Car parking update

car parking

We would like to reassure you that Estates understand the car parking issues and are aware of the strength of feeling in the University about parking, as demonstrated by the recent chain of comments on the car park closure news item and in the free text comments from the 2015 Staff Survey.

We have been following your comments on the news item and we will be responding to the issues raised next week. A number of actions have already been put in place to help alleviate the situation, such as discussions with Park and Ride and negotiating reduced travel on public transport. We will do some further publicity on these so that staff are aware of what is on offer if they want to look at alternatives to bringing their car to work.

Last October staff were invited to complete the Masterplan Survey and, as part of this, there were a few questions about parking, the highlights of which will be shared shortly. We are looking at the car parking provision within the Estates Masterplan, although this is obviously not an immediate solution.

I hope that colleagues will be pleased to hear that we will be developing a University travel plan that is based on a thorough review of staff travel including car parking, as we recognise that for a number of staff, this is the only realistic option either for some or all of the time. We aim to start this piece of work as soon as possible and, as part of this, we want to survey staff to get a better understanding of how they currently travel to work, where they are travelling from and what the issues are before we can consider the options.

We will also continue to see whether there are any short term actions that we can put in place. Unfortunately this is not an easy topic and measures that we put in place to suit one group of people may not suit another (as demonstrated by the diversity of feedback on the comments in the news item). However, please be assured that there is a commitment to investigate this issue and take action, supported by UEB.

Thank you for sharing your views on the news item and when we launch the travel survey, please take the opportunity to have your say. We will provide further communications shortly.

Fiona Bell
Director of Estates and Campus Services

Bernie Topham
Chief Operating Officer


68 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. I see no diversity of feedback, they all want more enforcement and more spaces.

  2. Exactly. And not just more spaces, it’s the whole attitude towards car parking. In the back of Anglesea there are a total of 12!!! spaces that have just been taken away! People ended up parking on the grass for a while and a wooden fence was IMMEDIATELY built! whereas potholes in Mildam and Anglesea took months or even years to be dealt with by Estates.

    I understand we should all try to avoid driving to work as much as possible but not everybody is able to. Why should the car users feel like they are being punished on a daily basis?

    • Afraid the potholes are still there Vasileos, now even bigger, as is the temporary fencing from the works LAST SUMMER, and the signage that went with it.

      I think Estates need a kick up the….

  3. “We would like to reassure you that Estates understand the car parking issue” –

    Welcome to the party. Thanks for coming.

  4. Please could the staff who travel from Gosport be taken into consideration i.e. if not travelling by car having to use the Gosport ferry

  5. I think the email that went around about this (and this news item) is one of the most disappointing things that I’ve read since I’ve been at the University. I got even more down when I read the comments on the other, related news item and all the whingeing about car parking.

    There’s me thinking I worked among a group of progressive, environmentally aware colleagues, concerned about the impact of their activities on the planet, when all that seemingly matters is the ability to drive our cars where we want, when we want, with seemingly no awareness whatsoever of the social and environmental costs of so doing.

    Complaints from people living in Southampton, Chichester, Salisbury and even Oxfordshire! – yes Oxfordshire! – about the problems of parking at the University.
    Maybe some colleagues could reflect on their lifestyle choices, and accept that their preference for hypermobility is part of the problem.

    There’s also a Park and Ride Scheme you know.

    There’s even a mention on this thread of the ‘why should car users feel like they are being punished’ trope. Who needs Jeremy Clarkson? Get real – you’re not being punished; you’re actually highly privileged. Am I the only person working at the University who is fed up with the cosseting of car drivers and their interests? And also the absolutely pitiful amount of interest exhibited by the University in working with the local authority and transport providers in providing effective, cheap public transport alternatives? And when will the University and local authority actually take some purposive action against those illegally parking around the University: on pavements and blocking pedestrian access/crossings given the clear hazards these actions cause?

    Portsmouth is a crowded, high density city where space is limited. You can either increase the supply of car parking spaces or reduce the demand. One thing we know for sure is that if you do the former, all it will do is increase the demand, with adverse consequences (increased traffic fumes, congestion etc) for those of us who live and work (and walk, cycle and use public transport) in the city.

    Some colleagues absolutely should have the right to have guaranteed car parking spaces – those who have childcare and other caring disabilities and colleagues with physical disabilities. But for the rest – car parking is a privilege, not a right; it has costs, including social and environmental costs. The question is who pays these costs? I can see why car drivers don’t wish to, but surely we shouldn’t be guided just by self-interest?

