Now, I've just had the most frustrating time trying to get parked in town.
I only needed to pop to the bank quickly, so after driving round for what seemed like an eternity trying to find a parking space, and an even longer eternity stuck in the one way system, I was determined not to have to park so far away that I might as well have walked in the first place.
Rejoicing to the gods of parking when I finally found a free spot, I then found I didn't have enough change anyway and was now rapidly becoming very late for a meeting. I gave up.
Which is annoying because I only wanted to 'pop' into town for a few minutes, and ended up wasting both my time and petrol, simultaneously contributing to both traffic congestion and pollution in Richmond town centre, and frankly leaving me feeling not a little bit stressed. Double all of these factors when you consider that I'll have to attempt the challenge again another day.
It's the same right through Richmond, Twickenham, Teddington and in East Sheen. Parking spaces are at a premium, tempers are soaring, and the local economy is suffering. I realise Richmond Borough Council have a lot to live up to with their reputation as one of the cleanest and greenest boroughs in London, but it's a very simplistic view for local authorities to believe that simply reducing the opportunities for people to drive into town is the answer. With fewer places to park, drivers are in fact forced to drive around more looking for a space, and such as in my case, give up and make another journey at a later time. Drivers may also 'hover', engine running, as a passenger dashes off on an errand, which of course also increases pollution.
I think the idea of several free 20 minute parking bays is valid and beneficial, which I know is one already under debate. It would help to reduce congestion, there are plenty of roads currently suitable to house them, and the local economy would surely benefit.
In fact, making it easier to stop-and-shop in our town centres would go some way to reducing the amount of shopping we do at out-of-town retail parks - but that's for another article altogether!
Want to have your say? Let us know what you think of parking in Richmond, Twickenham, Teddington and East Sheen.
Silas Van Der Bas
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Silas Van Der Bas is a freelance writer and photographer with The Little White Studio.