We all know what our ideal parking scheme for Uplands and Brynmill would achieve, but the eternal problem is that any measures which push an unwanted group away (like the university’s commuters) would have unintended consequences for a group we want to help (like those working in the two primary schools and small local businesses). While we continue to discuss possible solutions with council officers, local traders and of course residents, our impatience with this situation grows … because we all know that there is a big player here who is not taking responsibility for the problems they create.
We’ve discussed this at length with the Leader of the council, who has agreed to take the matter up with the university on our behalf. Here is the email we’ve sent him:
You will be aware of the various parking pressures in Uplands, and the impact of the nearby university on this situation.
We do not need to re-state how much of a public service burden is created by concentrations of students in Uplands, who collectively produce vast amounts of household refuse, create significant night-time distrubances and for whom the council receives no council tax. There are of course wonderful students who participate actively in supporting the community, but the service burden created by the sheer number of them is is resented by longer-term residents, whose endless parking pressures add insult to injury.
As you know, Rob: it is not only residents who suffer, being unable to move their car during the day for fear of returning to find no space at all. Potential visitors cannot park; workers at nearby care homes and businesses cannot park; traders and their potential customers cannot park. A group we are particularly concerned about is teachers and support staff at the two local primary schools. There is a sense of desparation as they circle the neighbourhood every morning.
We have three specific requests which we would be very grateful for you taking up with representatives of Swansea University.
Firstly, we understand that university employees purchase permits for on-site parking which is insufficient. Therefore, staff members who have paid for on-site parking choose to clog up our residential streets nearby rather than take up the argument with their employer. We implore them to take responsibility for their staff parking/travel issues. They should have an understanding of how many workers are needed in which sites at which times and how they can get there without making our neighbourhood a clogged car park.
Secondly, it appears that on-site parking provision for day visitors to the university is also insufficient, as is their signposting to park-and-ride facilities. Again this drives university users into our residential and shopping area. We are sure they could use shuttle services to get visitors between their sites and transport hubs or park-and-rides.
Thirdly, we know that in spite of Jayne Cornelius’s excellent work promoting sustainable travel and discouraging car use, students still bring cars to Uplands, often not using them for weeks at a time (thanks to the great cycling and Unibus services). A distant, long-stay car park, for students who don’t need their cars often, is something which surely the university could look to provide.
It is unfair that the university’s lack of strategic travel planning for its own workforce and users creates such problems for Uplands residents, visitors, traders and shoppers. We would be grateful for your help in highlighting these three university user groups to decision makers, along with the suggestions. Hopefully they will agree that some strategic thinking and resource allocation is long overdue. We have confidence that an institution with such collective intelligence could work out how to thoroughly survey the nearby streets to assess the impact which the university is having on the neighbourhood, and seek to be a more responsible and considerate local working partner.
Mary & Nick