Parking Survey Analysis: The Inch and Moredun/Craigour

The parking situation in the Inch is becoming untenable. Due to the Royal Infirmary and the new Sick Kids Hospital more and more hospital workers are parking in the Inch to avoid paying hospital parking charges. 

The below document is the results of a parking survey undertaken at the behest of The City of Edinburgh Council:

Introduction

 This report will explain:

  1. The aim of parking surveys
  2. The standard survey methodology
  3. The Inch and Moredun/Craigour Parking surveys:
    1. Aims and methodology
    2. The extent of the surveys
    3. The analysis of the data gathered
    4. The results
    5. The conclusion of the analysis
    6. Recommendations
    7. Appendix 1: The Inch - Utilisation by Street
    8. Appendix 2: Moredun/Craigour – Utilisation by Street

1        The aims of parking surveys

Parking surveys are carried out primarily as a means of identifying parking issues and quantifying their impact. The analysis of the collected data can provide information about parking habits that can help to determine whether there are parking pressures, to what extent those pressures impact on the availability of parking and highlight specific areas of concern or times when parking pressures are most acute.

Parking pressures vary from area to area, but typically the main generators of parking pressure are:

  • Commuters
  • Visitors
  • Holiday parking (where holidaymakers park their vehicle whilst on holiday)
  • Business parking (such as car or van hire, used car sales etc)
  • Residents of neighbouring areas (because of pressures in their area)
  • Residents of the surveyed area

In order to understand the source of parking pressures, parking surveys are typically registration based, where surveyors record the vehicle registration number of parked vehicles at pre-determined, regular intervals throughout the survey period.

Surveys are usually commissioned based on the reported impact of parking pressures, which means that it is vital that the area surveyed captures the maximum information about parking habits not only in the area of concern, but also in adjacent areas as well. By carefully choosing which areas are included in the survey, the survey data can show not only where there are parking problems, but also where those problems end.

Determining the location of parking pressures can not only help to identify their source, but can also indicate whether parking pressures are localised or more widely spread. That information can be used to determine whether there is a need for action, where it should be applied and what form remedial action should take.

2        The standard survey Methodology

Parking surveys tend to use a registration-based system of data collection. This allows us to see where vehicles are parked and determine how long those vehicles are left within the survey area. It also enables the ability to track vehicles that may park on more than one occasion or in different locations through the survey period. That data can then be used to build up a picture of the parking profile of the area.

Most surveys commence or end with an early morning slot (usually around 3:00am), with further data collection taking place at hourly or two-hourly intervals throughout the day. A further survey beat is conducted at around 11:00pm. The 3:00am, 6:00am and 11:00pm survey beats provide details of a parking situation that, in a typical residential area, would be expected to be the most settled, where the majority of vehicles are either residents or their visitors and there are fewer commuters or other non-residential users.

In most situations, this approach provides sufficient detail to determine the most likely nature of each parked vehicle. In areas where there might be expected to be higher than average numbers of shift workers, parking patterns can vary, making it more difficult to both ascertain the nature of each vehicle and find a solution that fully addresses the issues. However, this approach remains useful in highlighting demand levels and highlighting periods of greatest parking pressure.

Having collected the registration details of vehicles, the analysis of the collected data then seeks to find out:

  • Which vehicles were parked throughout the survey period;
  • Which vehicles arrived and left during the survey period;
  • Which vehicles were present at the beginning and end of the survey period; and
  • How long each vehicle was observed to have stayed parked within the area.

 

The results of that analysis are then used to determine which vehicles are likely to belong to residents, commuters or visitors. By looking at arrival and departure times, as well as lengths of stay an assessment is made as to the nature of each vehicle. General information, such as the relative numbers of vehicles surveyed during each survey “beat” provide information on the levels of demand, whilst the locations of vehicles and their nature can be used to determine how parking pressure develops and spreads through the survey period.

3        The Inch and Moredun/Craigour Parking Surveys

On Thursday 28 January 2016, a parking survey was conducted within the residential streets of the Inch and Moredun/Craigour areas.

a)             Aims and Methodology:

These parking surveys were primarily conducted in response to concerns about commuter parking and aimed to determine:

i.            the extent to which commuter parking was impacting upon the residents of the Inch and Moredun; and,

ii.            what impact that parking has on the ability of residents to find parking spaces.

