Friday, September 06, 2013

Conversation with a Petrol Head

So, I’m chatting to a local resident hereabouts. He is moaning about the works currently taking place up at Manford Way shopping parade. The slip road outside the shops is being re-aligned so that parking is only allowed on one side, effectively halving the parking directly outside the shops. He accepts that to offset this action parking is being provided opposite and in the adjacent side roads but he is still not happy. He thinks this is a prelude to the introduction of parking charges there.

He says: “I go to Manford Way because I do not have to pay to park. I refuse, point blank, to go to Barkingside High Street and pay parking charges, it’s a rip off.”

I say “You’ll be lucky to find a parking space in Barkingside High Street during daytime trading hours now when there are charges so how do you think you would fare if there were no charges?”

He replies: “ I will not pay to park my car anywhere. I totally refuse, it’s a rip-off. The council are targeting motorists as a cash cow. We’re being bled dry”

I point out an earlier post here and the evidence that people who arrive in High Streets on foot or by public transport spend more money and the example where a street in Seattle removed car parking and experienced a 400% increase in trade. He was unmoved and unphased.

So I asked: “what do you do when you go to somewhere like Romford?”

“Ah well” he says, “I drive to Collier Row take a right turn and just before the A12 there is marked out free pavement parking. There’s a bus stop within walking distance so I bus it into Romford from there.”

“So you park and ride?” I say. “Yes” he says “I have a freedom pass.” I refer back to that earlier post again and point out that his pre-occupation with not spending any money rather reinforces the point and is not exactly what the traders in our High Street need.

So I ask: “why don’t you park and ride to Barkingside High Street?” There’s a pause and I’m thinking so I reinforce the point, “In fact, why do you even bother to get your car out of the garage? You live closer to the 169 bus terminus than I do, which takes you directly to Barkingside High Street every 10 minutes or so, so why not just get the fricking bus, like I do?”

Judging by the body language reaction I think I scored a hit on cognitive dissonance but then the ego defence mechanisms kicked in and I don’t think I convinced him ….

C'est la vie …

"A developed country is one where rich people use public transport, not one where poor people have cars!" - Green Capital

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