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Empty spaces, angry drivers as Zone 2 parking trial kicks in

Zone 2 Parking 08-04-2018 (Photo John Bugeja) empty parking spaces

The Gibraltar Government’s Zone 2 parking scheme has drawn flak from frustrated local drivers who are unable to park in town even when there is ample space available. For now though, the pilot scheme will remain in place.

The scheme means only residents of Zone 2 – which covers the town area – can make use of most of the roadside parking in town. It is designed to ensure residents of the area are able to park easily.

But with many town residents already able to park in private parking spaces, the practical result is often empty parking and angry drivers, locals and tourists alike.

Among those drivers was GSD MP Daniel Feetham, who drives into town daily and has voiced his frustration almost daily on social media.

Yesterday on Twitter he wrote: “More parking misery. At 9am this morning there were just 6 cars parked at the Ragged Staff end of Queensway and in the car park next to Commonwealth Park. The rest were empty spaces #Zone2”

Mr Feetham has suggested tweaks to the scheme, including allowing drivers from outside Zone 2 to park in town at least for periods of the day.

For the foreseeable future though, the trial will continue as it is.

Even so, while Zone 2 only went into effect on April 3, such is the uproar already about the scheme that the minister in charge of traffic, Paul Balban, has had to take to social media to defend it.

“Zone 2 is a pilot residential parking scheme in test phase and is not set in stone,” he tweeted over the weekend.

“It follows successful Zone 1. It aims to increase the chance of finding parking where you live.”

“Scheme went fully live 3rd April (only one week ago) and is being closely monitored. Needs time to settle,” he added.

Yesterday the government confirmed that the scheme will be in place for at least three months while data is collected to enable traffic planners to properly evaluate its impact.

Only then will a final decision be taken as to whether any changes are required.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo also took to social media in support of Mr Balban and his team.

“All credit to Paul Balban for working hard to try to deal with Gibraltar parking issues,” Mr Picardo tweeted.

“For now, Zone 2 is a test, so empty parkings are a consequence he is studying.”

“It is right to try.”

Mr Balban also noted that “empty parking spaces are a direct and natural consequence of any residential parking scheme initially.”

“This is the normal trend in all schemes until permits are collected by residents. The same was true for the Alameda Scheme (Zone 1).”

“Empty spaces will soon disappear or their use reconsidered,” he added.

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