On that basis, it was established that the typical parking survey, in terms of the type, time periods and methodology, would provide the necessary detail on parking patterns and demand in these areas.

The commissioned survey was designed to determine the nature of each vehicle surveyed, the level of parking pressure and to identify the levels of commuter parking taking place in these areas. Furthermore, it would identify the locations of parking problems and the overall parking pressure being placed, by commuters, upon the available space.

b)            The extent of the survey

The full extent of the surveys is as shown below.

The Inch:  

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Moredun/Craigour:

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c)             The analysis of the data gathered

The Council appointed a traffic management consultant to oversee the parking survey. The survey itself was sub-contracted to a company who specialise in carrying out various types of traffic surveys and analysing the collected data.

The preparatory work and subsequent analysis included an assessment of:

  • The theoretical capacity of each street within the area;
  • Where vehicles were parked, i.e. if vehicles were parked on yellow lines etc.
  • The likely nature of each vehicle noted by the survey;
  • The duration of stay of each vehicle;

The data collection carried out by the survey company typically includes an initial assessment of the results. The survey data and initial assessment were returned to the Council for further analysis.

As part of that further analysis we conducted further validation of the provided information, as well as a full analysis of the collected data.

d)            The results

Given that the two areas are geographical separate; the results will also be presented separately.

The Inch

Some of the key findings of the survey in the Inch are as follows:

  • There are around 780 parking spaces in the Inch area;
  • The average utilisation of all available on-street space across the whole survey period was 49% (373 spaces);
  • The average utilisation of all available on-street space during the working day (between 08:00am and 6:00pm) was 50% (374 spaces);
  • The maximum utilisation of all available on-street space was 52% (389 spaces);
  • The busiest period was between 10:00am and 12:00pm;
  • During the quietest period, there were 405 (75%) spaces available;
  • During the busiest period, there were 366 (63%) spaces available;
  • The maximum number of commuter vehicles parked at any time during the survey was 142, recorded between 14:00 and 16:00

 

The graph in Figure 1 shows the pattern of parking demand, by user type, compared to the total parking available.

Figure 1

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 The survey results show that parking levels across the Inch were relatively constant throughout the survey period. While there were fluctuations in all parking types, the total level of parking was consistently just under 400 vehicles.

Overall, the survey results would suggest that there is minor impact from commuter parking, with commuters accounting for no more than 18% of capacity. This would broadly suggest that residents of the Inch should have little difficulty in finding a parking space within this area. However, on-street observations, taken in conjunction with a more detailed analysis of the data, would suggest that there are certain streets where there is a greater density of parking or particular sections of other streets where residents may find it more difficult to find a suitable parking space near to their homes.

Of the thirteen streets surveyed, the following streets show a marked increase in parking demand during the normal working day that can be attributed to commuter parking:

  • Ochiltree Gardens,
  • Lammermoor Terrace,
  • Hazelwood Grove, and
  • Walter Scott Avenue

 

Each of these streets are in relatively close proximity to Old Dalkeith Road, which would suggest that these are the most convenient parking locations for commuters travelling to the ERI or making use of the public transport services on this route. Dinmont Drive, another street which lies close to Old Dalkeith Road is, however, subject to lower levels of commuter parking, even though there is a bus stop conveniently-situated nearby on Old Dalkeith Road. On the basis that it can be assumed that most drivers will choose to park as close to their destination as possible, the low level of demand closest to the nearest bus stop would suggest that accessing public transport is not the main reason for commuters choosing to park within this area. It is reasonable to assume that commuters are, therefore, using this area as convenient parking for the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI), as the most significant local traffic generator.

Commuter parking on the four streets listed above totals 95 vehicles within a capacity of approximately 299 spaces, approximately 32% of the available space. In the area as a whole, commuter parking accounts for a maximum of 142 spaces, or 18% of the available space. It is, therefore, apparent that commuter parking pressures are significantly higher in these four streets than in other parts of the Inch estate.

Both Hazelwood Grove and Lammermoor Terrace show indications that parking demand in these streets can reach levels where they are near to capacity. While Ochiltree Gardens appears less busy, observations suggest that the main part of this street is busy, while some of the parking areas in the off-shoots to this street are less well-used. While Walter Scott Avenue reaches no more than 50% of capacity during the course of the working day, observations do suggest that much of the commuter parking occurs at the eastern end of this street, which would have the effect of concentrating the impact of this parking demand.

