Friday, 17 April 2009

Who stole the stairs?

It's a long standing joke that if you turn up to a University meeting and there's more people there than you expect, someone will ask who's put car parking on the agenda. It's an emotive subject, and one that's difficult to win on. Yesterday I had a very pleasant meeting with our campus wardens - they have the thankless task of patrolling the campus making sure everyone is parked correctly, and displaying the right permits, as well as making sure the campus is a tidy and welcoming place for visitors. The meeting was slightly late starting as some of them shared the news that during the night the metal stairs at the back of one of our buildings had been stolen - literally sawn off and taken.

The difficulties of their work is borne out by the comments in the recent staff survey I referred to in my last post - many commenters complaining that we didn't have enough visitor car parking spaces. An almost equal number complaining that we had too many visitor car parking spaces. Lots of "we haven't enough car parking spaces" , and some "we've got too many spaces for cars, we need more for bikes" - although not as many.

We're looking at different ways of managing car parking - at the moment we have a complex system of permits in three categories, and one change we might make is more "pay on the day"spaces. Or maybe we should have all pay and display? Or just let everyone who wants one buy a permit and then hunt for a space? It doesn't matter what we do, it will generate a lot of heated debate, and probably please nobody!


Anonymous said...

A big problem as I see it is that alternatives to cars remain far less attractive. Hence the moaning about the finite resource of parking. Loads of colleagues live in areas like Nether Edge, for example, and have a choice of a 40 minute two bus ride, or squashing onto a tiny hopper that runs hourly! It takes 35-40 minutes to walk and 20 (ish) to drive it. Cycling makes one sweaty and there are not many showers around... So what do people want to do as the line of least resistance?... Cut and paste the same issue before inserting for most large employers ... hey presto, a traffic jam!

Simon said...

We are currently polling for improvements to cycle facilities -

There is a list of showers at

- quite a few actually!

Lastly, enjoyed the typo - "sworn off" ?!

Chris Sexton said...

oops, corrected typo - although it was quite a good one!

Anonymous said...

When I was at the University I was always astonished at how many people don't use public transport in Sheffield.

My experience of the trams was excellent and it probably cost me less per day than the combined cost of parking and fuel into the centre of town. And I got to read a copy of Metro on the way in!

I can understand people being reluctant to cycle in Sheffield. The terrain isn't too appealing to the more casual cyclist! Of course, if you got one with an engine...

Of course, with their own qualified PCV license holder (IDJ) maybe CiCS could offer to help out!

Simon said...

The drop in public transport use since the days of the cheap fare policy is quite depressing.

On "bikes with motors", though, electric bikes have come on a lot in the past few years and are worth a look.

Anonymous said...

Simon: Do you mean like this one?!

Simon said...