Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Friday, 6 August 2010

It ain't easy being green....

...especially if someone's trying to make you do it.
Today’s Local Government conundrum: You are building offices for 300 council workers in a rural town of 45,000 residents. How many parking spaces should you provide?

Well, you’re doing your best to be green, so surely all these workers will be too. And there are buses from the surrounding areas (as long as they don’t want to travel before 8.15 or after 5.45) and a railway station nearby.

But some of these workers need to go out and about as part of their jobs; oh dear – that means they’ll need their nasty polluting cars!* So you’d better give them a few spaces. About 55 should do nicely.

After all, you’ve sent round plenty of e-mails extolling the virtues of car-sharing and public transport and proclaiming the health benefits of cycling (never mind that the office is at the bottom of a hill that would have hardened veterans of the Tour de France muttering darkly about ‘étapes de montagne’).


Fast forward a year, and there is parking chaos. Practically all 300 of those ungrateful workers are coming to work by car on the flimsy excuse that they need to drop off children at school in the morning or pick up groceries on the way home, or that their village bus only runs on Tuesdays.

And the lack of on-site parking means they are using nearby streets – in fact competition for spaces is so fierce that residents emerging from their front doors in the morning have found themselves facing an armada of impatient council workers waiting for them to drive away and release a space.

The Council confirms that it ‘has some onsite parking for staff who need to travel and other staff have been instructed not to park in residential areas’, so things aren’t much better in the local supermarket, where customers now complain they can’t park between 9 and 5.

The Council is finding out the hard way that you just can’t force people to be green - particularly if it makes their lives more complicated and difficult.


*Don’t worry – they’re planning a fleet of electric cars plus charging points at a mere £100K each.

6 comments:

  1. in fact competition for spaces is so fierce that residents emerging from their front doors in the morning have found themselves facing an armada of impatient council workers waiting for them to drive away and release a space.

    WE had similar in our street in a town where I once lived, But there it ws shop workers, and the dole office staff.

    Once or twice a wek, feeling likle a bit of fun, I would go out, get into the car, start it up.....and sit there fopr ten minutes, switch off, then go back in the house. Sometimes I would even half pull out of my space, then reverse back in, and THEN carry out the above.

    Watching the bastards faces was great.

    How to wind up a "Government "worker"" without having to even try.

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  2. Follow ups, on a post card, as Google is being a bastard again.

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  3. "But some of these workers need to go out on visits as part of their jobs..."

    Or may be shift workers, needing to start or finish long after that public transport has shut down for the night. They never take that into account, do they?

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  4. FT: these days you might find that a risky occupation, given the incidence of parking rage.

    JuliaM: A similar situation arose at a newly-built hospital I know of.

    The small staff car park was designated 'doctors only' - the powers-that-be apparently assumed that the nurses/ancilliary staff would use public transport.

    Not surprisingly, they are now having great difficulty recruiting and retaining nurses, particularly for night shifts.

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  5. Macheath said...

    FT: these days you might find that a risky occupation, given the incidence of parking rage.


    Oh PLEEAASSSEEE!!!! Let some skinny office bound runt just TRY it!!

    I may only be 5 foot 11, but I play murder ball twice weekly, Weight training four to five times weekly, and am built like the proverbial brick shit house.

    So any office workers out there want to try it, you are MORE than welcome.

    In fact I would take on miners, Scaffolders, rig workers, and most others as well. But office workers are my FAVOURITE breakfast.

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  6. Fighting talk, FT, but please don't do anything rash - at least until I've got my popcorn ready!

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