Perspectives: parking tickets in Belfast

The Belfast Telegraph is creating a fuss about parking tickets on the Lisburn Road.  Fortunately, I happen to have the actual figures in front of me from a request I made last year…

First, a little perspective.  The Lisburn Road is two miles long.  There is no comparison to a city centre street at a few hundred yards, and the Stranmillis Road is only 1.4 miles with the tickets probably only concentrated on a small section where congestion is worst and shoppers’ parking spaces at a premium.

31,611 PCNs were issued by NSL for the financial year 2014/15 across the old Belfast and Castlereagh council areas, whereas it appears the Tele must have asked about the new boundaries.

The Belfast Telegraph states that 2,195 tickets were issued on the Lisburn Road, which is 42.2 a week, or 7 a day Monday-Saturday – or in other words, 3.5 tickets per mile a day, which isn’t particularly heavy.

However, let’s look at why the tickets were issued, and for that I asked very specific questions last May:

Parked on a clearway during its hours of operation 1768
Parked on a footway at any time in a clearway 63
Parked in a bus lane during its hours of operation 16
Total 1847

The effect of this is that only 348 tickets – just over one a working day – were issued in respect of any other parking offence, more than likely someone overstaying the time limited parking bays by more than ten minutes (actually considerably more than ten minutes, as the Traffic Attendant has to observe a car being present and then see it still there an hour later.)

The irony?  It’s probably the same 1768 people who have been ticketed for parking on the clearway on the Lisburn Road who complain about NSL failing to ticket other motorists blocking their progress home in the morning and evening rush hours.  Just like the Ormeau Road, it just takes one inconsiderate driver to cause a mile of tailbacks.

In conclusion, the Lisburn Road is probably the one of the longest roads under the supervision of NSL after the barely enforced Upper Newtownards Road (a very sore point for those who have to travel through Dundonald in rush hour) and you would expect it to have a higher number of tickets than any other road.  Perhaps the better question would be why aren’t other roads enforced with as much enthusiasm?