Free Parking

A local biking person was shocked (she’s young) to discover that – while Bigtownshire Council has been eeeeever so slooooowly considering maybe thinking about developing a cycling strategy but, you know, all in the fullness of time and only if there’s nothing urgent going on with the buses, let’s not go mad here – Bigtown has long had a parking strategy and that parking strategy is that for every parking space that is lost, a new parking space has to be created.

This in a way is odd, because as it happens, ‘lost’ parking spaces are quickly found again – there’s a street right on the edge of the town centre (where there has been rash talk of a bike contraflow lane) which has had double yellows on it for as long as we have lived up here, and people still park on it as if they weren’t there, despite it being ooh, 50 yards from an enormous, free (good Lord, you wouldn’t want to make people pay for parking would you?) car park, which complements the many dozens of other free car parks dotted around the town centre. Indeed, when I decided to join in the fun by parking my bike on the double yellows outside the bike shop (hey, I’ve got a kick stand now, which means I can just park it anywhere, as long as I don’t mind doing the 50 yard dash back towards it when it inevitably falls over as soon as I’ve gone out of sight), I was amused by all the filthy looks I got from drivers who were trying to park illegally on that street and had found that one of THEIR illegal parking spaces was being taken up by a bicycle. You could almost see them looking around for a traffic warden, except that all the traffic wardens have gone (replaced by the police allegedly), to universal rejoicing earlier this year. Oh how they regret that now…

Still, I got some inkling how they felt when I rounded the corner to meet a fellow bike conspirator at one of our favourite coffee and cake emporia to find that MY bike parking (leaning it up against the window where I could keep an eye on it) had been blocked by tables and chairs and people sitting around in the sunshine as though we were in France or something. The horrors. Fortunately we were able to score a table in the sun (and view of our bikes) ourselves – and were mollified by the proprietress coming out and inquiring about ‘one of those big planter bike parking things‘.

Clearly all my energetic tweeting about cake is beginning to pay off as the local coffee shops, if nothing else, start to realise that their real profit lies in the hollow legs and bottomless appetites of the local cycling community, and Bigtown’s parking strategy is about to get a lot more complicated … It’s not exactly a cycling strategy, but it’s a start.

9 Responses to Free Parking

  1. Mike says:

    Direct the coffenista towards @parkthatbike free bike racks.

  2. disgruntled says:

    Have already looked into that one – but it’s an English scheme (and the council have to be involved)

  3. Ah. I’m assuming Bigtown has a distinct lack of Sheffield stands and their ilk for parking your bike? I once remonstrated with a driver for parking on a double yellow line (and also blocking a cycle path). Her response – “But I have a child!” Hmmm…I don’t remember reading the bit in the Highway Code that exempts people with children from the rules.

  4. Andy in Germany says:

    “join in the fun by parking… on the double yellows outside the bike shop ”

    Bakfietsen are very effective for blocking ‘parking’ spots like this because they are big and heavy, and have an internal lock. they are also good when a car is, say, parked across the cycle parking at the local children’s club, and you can extract a mild revenge by parking right next to the drivers door instead…

    …or so I’m told. Ahem.

  5. disgruntled says:

    @Cyclingwithheels – the (bike) parking is terrible in Bigtown. We have been trying to get Plantlocks put in around the town centre, so hopefully this is a start
    @Andy – couldn’t possibly comment

  6. ballsofwool says:

    You always had hollow legs even before you took up cycling…hate to think what they’re like now. I have just finished reading the link below, and, though I confess there is no CAKE, check it out for hollow legs:
    “What a triathlete eats in a day”.

  7. disgruntled says:

    I cycle to maintain the hollowness of my legs these days

  8. […] street, happily checking out the nice independent small shops. Parking in Bigtown has always been a bit of a freestyle affair but ever since people have taken on board the fact that there really are no parking wardens in the […]

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