High Street – Time For Pedestrianisation?

Image: Bad parking example

It’s a daily event – either a delivery vehicle blocks the road and causes gridlock or parked cars encroach the pavement. Welcome to Ely High Street!

Why are there no traffic wardens patrolling High Street these days? Almost every car is parked diaganoally and therefore illegally, lazy able-bodied motorists arrogantly park in the disabled and motorcyclist bays and delivery vehicles routinely park either in the middle of the road blocking traffic or on the pavement causing the pedestrians to walk into the road while they do the delivery.

Image: Bad parking example

Most of the parking bays in Ely are designated as ‘loading bays’ for collecting larger purchases too heavy to carry to a longer stay car park but you can be sure that only a minority of the cars parked in these bays are actually loading.

Only last Friday (20th May) Ely Online came across some extreme cases of irresponsible parking with the worst offender being our local Police force who for some reason decided to park between the pavement and the road. The pictures on this page illustrates.

Image: Bad parking example

There are 12 main locations in Ely for parking, ranging from a short stay of 2 hours to a maximun of 23 hours, in total there are 1346 parking spaces. The furthest is less than a 10 minute walk and remember parking in Ely is currently FREE!

These are the parking locations (click street name):

  1. Ship Lane (Long Stay – 23hrs)
  2. Forehill (Long Stay – 23hrs)
  3. Barton Road (Long Stay – 23hrs)
  4. Newnham Street (Long Stay – 23hrs)
  5. Cresswells Lane (Long Stay – 14hrs)
  6. Fishermans (Long Stay – 23hrs)
  7. Forehill (Short Stay – 3hrs)
  8. Brays Lane (Short Stay – 2hrs)
  9. St Marys Street (Short Stay – 2hrs)
  10. Newnham Street (Short Stay – 3hrs)
  11. Hereward (Eves & Weekends) (Long Stay – 23hrs)
  12. The Grange (Eves & Weekends) (Long Stay – 23hrs)

High Street has been closed to traffic on Saturdays between 10am & 4pm for sometime now and is generally hailed as a success so why not implement this for the whole week? In Cambridge this works perfectly, all deliveries have to be made before the City Centre streets are closed to traffic.

If it is decided to retain parking in High Street then a greater presence is required of our traffic wardens.

So do you think Ely should be pedestrianised or are you content with the current arrangement?

Full size and additional images can be viewed at our Flickr gallery

18 replies
  1. martin
    martin says:

    It’s a nice idea but pedestrianisation can also ruin a town centre, encouraging the bland urbanism that haunts so many of the old towns and cities in the UK.

  2. Karl Bedingfield
    Karl Bedingfield says:

    You have a point. I think when the Council modernised the centre of Ely a few years ago they didn’t really have any foresight with regards to High Street. Originally parking was on the right side with proper kerbing and the adjoining pavement is never as busy as the left. Today there is no distinction between pavement and road and that is why so many cars overrun the pavement.

    I just want to see a crackdown on the illegal parking.

  3. martin
    martin says:

    ‘I just want to see a crackdown on the illegal parking.’

    I agree on that, you don’t see many wheel clampers on the Isle, perhaps we need more…

  4. John Sime
    John Sime says:

    My experience in other towns has been that pedestrianised high streets tend to kill trade and lead to a lack of general “bustle” I completely disgree with some of the other comments made regarding the Saturday car blockade being a “success”. The high street is dead on Saturdays. It’s queieter than most weekdays. However, I agree that a crackdown should be made on illegal parking – including the police! Diagonal parking is the only way to park as it’s easier to enter and leave a space. Imagine the jam if people had to reverse into the small spaces?

    A huge improvement to the level of traffic could be made by re-siting the Blockbuster Video rental shop to somewhere out of town eg: the Tesco/Bowling Area site , as people often just need to drop off a film, an action that takes 2 minutes – the parking would take a lot longer if one parked in the other car parks on offer.

  5. Karl Bedingfield
    Karl Bedingfield says:

    ‘Diagonal parking is the only way to park as it’s easier to enter and leave a space.’

