A blog about cars in Aberdeen.

This is a blog about cars in Aberdeen because most people aspire to the convenience of personal motor transport, pay dearly for the privilege, provide much employment, contribute greatly in taxes, and then people expect them to ‘leave the car at home’, while their money is spent creating cycle lanes and the like for freeloading cyclists.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Aberdeen Council Cancel Mary Portas Free Parking Plan

We got all excited about the forthcoming suspension of parking charges in Aberdeen "City and Shire". You'll all remember, just before Xmas, that Mary Portas off the telly saying that the only way to save 'the High Street' is for councils to offer free parking in town centres. The BBC covered it:

Free parking
Having affordable town centre parking is another key recommendation.
In a recent survey, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that 50% of their members said the lack of affordable town centre parking had a detrimental effect on their business.
John Walker, chairman of the FSB, said: "Putting in place free controlled parking schemes and introducing a parking league table could go some way in [addressing] this."
And yes, we agree with this, it must be put on any sensible planning horizon. The common sense policy of free parking in city centres is long overdue and much needed and would definitely go a long way to easing traffic woes. We already pay enough for the privilege of driving our nice cars into town. We are already taxed to the eyeballs with road taxes and council parking charges are just another tax on motoring from our anti-car, anti-business, anti-growth council. That Mary Portas off the telly is right to announce that parking should be free for important wealth creators like us, bringing in our extensive buying power at high speed from our hinterland dormitories to the US-style covered-mall shopping pleasuredomes of Aberdeen. Being off the telly, she is sure to be perfectly correct in all her opinions and recommendations. We should take note.

But did our council listen to this important and correct TV personality in her call for free parking for the important wealth creating drivers of Aberdeen Cars? Did they listen? Oh no, they think they know better... As everyone knows, in recent years our council has done everything they can to discourage people coming into the city by car, cloaking their anti-car, anti-growth, anti-Aberdeen measures in a green mantle of environmentalism.

And so it continues... we noticed this in council-subsidised local freesheet: The Aberdeen Citizen (BEST [sic] free newspaper in Scotland) :

But Aberdeen City Council's planning and infrastructure convenor Kate Dean said the [parking] controls were there for a reason. "If you do not want to get fined, then park in the correct place," she said. "We would also hope that people use public transport which would reduce congestion as well." She said she did not support the scrapping of parking charges...
Typical. Just typical. But we can take a crumb of comfort... nowhere in her anti-car rant does Kate Dean mention that anything should be done to support or promote active transport modes like walking or cycling. Thank goodness, for these treehugger activities have no place in the city of the future (which is unlikely to have any trees for them to hug anyway). Aberdeen's latest multi-million pound indoor shopping mall - ultramodern Union Square with its extensive outdoor and covered parking accessible by thrillingly spiral ramp - that's what the city of the future will look like.

One of the reasons for the success of Union Square is that – once you have battled your way through the traffic – at least the parking is adequate and reasonably priced. 

We suppose that we have to agree to an extent, though, with Kate Dean; we agree with her that some people should be expected always to need public transport to get them to the shops - shame. Some people in the underclass will always just be too poor to afford a really nice car to get them to Union Square with its welcoming, vibrant car parking.

So, to sum up, our council needs to take note and make things right and ease transport with lots of free or very cheap car parking space and extra road capacity for cars, so that our city centre can yes become a welcoming place again, regardless of how people choose to travel, whether by car, or public transport. Either option is open. See - we're not monsters. (As long as they don't come on foot or by bike - haha, for goodness sake! Be reasonable!)


  1. Real World Inhabitant29 June 2012 at 01:21

    [Comment 1 of 3]

    Ho ho. What a clever little car-hater we are. I'm glad you think it's more important to deliberately discourage motoring than it is to save our high streets. Let's make it deliberately and spitefully difficult to park in high streets (while cleverly pretending that we're doing no such thing), and give revenue-raising fines to anyone who dares to park on a double yellow line which shouldn't be there for a few minutes in order to (shock horror) spend their money.

    When will you loony lot realise that trying to bully people out of their cars is an utterly failed strategy which completely fails to take account of human nature? You may be a socialist control freak who dislikes the freedom that cars give people. In fact, no "may" about it. Good for you...you're entitled to your opinion. I can smell the bitter self-righteousness from here. But you really have to accept that, rightly or wrongly, most people drive as things stand, and if those spawn of the devil (clearly elderly and disabled people should be cycling instead) do not spend their money in our high streets then those streets will slowly but surely die.

