiotic and unworkable idea from Pickles. The man is a moron.

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pmanc [194 posts] 2 years ago
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In Manchester this is pretty much the de-facto standard anyway.

a) Parking was taken out of the hands of the police several years ago. It is the council's responsibility and they do very little about it (see b and c).

b) Cycle lanes are not enforced at all - even mandatory ones during their period of operation - unless they are on double-yellows, but...

c) ...drivers who park on double-yellows are given five minutes grace from the moment they are seen - this is council policy - in case they are loading which is apparently legal on double-yellows.

So no penalties are ever given for parking on double yellows. No deterrent exists, and even if a driver is moved on they will often be replaced very quickly by someone else who gets five minutes.

Compare this with the huge fines given in "operation grimaldi", the latest crack-down on rogue cyclists. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/poli...