    • Wow. Just wow.

      Passive aggressive posts aren’t going to get us anywhere.

    • You don’t have kids in school do you.

      • As stated, I would strongly support giving guaranteed parking spaces to those with childcare and other caring reponsibilities – that includes colleagues with school-age children.

        • It’s been tried. Staff abused the system so badly it was withdrawn.

          But let’s extend this to it’s logical conclusion. Reserved spaces for the following classes:

          * Parents
          * Carers
          * Staff working late start times
          * Staff working across multiple sites

          Experience has shown us that staff will game this system heavily so you can expect 50% or 60% of spaces to be reserved – if not more.

          Everyone thinks theirs is a special case.

          It’s good to know that the rest of us can solve this issue by selling our houses and moving to ” a crowded, high density city where space is limited”.

          Where do I sign up?

      • It’s very easy to say this when your life allows for alternative transport. The University employs a lot of very diverse staff – people should be able to find a way to get to work if they live in Southsea or if they live in Oxfordshire. We all choose to go to work to pay our bills and shouldn’t have to drive around for up to an hour to find a space. I get in before 8:30 most days and so don’t struggle but I know this isn’t possible for everyone.. I wouldn’t want the University to take away my right to park at the University just because I live fairly local (a 40 minute walk away) because I don’t go straight from home to work and then from work to home every day… all of us have different lives and different commitments and a lack of parking at our workplace shouldn’t have such a negative impact on our lives… it’s such a trivial matter really (or at least it should be).

        • I agree with much of what you say, except that I don’t believe that staff should have the ‘right’ to park at the University.

          That said, I do believe that the requirements of colleagues with disabilities and those with caring responsibilities should be prioritised.

          (a) There simply isn’t really the space; and (b) even if you do increase the space, this would raise demand and have adverse social and environmental consequences. I’m not ‘anti-car’; I sometimes use a car in the way that you describe myself – but I don’t expect a ‘right’ to have a car parking space.

          • And therein lies part of the problem. There are 7 disabled spaces in Milldam, only three are regularly used, and of those, one shows no sign whatsoever of a disability, he fairly skips along carrying his child to the Nursery.

            Solution – enforcement.

          • I agree that it’s not a ‘right’ to always have a space – if there wasn’t one when I came in one day because I had been to the dentist or whatever, I would have to accept it and park on the street. However I don’t expect to have to park on the street every day or even on a regular basis. Cars are necessary for a lot of people. I am sure there are some who could walk in to work or get the University bus or pay and display but I am sure the majority wouldn’t drive unless they really needed to. From what I have read on here, there is the space, the University just aren’t using it properly… mutli-story carparks with only one story being used etc. I don’t think there needs to be a space for everyone with a permit (because I’m sure there aren’t many days where all of those people are in) but I do think the University should do their best to get as close to 100% as they can.

          • “even if you do increase the space, this would raise demand ”

            Disagree. There is a natural ceiling to demand. That ceiling is the peak concurrent use during term time.

            At any one point in time some staff will be on leave or sick. If we mined the data in the HRsystem we could probably make a good estimate of what peak demand was.

            The only way it could increase after that is if the University hires more staff or changes working patterns etc – events that can be planned for.

    • Personally, I walk 2 miles to work or am lucky enough to get a lift into work on bad weather days… but I disagree with a lot of what you say. Parking is a problem and DOES treat drivers unfairly. The uni bends over backwards to dedicate space for storage of bikes and has a regular bus service for students and staff. Parking spaces are disappearing and often people are forced to pay ridiculous amounts to park with ticket machines.

      And it really is absolutely no business of yours where people live or what their life choices are. We need jobs to live, and people find work where they can. The uni needs to support all people in all situations. All because I walk doesn’t give me any right to be over-righteous. The situation is the cause of environmental problems, not the individuals. Not everyone can walk, not everyone can cycle (and to be honest, who’d want to in this city!) and public transport is hugely unreliable, inconvenient and over expensive. Financially it is cheaper to drive if it is your only way to get to work.

      • When the M275 Park & Ride opened, I investigated the offers. It was (and still is) another £600+ in transport fees (excluding fuel and UoP parking permit).

    • It is nothing whatsoever to do with lifestyle choice in my case. I live in Oxfordshire because that is where my research has been based for many years – on national facilities that are not available anywhere else in the UK (indeed also international facilities like CERN, which are unique!). If Portsmouth wishes to attract high calibre research staff, it has to be able to accommodate this sort of situation as it is very common in the physical sciences.