    That is true BUT it was not designed for diagonal parking and there lies the problem of why most cars are either parked on the pavement superficially or their rear end overhangs into the road.

    It wasn’t so long ago that High Street had parallel parking. I never found it a problem parking in my 25 years of driving in Ely.

  6. Mary McGuire
    Mary McGuire says:

    “The high street is dead on Saturdays. It’s queieter than most weekdays.”

    Or is it just that we’re not all squished onto the pavement so it LOOKS like there are less of us?

    I get completely fed up with it during the week, tripping over buggies and small children or trying to inch between the overhanging cars and groups of people stopping for a chat.

    Not only that but while I’m having a good old rant I’d like to point out that the argument against pedestrianising the High Street; that it has to be open to cars because people stop to shop is complete cobblers. Who stops there? Who actually manages to find a space after 9 o’clock… EVER? I work from home but often pop out to meetings during the day. I often remember something I need to get on the way home; go to the cash point, buy a paper or a pint of milk, that kind of thing. I have tried, repeatedly to park in the High Street and run my errands there. I’ve managed it once in three years. All the other times I’ve had to go home, park and walk back in.

    So if I’m on the way home from a meeting and a bit pushed for time, guess where I go to use the cashpoint or buy a paper or a pint of milk now?

    Why would any sane person want to keep the High Street the way it is? It’s the worst of both worlds, inconvenient for shoppers coming in by car and inconvenient for shoppers on foot.

  7. Godfrey  George
    Godfrey George says:

    We have a similar situation here in Rochester. An historic town, pedestrianised high street only on a Saturday.

    I run a shop and I, along with many other business-people in the High Street would have few objections to total pedestrianisation provided bulky deliveries and collections could be made say, up to 10 o’clock and after 4.

    From the research I have done so far into the effects on business I am convinced that getting traffic out of town centres, generally
    will increase trade. There are many City Council websites in the U.K. and worldwide which include statistics on their schemes and from what I have gathered allowing for possible bias is that the benefits to business and customers is pretty clear.

    Here are some of the advantages;

    1. Improved safety and mobility for shoppers.
    2. Reduction of air pollution and noise.
    3. Improved general environment.
    4. Increase in trade for most businesses trade.

    Pedestrianisation has appeared to work in thousands of towns and cities around the world. I, for one will be pursuing the case for Rochester and I wish Ely

    All the best.

  8. Philip Gould
    Philip Gould says:

    If the parking in High street was correctly monitored by the Community Support staff then traffic movement would cause no problems. The police have recntly ciruclated an E-Cops message claiming that attention would be paid to the problem it seems that the message has not reached C.S.O as two stood chatting in the street whilst unloading bays were occupied by private cars and other vehicles were obstructing the footpath .The layout of the street with no raised kerb shows that the council intended to pedesrianise the street but local objections stopped them.

  9. John Sime
    John Sime says:

    Oh I give up! Ban all cars from Ely High Street at all times. Let’s give in to the car hate brigade and ban all cars as well. Stop people using cars for school runs and almost every other journey and let’s return to the 18th Century. Let’s kill the high street off completley – Argos will go, Blockbuster will go and we’ll be left with even more card shops,estate agents, banks etc. Let’s close all the car park areas as well to discourage cars even more and then visitors can parade around our “city” and marvel at the cathedral and all the , er, er, card shops and empty high street.
    Cars are hated so let’s rid the whole country of the evil smelling, oil guzzling monsters once and for all.
    Let’s start in Ely.

  10. Mary McGuire
    Mary McGuire says:

    I reckon the “shopping experience” in Ely would be a lot more pleasant if the High Street were pedestrianised.

    Maybe more people would come here, stay longer in the city and spend more money if they didn’t have to dodge cars all the way up the High Street. Imagine if you could eat outside at Starbucks and Pizza Express, hey we could even pedestrianise Market Street, no problems for little old ladies in caps in the Hereward Pub, they could eat outside….

    Seriously though… Argos do deliver.

