...the voice of pensioners

Driving verses parking…

08 May 2019

Dear LPG


How many times have you looked through your front room window and found that a car is parked outside your home so that it is impossible for you to navigate with your car out of your drive? Arriving home and not being able to put the car in is just as annoying. 


I, like a growing number of oldies still hold my driver’s licence and truly value the freedom it gives me to get out and about, and I also know how difficult it is to find somewhere to park when you get to the place where you want to go sometimes, so I can see the inconvenience from both sides of the coin.


It is getting increasingly difficult to drive anywhere because, even in the few roads that are not decorated with red and yellow lines, there are so many houses that have a drive in their front gardens and dropped curbs.  I know that the councils have their own financial problems these days, but we all know that they are just capitalising on the situation by issuing parking fines at an alarming rate, and though being a parking attendant is one job that I would really not like to have had when I worked, it is a job opportunity that, if lost, would put yet another section of people in the benefits queue.   I also note that the authorities have gradually decided that an older person has to be practically unable to put one foot in front of the other before they will issue a blue badge. 


I am sure that we drivers, when trying to park these days, will go to the car parks first, and when they are full we naturally try the more minor roads where we will encounter yellow or red lines and the dropped curbs making it impossible to actually leave the car when we get to where we want to go. 


So I would like to propose an alternative idea.  Many people who park in residential roads either want to visit someone who lives on that road or leave their car for a relatively short while to get to a shop for just one item, depending on the length of the queue in the shop.  So for those, with the shoe on the other foot, it would be really good if when they found the car that was in the way, there was a note on the dashboard with a contact mobile phone number on it. 


I now have a routine that I adopt when I find myself with this problem.  Firstly I will ring the bell of the house that I might park in front of and ask permission to leave my car there for a while, explaining how long I would leave it for and where to find me if they need to.  If I really cannot get an answer and can do no better, I always have a note in the front of my car which informs of  an advanced apology for any  inconvenience I may be causing,  and includes my mobile phone number so that I can be contacted if there really is a problem.


When I find myself unable to drive out of my front garden, at whatever time of day or night, being able to phone the owner of the car is inconvenient but being able to contact the person rather than the police makes a lot of difference to how inconvenienced both drivers feel.


I suppose that people will argue that there is an element of risk involved and I know that not every driver has a mobile phone but if more people did this it would become much less expensive and inconvenient for local drivers. 


CE, Ladywell.