A similar situation is apparent in both Ravenswood Avenue and, to a lesser extent, Dinmont Drive. Whilst these streets show a relatively constant level of demand, observations suggest that commuter parking occurs primarily at the eastern end of these streets, which could have the effect of making it more difficult to find a parking space.

Collectively, this data is suggestive of a concentrated commuter problem affecting the eastern end of the Inch estate.

Detailed charts showing the individual situations for each street within the estate can be found in Appendix 1.

Moredun/Craigour

Note: During the parking survey, the enumerators were approached by individuals claiming to be residents of the high rises in Craigour Place and Craigour Green. Because of the aggressive nature of these individuals the survey company took the decision not to complete surveys in these streets. Since both streets are predominantly yellow-lined it is considered that their exclusion has had little impact on the overall results of the survey.

Some of the key findings of the survey in Moredun/Craigour are as follows:

  • There are around 553 parking spaces in the Moredun/Craigour area;
  • The average utilisation of all available on-street space across the whole survey period was 25% (138 spaces);
  • The average utilisation of all available on-street space during the working day (between 08:00am and 6:00pm) was 23% (126 spaces);
  • The maximum utilisation of all available on-street space was 29% (158 spaces);
  • The busiest period was between 06:00am and 08:00am;
  • During the quietest period, there were 436 (79%) spaces available;
  • During the busiest period, there were 395 (71%) spaces available;
  • The maximum number of commuter vehicles parked at any time during the survey was 83, recorded between 14:00 and 16:00

 

The graph in Figure 2 shows the pattern of parking demand, by user type, compared to the total parking available.

Figure 2

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As can be seen from these results, parking levels throughout the Moredun/Craigour area are relatively low, considering the overall size of the area that was surveyed. There is a noticeable reduction in parking pressure throughout the working day, a situation that would not be indicative of a situation where commuter parking was creating parking pressures.

Like the results from the parking survey in the Inch, these results suggest that there is little impact from commuters, with commuter parking accounting for no more than 15% of capacity. This broadly suggests that residents of the Inch should have little difficulty in finding a parking space within this area.

Drilling further into the detail of the results does not, however, suggest that there are certain streets where there is a greater density of parking. None of the streets surveyed show any significant increase in parking demand, with the busiest streets (Craigour Drive and Upper Craigour) showing maximum commuter levels of 18 vehicles and 32 vehicles respectively.

There is, however, no evidence in either of these streets that non-residential parking is at sufficient levels where it might impact on the availability of on-street parking space. The survey results show that even in these two streets, the total parking demand is relatively constant throughout the survey period, with less than 50% of the available parking space being occupied at any time.

Given the numbers of commuters relative to the overall capacity of each street, as well as the apparent spread of that commuter demand throughout the area, there is little reason to believe that commuter parking in the Moredun/Craigour area makes it difficult for residents to find a suitable parking space near to their homes.

Detailed charts showing the individual situations for each street within the estate can be found in Appendix 2.

4          The Conclusion of the Analysis

Moredun/Craigour

In the case of Moredun/Craigour, there is little evidence to suggest that there is a significant commuter parking problem or that there are widespread parking pressures that would lead the Council to seek a parking solution.

It is acknowledged that the relocation of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children has the significant potential to place further pressure on parking in this area. Present parking levels do not appear to materially impact on the availability of parking space, nor does parking appear to take place in locations where it would inhibit access or cause road safety concerns. Further parking pressure could, however, change this situation to the overall detriment of this area.

While it would be entirely possible to pursue parking controls at this stage, there would be the potential for localised measures based on the existing situation to further exacerbate the situation by moving existing commuter parking into less suitable locations, or into neighbouring streets. Under existing conditions, and bearing in mind the overall opposition from the Moredun estate to previous proposals for parking controls, it appears unlikely that there would be sufficient support for a wider scheme that sought to pre-empt possible future pressures.

It is, therefore, suggested that we continue to monitor the situation, undertaking a series of regular site visits designed to gauge the level of parking in key streets within the estate on different days of the week and at different times. This approach would highlight fluctuations in parking patterns or demand, allowing a further opportunity to determine the need, or otherwise, to proceed to a consultation with residents on parking controls.

This monitoring should continue through the relocation of the RHSC, gauging the impact that the services provided by that facility have on the surrounding area before, during and after the relocation. The monitoring should also include a wider area, in order to ensure that any changes parking levels in surrounding streets are quickly identified.