      As I usually only teach in Portsmouth one day a week, it is not such a big deal, but believe me I would much prefer not to drive to Portsmouth … if there was an easy alternative. I would repeat my earlier point that some Universities (e.g. Southampton) take into account various factors such as distance from home when allocating parking permits. If I lived in Portsmouth or Southsea, I certainly would not dream of driving.

  6. In your review of car parking please consider staff who may have family commitments or work on multiple buildings within the university.

    We all know that no spaces are generally available after 8.20am. Many family friendly universities have marked spaces for after 9.30am only and they are strictly enforced.

    A smaller number of people work at multiple sites and need to travel back and forth during the day. It is in the universities best interests to have me turning up for meetings and lectures on time rather than driving around car parks for sometimes over an hour.

    Does estates have the data on the number of cars travelling into full car parks and NOT finding a space to gage the demand for more spaces?

    • The University used to have such system in place several years ago with special blue bays for staff with caring responsibilities. It was abused by staff so badly it had to be withdrawn.

  7. You can’t reserve spaces for people that arrive late. You would have to reserve spaces for every single reason people might arrive late as to not discriminate against different reasons people arrive later than others, i.e. working hours, school runs, medial appointments, people caring for others that might be elderly, disabled or sick. I for one have more medical appointments than most and quite often arrive later than 9.30. How can you say I am not aloud a reserved space for after 9.30 but someone with a family can?

    And the parking permits are so cheap I find it hard to see how people can moan so much. I for one am grateful for my permit regardless if I struggle for a space or not.

  8. I think there’s a reason why the permits are so cheap. More of them are issued than there are spaces available! If you happen to have lots of medical appointments in the mornings and cannot get in until 10am or after, you can forget about finding a space. I’ve often spent almost an hour driving around and then have to pay to park for a few hours or move the car to a different zone on the side roads. It’s a really very stressful experience especially if you’re dealing with medical issues too! Something definitely needs to be done to deal with the problems. At previous places of work, parking permits are not given to students (unless disabled) and they have to pay to park in an allocated car park on campus instead. Maybe introduce a similar system here?

  9. Apologies if this has already been considered but someone mentioned to me the idea that the Victoria Baths site could be opened up , even temporarily with it`s gravel still in situ, for parking. It would be an immediate solution……

    • Ravelin Park used to be gravel… parking was even worse then. At least when it was paved, it was painted to get more cars on site. Until the student union vans returned on Wednesdays evenings.

  10. I have a colleague who left the University citing stress around parking as the primary reason.

    I handed back my parking permit a few months back after it became impossible to find a parking space after 0845.

    I now pay £5/day to park in the NCP carpark by the cascades shopping centre where there are always lots of spaces so no stress. Indeed there are so many spaces in this car park that one might think the University and NCP could come to an arrangement where both would benefit.

  11. How about opening up the car park that exists under the Melbourne St car park. There must be about 50 spaces that could be used here.

  12. Can’t you open the bottom of Melbourne Car Park? I’ve been told that there is a health and safety issue.. Then please sort it! I also struggle to park as I do nursery runs and arrive at 9am and find it hard to understand why we have this space but cannot use it.. And it’s already a car park!!!

  13. More cars can’t be the correct answer.

    Can I suggest alternatives need to be promoted for the good of our local community. Any expansion of our University will make this situation worse if it’s not addressed.

    • It’s not more cars though – It’s just making sure that the people who already drive to the university have somewhere to park them

  14. I live very close to the University and drive every day because I don’t really like walking. So, I oppose any form of fairer scheme. It isn’t fair to penalise those of us who aren’t walkers.

    • Agree here entirely. The issue shouldn’t be around where we live but there being enough spaces for us to park. I also live very close but choose to drive because I have commitments after work I also do not wish to start my journey 45mins earlier to get public transport this is my personal choice, the University bus does not go to my area so it would end up costing me more money to travel to work.

      I accept that on some days parking is an issue especially if you have had to come in late.

      More enforcement needs to be put in place to stop those who shouldn’t be parking in the car parks, this was far better monitored when the University was in charge of the car parks. For me it feels like so many people get away with illegally parking when I was ticketed last year because my permit fell off the windscreen.

    • Some of us living outside Portsmouth, still have to walk for about 40 minutes (return) to get to our desks every morning so that is not a good excuse… ( not being a walker!). Besides, if you are a Portsmouth resident, you can always use your resident parking permit to leave your car on the street…but we cannot…
      Introduce a 3 mile exclusion zone for those who live by the university to leave cars at home! Let’s be both enviromentally friendly and collegial!

