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On-street parking capacity to be slashed as Lambeth sets out kerbside strategy

Deniz Huseyin
25 January 2023


Lambeth Council has pledged to significantly cut on-street parking as it seeks to meet its net zero target by 2030. Taking out parking space would encourage active travel, create people-friendly places and increase climate resilience, says the new Lambeth Kerbside Strategy.

Currently, 94% of kerb space in the borough is allocated to parked vehicles, the council estimates. Under the £31.7m strategy, 25% of kerb space would transfer to “sustainable uses” such as bus lanes, street trees, sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), parklets and cycle parking. But some of this space would also be set aside for car clubs and disabled bays.

Cutting parking spaces will result in “fairer and more equal access, community interaction, economic resilience, health and wellbeing ”.

The council has set itself the target of cutting motor traffic by 27% in order to achieve net zero by 2030.

The Lambeth Kerbside Strategy comprises four priorities:

Enable accessible and active travel – this would involve making pavements clear and accessible, particularly for people with mobility or sensory impairments. This includes minimum commitments for cycle parking and shared bikes, and “high-quality walking networks”. All households would be within 50m of free cycle parking, the strategy states.

Create Places for People – the council points out that many households do not have outdoor space or a car and can’t make use of the kerbside either. “That will change with this strategy. Local people will be able to apply to use the kerbside for things like small community gardens. Businesses will be able to apply to use the kerbside for outdoor seating. We will build on the successes of pilot schemes over the last few years.”

Increase climate resilience – the strategy pledges that all streets will have shade from trees and green spaces or other biodiversity that together help protect us from these risks. There will be street trees every 25m on every street in Lambeth, the council said.

Reduce emissions and traffic – the council predicts its targets for sustainable transport and traffic reduction will result in far fewer motor vehicles on the borough’s streets. “But for those that remain we need to support the shift towards electric vehicles and shared cars as much as possible. We need to provide the infrastructure and incentives to support this shift at a suitable scale and pace.”

The council’s breakdown of the kerbside reveals that 46% of kerbside was for parking, 24% had yellow lines, 15% single yellow lines while 9% was taken up by driveways. This left just 6% for other uses.

More space will be given over to new bus lanes, states the strategy. “We want to encourage more people to travel by bus, which means they need to be an efficient and reliable form of transport. This means that we need to give buses priority over other traffic, so they have a smooth journey. On bus routes we will ensure that the kerbside facilitates bus journeys by designating more space for bus lanes that allow buses to travel uninterrupted by general traffic.”

The borough has 332 cycle hangars, each holding six bikes, but more are urgently needed as there is a waiting list of more than 5,000 people, the council pointed out.

Space will be allocated on the kerbside for dockless scooters and bikes to stop them being left on pavements, said the council. Cargo bikes will also need kerbside space, with shared cargo bikes available on the kerbside within every neighbourhood across Lambeth, and no more than five minutes' walk of all households. Under the plans, all local high streets would have access to a shared electric van.

Roll-out of CPZs 

Kerbsides should be transformed to “create lively, vibrant local high streets” to support local businesses, while residents will be given the opportunity to apply for parklets, said the council. 

Regulation of the kerbside would encourage a shift towards sustainable, cleaner ways to travel, states the council. 

It is planning to introduce more controlled parking zones (CPZs) across the borough. Currently there are large areas of the borough where there is very little regulation of kerbside uses, said the council. “These are areas without Controlled Parking Zones. Where there are limited kerbside controls, motor vehicles dominate by default. Without such controls it will be difficult to balance the different demands for space, or to influence improvements to the vehicle fleet, through variable charges for example.” 

Removing kerbside parking will benefit protected groups, including disabled people, because “they are less likely to drive or be driven than the general population”, the council believes. But it added: “For those people that do continue to rely on cars, access will be maintained, and for disabled people parking will continue to be prioritised through provision of dedicated bays.”

Funding for most of the changes to kerb space will come from capital budgets already allocated for transport and related infrastructure, primarily the £31.7m agreed by Cabinet in July 2020 for Sustainable Transport and Public Realm interventions.

In October 2022 the cabinet approved that £15.5m from this budget would be allocated to fund phase 2 and 3 of the transport strategy programme, which funds projects such as the Lambeth Healthy Routes, School Streets and Low Traffic Neighbourhood programmes as well as provision of cycle parking hangars and electric vehicle infrastructure. 

According to the council, the Kerbside Strategy was shaped by extensive public engagement, including Lambeth’s first citizens’ assembly on climate change in 2021. Feedback from the assembly also informed the Lambeth Climate Action Plan (CAP). 

The CAP identifies the “essential need” to adapt to the changing climate, including through the provision of green street infrastructure such as trees, planting and SuDS.

“While the CAP target of a 25% allocation of kerbside space to sustainable uses is important, it is vital to also consider the remaining 75% of kerbside to ensure this too works towards the same end goal,” said the council. “That means protecting essential access for those who will continue to rely on motor vehicles, but at the same time using available powers and controls to promote and incentivise a shift towards cleaner vehicles and more efficient uses, such as car sharing.”

To complement off-street charging facilities, a significant increase in on-street electric vehicle charge points will be needed as the growth in EV ownership “becomes exponential over the coming years”, states the strategy.

Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, cabinet member for Sustainable Lambeth and Clean Air, said: “This is a landmark strategy and one of the first of its kind in both ambition and scope, which will ensure the shared kerbside is used for everyone’s benefit and not just for those wanting to park their cars.

“It commits the council to reclaiming public space to be enjoyed by everyone in Lambeth, while also addressing the very real challenge of the climate crisis.

“Kerbside space is at a premium with large swathes taken up by parked vehicles, while our pavements can be cluttered and difficult to navigate for everyone else. We need this to change so people have more equal access to this important shared space.”

Lambeth Kerbside Strategy

Lambeth Council is hosting the inaugural School Streets conference in partnership with Landor LINKS. The event will take place at Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton, on 21 February.

The strategy includes the following pledges:

Free cycle parking every 50 metres on every street 

Secure cycle parking every 100 metres on every street 

Cycle parking spaces should always cheaper than all residential parking permits

Borough-wide network of bike hire locations, no more than 5 minutes’ walk from every household in the borough

Places to stop and rest will be available on every street in Lambeth and dropped kerbs at all junctions.

A new design standard for driveway “crossovers” so they have much less impact on pavements

Continue to prioritise dedicated Disabled parking bays

Permeable surfaces including depaving, greening, wildflowers and sustainable drainage make up 10% of Lambeth kerbside

Kerbside used to maintain 2m footway around existing mature trees.

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