It is also recommended that the Council give a further commitment to swiftly bring forward a proposal to address any rise in parking pressure. Further discussion and consideration will be required to determine what form that proposal might take, but it is likely that a combination of parking places and yellow lines may be the best solution to address both concerns about lack of space and inappropriate or unsafe parking.

The Inch

While the initial data analysis would suggest that there is no shortage of on-street parking space in the Inch, further analysis does suggest that some streets are subject to higher parking pressures. There are several streets where the extent of commuter parking appears to impact upon the ability of residents to find parking spaces near to their homes.

The Council has introduced several Priority Parking Areas (PPAs) in similar situations as a means of managing kerbside space to the advantage of residents. PPAs help residents by creating parking places that can only be used by residential permit holders. Not all the space is controlled, which means that commuters can still park on-street, but their access to space is limited so that residents get priority over the spaces that are closest to their homes. The restrictions also operate only for short periods, allowing PPAs to be a relatively low-cost option for the Council in terms of ongoing enforcement costs. Resident permits are also significantly lower in price than in areas of full control (such as CPZ).

When the Council previously offered residents of both the Inch and Moredun the opportunity of having controlled parking, there was significant opposition, with the result that the majority of the proposal was abandoned. Only Kingston Avenue supported controls, leading to the introduction of a scheme for that street alone. Controls have been operating in Kingston Avenue for over ten years.

While there may now be some evidence of support for controls, it is entirely possible that there will still be opposition to the suggestion of residents being asked to pay to park. While PPA allows residents a choice of whether to take advantage of permits, or to continue to park for free outwith the controlled parking places, it would be difficult to proceed with a scheme that did not have the widespread support of residents.

Nevertheless, based on the survey results and on-site observations, it is recommended that a consultation exercise be conducted within part of the Inch estate, to gauge the level of support for the introduction of PPA. The area to be consulted should stretch beyond the apparent extents of the current parking pressures, on the basis that this should help us to understand the likely extents of any support, as well as providing an opportunity to pre-empt the impact of any additional parking pressures. 

5          Recommendations

Moredun/Craigour

1.  Conduct an ongoing monitoring exercise to assess:

Existing situation

Transitional situation as RHSC relocates

Situation post RHSC relocation.

2. Monitoring to consist of a series of site visits to determine:

Parking levels at different times of day

Parking levels on different days of the week

Locations of parked vehicles

3. Re-assess need for further action based on data collected and any identified increase in parking pressure post RHSC relocation

4. It is recommended that monitoring take place in Upper Craigour, Craigour Avenue, Craigour Drive and Fernieside Drive, but that other neighbouring streets be added if it can be shown that parking pressures have increased beyond either the available capacity

The Inch

1          Conduct an informal consultation on the perceived need for parking controls to aid residents. It is suggested that the consultation should cover the area shown below.

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  1. Appendix 1: Utilisation by street

Moredun/Craigour

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Neither Blackburn Crag or Craigour Avenue show indications that commuter parking has any significant impact on parking availability.

The survey results show that no commuters parked in Gogarloch Bank during the survey.

While there are commuters present in Craigour Avenue, the total parking usage averages a little over 25% of capacity.

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Both Craigour Crescent and Craigour Drive show evidence of commuter parking. In Craigour Crescent in particular, however, the survey results show that demand actually falls through the working day, which suggests that the greatest demand on the available space in this street is from residents. Total space usage does not exceed 50% of capacity.

In Craigour Drive, commuter levels are slightly higher, accounting for around 25% of capacity. However, there is no evidence to suggest that the presence of commuters has a significant impact on parking availability, with total usage at less than 50% of capacity. As one of the streets closest to Old Dalkeith Road, it would be anticipated that Craigour Drive might have significant commuter usage. The survey results show that commuter levels are at a higher level, but the usage levels also indicate that demand has not reached levels where it materially reduces accessibility for residents.

In both streets there tends to be more overall demand from residents than commuters.

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Neither of these streets show any evidence of any significant impact as a result of commuter parking. With commuter levels between these two streets reaching a maximum of 6 vehicles, commuters account for approximately 16% of the total capacity.

Neither street is at, or near to, capacity at any time during the surveyed period. 

Given its location, as well as the commuter usage levels on the adjoining Craigour Drive, it would be unlikely for Craigour Gardens to show high commuter usage. The low level usage in this street is further indication that commuter parking levels are not at levels that impact materially upon residents.

