Is There Enough Parking Capacity Outside The City Walls?

The 20th of January was a bright sunny winters day so I decided to go into Chichester city to look at and photograph available spare car park capacity outside the city walls. This may help answer the question: Is there enough parking capacity outside the city walls to cater for redirected parking on Car Free Sundays?

The Multi-Storey Car Park is Virtually Empty on January Sundays!

I arrived at around 10:35 Am. When I arrived, there were few cars using the multistorey and a number of children were using the quiet top two decks to ride bicycles and scooters. I wanted to get their permission for a photo but the sight of a strange lone adult riding around the car-park on a bike caused them to look at me suspiciously and they quickly left .

Virtually Empty Top Deck of Multistorey
Virtually Empty Top Mid Deck of Multistorey
Virtually Empty Mid Deck Multistorey
Lower Deck of Multistorey was approximately Three Quarters Empty
It really was Notably Empty on the Top Deck
It was Notably Empty on the Top Deck
The Lower Mid Deck Was Very Quiet
The Lower Mid Deck Was Very Quiet
So few cars on the mid deck
So few cars on the mid deck

North St Car Park has Significant Spare Capacity

Plenty of Spare Capacity in North St Car Park

Market St Car Park was Heavily Used but still had Spare Spaces

Perhaps the successfully Sunday Car-boot sale and Market could be moved into the city on Car Free Sundays. This would free up space inside the market street car park. Vendors could purchase a ticket and arrive and depart at managed times to prevent pedestrian conflict with traffic.

Market St was busy but still had spaces
Market St. was busy but still had spaces

Comparison of Car Park Areas

The image below shows aerial images (taken from Bing Maps) of three car parks in Chichester, arranged together so that their areas can be easily compared. All three combined images are to the same scale. However the date on which the images were taken is not known.

Comparing Baffins Lane, Little London & Multistorey car-park size
On  days similar to this Sunday the 20th of January, the spare capacity on the top deck of the Multistorey carpark could by itself easily absorb cars redirected from both the Little London and Baffin’s Lane car parks. That would be the case even if both  Little London and Baffin’s Lane car parks were used to their full capacities, which they were not on the 20th January.

Conclusion

There may be variation in parking demand throughout the year. However in January there appears to ample parking capacity outside the city walls to cater for car-parks within the city walls to be closed on car free days. There is certainly enough spare capacity to absorb cars from Little London and Baffin’s Lane car parks. This could allow the ends of both East St and North St to be freed from traffic all the way up to the Hornet  Gyratory and Midhurst Roundabout.

Everyone can Enjoy a Monthly Car Free Sunday in Chichester!

On Wednesday 5th Dec 2018 at the city council meeting in North Street I raised a question. I asked if it would be possible to hold a day free from motor vehicles, within our city’s walls, on the first Sunday of each month. The idea appeared remarkably well received by the council. However even our councillors seem unsure how the idea could be progressed.

Climate change represents an immediate threat to humanity and we should all bear a responsibility to do all we can to move towards a more sustainable way of life. Organising a car free day in the centre of Chichester sounds like a challenging endeavour but represents only a single minute step towards avoiding climate catastrophe.

I believe there are great potential social benefits that we can realise if we free our streets of traffic. We could enjoy our streets as:

  • Family friendly spaces inclusive to those of all ages
  • Places that feel welcoming to disabled residents.
  • Arenas for street theatre
  • Stages for musical performance
  • Convenient places to sit outside patisseries and coffee shops
  • Bustling market areas
  • Clean air spaces

However, could even this modest aspiration for a car free day be realised in our culture so intensely dependent on fossil fuel and motor vehicle use? To be honest I don’t know! So I’m going to recruit all the help I can from our local community! I am hoping to make this website interactive so our community can use it to share ideas. I also intend to campaign on our cities streets to encourage support for this idea.

So watch this space for upcoming ideas and opportunities to get involved. Together we can make something big happen in our city and we may enjoy a lot of fun as we achieve it.