I had the pleasure recently of meeting with Teresa Curteis, Head of Traffic Management and Travel in the University’s Estates department. This post summarises some key points from that discussion and a good place to start is with this question: What if I am entitled to use an accessible parking space but none are available in the area where I need to stop?
Wherever possible an accommodation will be made. The first thing to do is to find a safe space to stop, ensuring that it won’t cause an obstruction. Then – ideally while still in the car or very nearby – contact the Transport Team by telephone for advice. Do not email: there needs to be a dialogue.
The number to call is 01227 82 3609 and any decision (e.g. verbal permission to leave the car where it is) will be confirmed to Campus Security.
If unable to obtain a response ring Campus Security directly for advice 01227 82 3300.
What about unauthorised parking in accessible bays?
A question frequently raised within the DSN has been the issue of perceived abuse of accessible parking bays. To clarify: many, but not all, users of accessible bays will hold an official Blue Badge but some individuals might, for example, have a ‘health access’ permit issued by Estates (but not a Blue Badge). In the case of University staff this would be on the basis of an assessment and recommendation made by Occupational Health and a permit of this kind, like all permits to park on campus, is not provided in a paper format unless specifically requested (which relatively few users do). The crux of the issue is: the absence of a physical signifier does not necessarily mean that the car is not permitted to be parked; only visitors to the campus (i.e. not students or staff) are required to display a Blue Badge. This is because number plate recognition technology is used to verify whether a vehicle is permitted to be parked on campus.
A vehicle that is not in the database of permit holders and which is not displaying a Blue Badge is liable to be subject to a Parking Charge Notice.
The point has been raised that if Estates would reconsider having paper permits for disabled/health access users this would allay these concerns about abuse of the accessible bays. It would, however, be discriminatory to require one “class” of permit holder to display a signifier of some kind but not to require any other class of permit holder to do so.
The suggested solution therefore is for people who are concerned about a possible violation to report the car’s registration and whereabouts, by telephone, to the Transport Team 01227 82 3609. If unable to obtain a response ring Campus Security instead 01227 82 3300.
The issue will be investigated and if necessary enforcement activity in the area will be stepped up. The person making the report will not be advised of the outcome but may wish to draw his or her own conclusions if the vehicle in question continues to use accessible space(s) – it very likely means that there is a valid permit to do so. If (s)he were to see the same vehicle with an enforcement/penalty notice affixed, a contrary inference could be drawn.
Some issues have been identified in the region of the Sibson building where accessible spaces frequently seem to be occupied and therefore as a temporary measure three standard parking spaces adjacent to the designated loading area will be re-purposed to form two accessible bays. This will be on a trial basis. Signage will be used rather than painted markings to demarcate the accessible spaces. (This was initiated on 26 November 2018)
When building work nearby has been completed on the new School of Economics structure, two accessible spaces will be constructed adjacent to the building. There will be one more space further in a clockwise direction adjacent to Chipperfield. There will not be any standard parking spaces in this area. A physical barrier may be used to restrict access to this area since there are high levels of non-vehicular traffic throughout the day.
A factor that may have placed added pressure on parking generally, in this area, has been the coning off of spaces exclusively for use by the construction company working on the new Economics structure. I was advised that this will cease when work has ended, anticipated April 2019.