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In Craigour Loan, all of the vehicles surveyed were considered to belong to residents. This street is located further from the ERI, however, with other , unrestricted streets located more conveniently for commuters. 

In Craigour Terrace, there is some evidence of use by commuters, although at levels that will have minimal impact on accessibility for residents. Again, other streets without controls are located more conveniently, reducing the impact that current commuter levels have on this street.

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While it might be anticipated, given parking levels of Old Dalkeith Road and the easy and direct accessibility from Fernieside Drive onto Old Dalkeith Road, the survey results show very few commuters using this street.

In contrast, commuter parking at its highest level within the Moredun/Craigour estate are found in Upper Craigour, with commuters accounting for around 20% of capacity. With yellow line restrictions in operation over much of the northern end of Upper Craigour, it is likely that most commuter parking takes place in the uncontrolled, southern section of the street. The survey data shows some vehicles parked on yellow lines, but many of these vehicles are classified as visitors.

The Inch

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Lying towards the western end of the survey area, Balderston Gardens shows little impact from commuters. Overall parking levels in this street are relatively low and there is no evidence to suggest that there are parking difficulties in this street.

Bellenden Gardens adjoins Ravenswood Avenue, one of the busiest streets in this area, but shows little impact from commuters. Most of the demand in this street comes from residents themselves, with parking demand dropping through the working day. This is a typical residential parking profile, but the space vacated by residents is not fully occupied by commuters.

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Dinmont Drive is one of the longer streets, running almost the full width of the Inch estate. At its east end it lies directly adjacent to Old Dalkeith Road, which would be expected to make attractive for commuters. The survey results show moderate commuter levels, with less than 12% of the total capacity occupied by commuter vehicles. The commuter parking is, however, concentrated at the eastern end of this street.

As a small, narrow lane with only two laybys where it is possible to park, it is unsurprising that Dundrennan Cottages shows little impact from commuter parking.

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Given the location and layout of Ellangowan Terrace, it is apparent that, with current parking levels, there are more convenient locations for commuter parking. The survey results show that the significant majority of parking in this street is residential.

The parking pattern in Hazelwood Grove is indicative of a street that is subject to high levels of commuter parking, with a sharp increase in parking levels at the beginning of the working day. Although not at levels above the theoretical capacity, it is likely that there would be fewer spaces than indicated available to use, as a result of how vehicles are actually parked on-street. Commuter numbers rise to more than double the number of residents’ vehicles and the total parking levels are sufficient to conclude that residents would experience some difficulty in finding a parking space near to their homes during the busiest periods.

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Lammermoor Terrace and Ochiltree Gardens are both subject to parking patterns that are indicative high levels of commuter parking, with a sharp increase in parking levels at the beginning of the working day. Like Hazelwood Grove, neither streets are parked to capacity, but it is likely that there would be fewer spaces than indicated available to use, as a result of how vehicles are actually parked on-street.

Parking levels in Lammermoor are close to capacity. It may be the case that commuters in Ochiltree are less likely to take up spaces adjacent to the landscaped areas, thereby indicating lower levels of usage than appear to be the case on-street. Nonetheless, the results show that both of these streets are significantly impacted by commuter parking.

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Similar to Dinmont Drive, parking on Ravenswood Avenue is concentrated towards the eastern end. While the survey results do not immediately suggest that parking on this street is a problem, that concentration will have an impact on the availability of parking. With other neighbouring streets also subject to high usage levels, it is apparent that residents will have difficulty parking near to home at certain times of day.

There is no evidence of significant commuter parking in Redgauntlet Terrace. The parking profile in this street indicates a typical residential street with little non-residential parking.

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Neither Ruthwen Place or Saddletree Loan show any significant impact from commuters, or any evidence that non-residential parking is having a material impact on the ability of residents to park.

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Unlike the majority of streets in the Inch, Walter Scott Avenue is not solely residential is nature. With a number of retail and fast-food outlets, it is to be expected that the presence of such premises will result in additional parking, and that this parking may consist of both short and long-stay usage. This accounts for the higher levels of visitor parking shown in the results for this street.

The observed parking in Walter Scott Avenue would suggest that much of the commuter parking also takes place at its eastern end, but that commuter parking also takes place in the vicinity of the local shopping area.

Nonetheless, the levels of commuter parking do not, however, indicate that this street is subject to parking pressures caused by their presence.

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