    Do we really want Ely to become the kind of place people whizz into by car, to get a paper and a pint of milk, drop off or pick up the dry cleaning, grab a coffee on the way to work or the like? The view seems to be that we can only be that… what about trying to make our City the kind of place people want to stay and shop in for a morning or and afternoon. We have lots of attractions, lots of nice places to eat, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility is it?

    Surely the longer people stay and the more pleasant it is for them to browse the shops the more they’ll spend.

    Just a thought…

  11. Jo Godfroy
    Jo Godfroy says:

    I agree that the High Street should be pedestrianised. Most of the people who park there do so inconsiderately, and show a remarkable lack of driving skill.

    Another parking bug-bear is the total non-observance of the double yellow lines on Forehill. I have counted up to more than a dozen vehicles parked there on some occasions. Many are people delivering/collecting items from the ‘used items shop’, the dry cleaners, and works vehicles.

    However, I do understand that in this context the lines do present a problem, for I myself have had to park on double yellow lines when the need arose to take my computer into the Ely Computer Store on Broad Street/Ship Lane, as it is simply too heavy for me to carry.

    Surely there must be a sensible way to solve these dilemmas? Maybe time restrictions?

  12. Mark Du Plessis
    Mark Du Plessis says:

    As I’m new to Ely (6 months) I haven’t be around to see the changes that have gone on to the High street, but…

    I do find during the week or early Saturday mornings when I have to drop of my boxes at the post office the street is empty. If the street was closed I would not be able to get my post delivered or I would have to take multiple trips. If closed are the retail shops going to help carry items to your car 10 minutes away e.g a new TV or something large? What about the extra traffic that will now have to use “The Gallery” and “Back hill” roads. They bad enough in the morning trying to get to the station, but on the other hand I do enjoy when the road is closed and you can walk in the open avoiding the squash on the pavement.

  13. John Sime
    John Sime says:

    Mark. The joke is, hardly anyone walks in the road when the cars are banned – they still squash on to the pavement.
    However, I still think cars should be banned completely from the City. They’re a gas guzzling menace. People should send their children to school on the bus or make them walk. Anyone looking to buy a large item should jolly well go to Kings Lynn or Cambridge and forget Ely shops. We could then turn the High Street into a tourist attraction e.g.: a living museum with mock shops selling bags of sweets and shoes made from wood etc. Three problems solved in one go. Cleaner air,more tourists and no traffic problems. No really, it also means no need for the endless debate on car parking as anyone with a car will move to Newmarket – they’ll be doing all their shopping there so why not move there?

  14. Helen
    Helen says:

    I disagree, This people parked up are spending money in the shops. My town as kicked out the car and it has also most its shoppers. People say that they will walk but they won’t. They will buy from Asda or Tesco instead and the local shops will close down. How do I know, I have been watching it for 2 years

  15. Philip Gould
    Philip Gould says:

    There is no doubt that the council would like to pedestrianise the High Street and will use the sucess of the Saturday closure as the excuse to try again.
    The Saturday closure is bearable because there are few deliveries to the shops therefore fewer problems for the shopkeepers.
    A total closure would place a considerable burden on Nuthholt Lane and Broad Street and would make a nonsense of the planners claim that the proposed Aldi store in Lisle Lane would help bring people into the city centre , who would bother to navigate streets around the centre when they can get to Tesco on a more or less trouble free road
    But when has commonsense ever played any part in the decisionsof the so called ‘planners in the council

  16. Pete Earley
    Pete Earley says:

    If you want to look at the damage that can be done by pedestrianisation then look at Huntingdon. A horrible, sterile town centre.

  17. Philip Gould
    Philip Gould says:

    Everyone beware.

    The E.C. District Council want to ‘de-criminalise’ parking which means that they will control all parking and issue the penalty notices using their own appointed ‘wardens’.

    This will mean the appointment of a private company to enforce the regulations and as has happened in other towns the enforcement becomes persecution of the motorist as the wardens will hve no discretioary powers and the council try to extract the maximum cash from the scheme with wardens being set targets.

    If a company is not engaged it will then require a new council department with a director, a deputy and hosts of staff, all paid for by us.

    Do not let them do it

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