    It has been shown time and time again that your deranged, draconian and mean-spirited anti-car policies on high streets (as well as elsewhere) do not achieve what you want, i.e. unpleasantly, undemocratically and patronisingly forcing the drivers concerned to instead come to the high street using a politically correct form of transport. Instead, such people will simply drive somewhere where parking is not deliberately, unnecessarily and spitefully restricted, which usually means an out-of-town retail park. It's all very well condemning such people as "selfish" etc, but that doesn't change the fact that that is what they are doing in practice (and of course it isn't "selfish" at all, especially in the case of those for whom a car is the only practical option, e.g. the aforementioned elderly and disabled). You will find that things are a lot easier if you work according to what people are actually doing, rather than what you misguidedly would like to them to do in an "ideal" (or not) world.

    So basically you (and councils) have a choice. Do you want the majority who dare to wish to drive to spend their money in the high street, or not? What is more important to you: punishing drivers for daring to get behind the wheel, or saving our high streets? Sooner or later you must face the fact that you can't have both. I suspect that when it comes down to it, you'd rather punish drivers. Car-haters are so consumed by their puritanical and borderline pathological determination to purge the roads of private motorists at all costs that they seem prepared for pretty much any side effects (they even continue to advocate speed cameras in the knowledge that they increase, rather than decrease, road deaths).

    A couple of other points to complete the demolition of your "clever" piece (which actually contains some good points, but of course you were just being "amusingly" sarcastic): this wonderful public transport of which you speak is nothing short of a joke. If you lot really want to discourage motoring then it's time that you stopped with the spiteful, punitive stick approach (which as I say completely fails to take account of human nature, and so simply doesn't work), and see about some carrots, not least massively improving public transport. Most of the time, public transport doesn't go where people want it to, when they want it to, and even when it does, it's slow, dirty, overpriced, and often overcrowded, and staff are often rude. Deal with that, make it more of a pleasant experience than driving, and you will find that more people use it. But plenty of people will still drive, as is their entitlement, whether you like it or not. When will you accept that?

  2. Real World Inhabitant29 June 2012 at 01:22

    [Comment 2 of 3]

    Your assumption that all drivers are somehow illegitimate and selfish, and thus deserving of punishment and deterrence, is utterly ridiculous. How exactly is it going to help anything to fine an old lady for overhanging a pointless yellow line by 5cm? She can't get around any other way except driving. So all the fine does is make her pointlessly miserable, or worse. Or are you so hellbent on preventing all driving that you'd rather she just didn't go anywhere at all, and lost her independence? If you do think that, you're a horrible person. If you don't, then punishing her for driving (because you know perfectly well that that is what these extensive parking restrictions and fines are designed to do, although of course you "cleverly" won't admit it) has no benefit and is just counterproductive. Nor does it benefit anyone to hold the old lady at unnecessary red lights, subject her to empty bus lanes, and all these other anti-car measures which you like so much. If we really must deliberately deter and punish drivers, then let's admit that that is what we're doing, and let's allow the elderly, disabled, etc to apply for exemptions to these unpleasant and unreasonable restrictions. It's utterly unfair to spite them for choosing the only form of transport they can. We should be helping such vulnerable people rather than persecuting them. I know you're a car-hater, but please, just for once, have some common decency and compassion.

    And you're dead right about "cloaking their anti-car, anti-growth, anti-Aberdeen measures in a green mantle of environmentalism". Spot on. If you and your ilk are truly "environmentalists" then why do you advocate unnecessary red lights, chicanes, and other measures which cause drivers to have to stop and start unnecessarily? Surely you realise that that uses more fuel, which hurts the environment? Conversely, why do you fiercely oppose any improvements which incease traffic flow (thus helping the environment)? Could it be that, ooh, I don't know, you're cloaking your anti-car measures in environmentalism? I can't see why else you consistently advocate anti-car measures which harm the environment, while always opposing pro-car measures which help the environment. Ditto with road safety instead of environmentalism: I'm sure you support speed cameras, despite their terrible safety record, but I'm sure you don't want, say, the A9 to be dualled between Perth and Inverness, even though this would decrease collisions due to overtaking etc. Shame on you. Is it OK by you if innocent people (who may not even be in cars, i.e. they may even be valid human beings in your eyes) die for the anti-motorist "cause"? For goodness' sake get a sense of proportion. Nothing is worth killing innocent people for.

