Cossins Road parking fiasco

August 24 2018
Cossins Road parking fiasco

Leafy Cossins Road in Redland is experiencing such an increase in commuter parking that residents have started a campaign to raise awareness of the problem and seek a solution.

The extension of the Redland Residents Parking Zone (RPZ) to nearby St Oswalds Road last August has shifted the commuter parking to the next road outside the zone - Cossins Road. A residents' survey revealed that there has been around a 200 per cent increase in parking on a weekday in the road in comparison to parking in 2014, before the introduction of any RPZs. Whereas there were up to 27 cars parking in the daytime, there are now about 54 cars parking on Cossins Road daily.

Cossins Road is the access point to Redland Green park from the Westbury Park side. It’s a curved road which narrows and is regularly used by those who live in Westbury Park, children and parents walking to Westbury Park School and Redland Green School, two churches, a nursery, a pre-school and local shops.

Resident Greg Cooper says: “It’s completely changed the character of the road. We were a quiet little backwater that gave access to the park and the local facilities and now we’ve become a free commuter car park. We are now the nearest road outside of the RPZ to Whiteladies Road.

‘When the parking on the Downs became restricted a lot of cars flooded into Westbury Park and we did see an effect from that but it was the extension of the Redland RPZ that’s caused the big problems now and has stopped the community from carrying out their day to day business.”

Residents have made a video that explains what has happened to their little road since August last year when the scheme was extended. A campaign will be launched when the children go back to school asking people to look at their video on YouTube or search for ‘Cossins Road 2018’. There will be posters alerting people to that fact that it’s dangerous to park on the curved end of the road and that parking on the main stretch causes problems for local residents. 

Local people have the support of Redland councillors Martin Fodor and Fi Hance, have presented a statement at a full council meeting and asked questions which were responded to by Councillor Mhairi Threlfall, cabinet councillor for transport and RPZ lead. They are also in touch with local MP, Thangam Debonnaire. The group are keen to emphasise that this isn’t just an issue about ‘lack of parking’ - it’s about how the increase in commuter parking is changing the character of the road and stopping the community from functioning.

Jane Jones has lived in the area for more than 20 years and has witnessed how quickly the impact has been felt: “Since last year the road is choked by commuters before the local community are even accessing the area. Within that there are safety issues and a huge amount of belligerence and confrontation going on,” she says. 

“Residents have driveways but they are often partially blocked by people parking in front. There is an issue of respect about litter as we’ve seen people empty all their rubbish out of their cars. There are those who arrive at 7am to bag their place, then wait for half an hour because they are too early to leave for work, keeping their engines running and playing their music in their car - which we can all hear!

“You can feel the sense of antagonism when cars have a standoff. The police had to be called about two months ago because the people were coming in both directions and nobody would give way. 

“There are access problems for delivery and bin collections as well as for tradesmen when people are having work done on their houses. I’ve seen the dustbin lorry have to reverse all the way up the road because it can’t get through. That caused a half-hour delay!”

Greg says: “The road is like a schoolchildren superhighway.

“Originally it was meant to be a cycle route to school but it’s just too dangerous. When there was a recent cycle training day at Westbury Park School, all the children were wheeling their bikes up on the pavement because they couldn’t get on the road.

“Cars are double parked on both sides and parked on the pavement. Sometimes a mum with a double buggy has to go out into the road to pass the cars because she can’t fit the buggy on the pavement space. It’s very dangerous for children to cross the road between the cars and the double parking on the bend means that cars are frequently meeting in the middle. 

“The access to Redland Green park in the daytime is blocked because people simply can’t park. The road has always served as a drop off point for children to go to school but its not possible to do that any more. There’s a nursery, a playgroup and two churches in the immediate area and again, no access for them to do any drop-offs.”

A notice was placed on the road asking commuters to reconsider parking in the road and describing the problems that it causes.

The council says all its resources are taken up with existing reviews of RPZ areas and thus there is no money for adding yellow lines to the road. However, residents were impressed with how open Cllr Threlfull’s team were to looking at creative solutions to the problem. One possible solution is to put planters in the road, paid for by residents, but covered by the council’s public liability claims. This solution has already been used in Hillsdon Road in Westbury-on-Trym to calm commuter traffic. 

There is also potential for experimental traffic management such as a zig zag line down the line, or a chicane and the group been put in touch with Sustrans to develop these ideas. 

Greg added: “There is a broader problem here in that there were about 500 cars that used to park on the Downs and now can’t and they’ve flooded into our area of Redland and Westbury Park. That’s an issue here.”