    Returning to the environment for a second, do you know what the worst habit is for the environment? It's not driving, it's eating meat. Producing meat uses several times the amount of energy, water and land compared to producing the same amount of vegetarian/vegan food, and pollutes several times as much as well. I am a lifelong vegetarian. Do you eat meat? If so it is just even more evidence that your opposition to motoring has nothing whatsoever to do with the environment, and everything to do with socialism, control freakery, and a hatred of personal freedom from state interference. Why not just be honest about that instead of, what was it, "cloaking" your spite in worthy causes like environmentalism and road safety? Perhaps it's because you know that people will see you for the loony you are and give you no support?

  3. Real World Inhabitant29 June 2012 at 01:22

    [Comment 3 of 3]

    You are just another deceitful, smug, spiteful car-hater who shies away from awkward facts and is basically about as wrong as they possibly could be. But at least you can take comfort in the fact that when Aberdeen High Street is dead as a dodo, you stuck to your guns right to the death, and were unwavering in your nastiness towards those terrible drivers (every one of whom could clearly use other forms of transport with ease, and are just driving either as a penis extension or to annoy you and other anti-motorist halfwits). The fact that they'll all still be driving, just not to the High Street, will presumably be but a minor downside to your wonderful victory.

    And then you can start on your campaign to ban or charge for parking in retail parks, and the other places where those Hell-bound drivers go to in their utterly illegitimate quest to be treated halfway reasonably and welcomed because they are contributing to the economy (aren't economies terrible things, Comrade?) Because if there's one thing that unites car-haters, along with their spite, their negativity, their evasive deceit and dishonesty, their hijacking of worthy causes, their refusal to ever admit to being wrong, their complete lack of understanding of human nature, their hopelessly ludicrous predictions, their refusal to live in the real world, and their aggressive dismissal of facts that they find inconvenient, then it's the fact that they never, ever learn.

    (Feel free to delete this comment...I realise that it contains some awkwardly challenging, difficult counter-arguments. If you do dare to reply then please don't do the standard sneaky car-hater thing of half-addressing one of my points and ignoring all the others which you can't think of any decent response to. But whatever you do, at least someone's commented on your silly sanctimonious little blog, whose other posts I would read if it wasn't already obvious to me what they were all going to say. It's always same old, same old from the car-haters, which is what happens with people who are unmoved by facts or reason.)

    1. Real World Inhabitant30 June 2012 at 14:04

      Bless. Couldn't even address one of my arguments. You're not fooling anyone. Reading my previous comment takes less than a minute, and you must have read it to approve it.

      Besides, even if your reading skills really are as poor as you make out, why not just read and address the first few paragraphs? Even your car-hating mates know the answer. You know you won't win. I read and addressed your "arguments". You read mine and were unable to address *any* of them. A single one! You lose.

      Bottom line is that you shouldn't take a stance which you know you won't be able to support in the face of decent counter-arguments. It shows that deep down you know as well as anyone that you're in the wrong. Why not blog on a subject where you can be sincere about your beliefs? Then you won't have to root around for excuses not to reply to your opponents when you realise their arguments are too sound.

      Same old from the car-haters. There is always this general insincerity, sneakiness, evasiveness, nastiness, deliberate wooliness, intellectual dishonesty, and above all, an abject refusal to concede any point or admit when an opponent has beaten you or told it how it is. I suppose we can't exactly expect decent, honest and reasonable behaviour from people who get a kick out of the thought of impeding and penalising normal, law-abiding citizens who are just trying to get around and get on with their lives. Shame on you. You can't even justify your spite, and you know it.

    2. @Real World Inhabitant,
      It's a shame, it really is. We had hoped that our pellucidity would make it impossible, but you have misunderstood the purpose of this blog. This blog is for praising the drivers of Aberdeen Cars, obviously.

      As the epitome of the driver of an Aberdeen Car your rectitude deserves praise because you make your points forcefully and most impressively exhibiting some of the best rhetorical devices. We are impressed that you are also quite restrained, only sometimes resorting to personal abuse. So impressed are we that we may, in fact, use some of your points and the way you express them verbatim in some of our future posts (we now own copyright on the text you have submitted, thanks for that). So please keep contributing! You are a prime exemplar of the drivers of Aberdeen Cars and a splendid human being who cares about old ladies and everything. Well done.

      We couldn't make stuff like yours up, even if we tried! And now we don't have to!

  4. Human Nature? Doesn't @RealWorldInhabitant realise that "motoring is the new smoking"?