  15. Improving the University bus service to accomodate staff better based on where staff in the city live and then stopping people in a 4 mile radius having a car parking permit may help the problem. However, has anyone thought about looking at where the staff who have car parking permits live?

    • And what are people who live 4 miles away supposed to do about getting to work? walk an hour to and from work every day? 2 hours on top of an almost 9hr day… People have lives and responsibilities outside of work. Even a bus wouldn’t be much quicker for some parts of town which don’t have regular bus routes. I live just over 2 miles from work and it just wouldn’t be feasible for me to walk to work as I visit family after work and am also an emergency contact for my elderly grandma.

    • Some of us who live within a 4 mile radius have a life outside of work and why should be be the ones to give up our permits because we choose to live in the city? I leave work most evenings and have to be at a regular commitment by 5.30 this is my choice I understand however without my car I’d never make it there and this is a commitment for a youth group that I coordinate so I cannot start any later than it is.

      • I agree… we choose to work close to where we live (4 miles is reasonably close) so that we don’t need to spend hours commuting. Why should we have to add 2 hours or more to our working day?

  16. There needs to be exceptional circumstances agreed like your situation, child care blah blah blah. If you work in the dockyard this is how it works.

    • The problem is I think most people will think they have exceptional circumstances. I would say maybe people who live less than a mile from where they work.

      • and how to you define what an exceptional circumstance is everyone has commitments not just those who have children/caring responsibilities.

  17. A great discussion, I hope the right people are reading this page – I am sure they are.

    To add my ten pence into the mix, we should also strengthen and promote the non driving methods to the University as well. There are lots of reasons people need to take cars to work and I whole heartily support them. However, for those who of us that do not 100% need to drive, me for example, lets improve on this area.

    Public transport is EXPENSIVE – lets come up with a subsidized system that would encourage people to the trains/buses/ferries/bikes/hover craft/segway or other method this city has.

    Yes, some wold argue we have a system, but is it working? Can anyone produce some stats or evidence that X% of staff use a non car related method to work because of the current system in place. Time to IMPROVE.

  18. I have read this ‘critical discussion’ with interest. A just wanted to add a couple of points:
    – the state of Milldam car park is an absolute disgrace. Not only is it getting pretty muddy (will need wellies soon), but the potholes are clearly sufficient to damage cars, and you have to try to drive around them. We enquired with estates in Sept when this would be sorted out, and was told a company was contracted to make amends, but still nothing;
    – out of interest, I did an ‘audit’ of users of Milldam on a tues morning (worst day), and was supposed to find that only 75% of spaces was taken up by staff, the rest were by students (approx. 20%) or other non reserved daily permit users. Of course some students should be entitled to a space, but I was surprised by the high number;
    – I enquired with the estates team if we were entitled to use the car park beneath Rees Hall, and was informed this should be the case. However when I requested access on my staff card, I was referred to the transport manager (JS), who, even after repeated attempts, refuses to even answer my e-mails. Something seems amiss!

  19. My husband is always carrying heavy work home with him to assess (sketchbooks etc ) and then his own research books etc. I sometime bring in my own tool box and tools in to work. Parking in a park and ride would be ridiculous for this.
    We have noticed many more students parking in the car park we use. They should definitely be using the park and ride.

  20. Driving to work is a choice. Depending on your circumstances you are more or less likely to choose to drive. The university can affect the choice by the cost of car parking, offering free or subsidized alternatives (bus, park and ride), or improve facilities for alternatives (cycle storage, showers, lockers). You could increase the car parking charge to the price of a monthly bus pass for example, and use the extra revenue to subsidize park and ride (half the cost of bus pass? cheaper to use park and ride than to park at university). Current choices are simply not sustainable.

    • There does need to be better alternatives. At the moment, the thought of riding a bike in Portsmouth is a terrifying prospect with us apparently being the second worse city for cycling accidents. It’s also not feasible for people who have commitments before/after work or are carers who need to be able to get to those they care for at a moments notice. I think the park and ride is the best option but not much good if you live on the island.

  21. I have a bus pass, and I think its really good value for money, you can use it anytime, I now use the bus more than I used to. I often get people come and voice their complaints to me, I don’t even work in the parking department. I would like to help people more, but I have the same problem as everyone else. I work in SAC and I cannot park in this car park, this is for booked visitors only and we are usually fully booked every day, we can allocate parking to visitors when they arrive and I also manage a waiting list, and I do try and park all visitors, so far this has been working. But it can be very stressful, as staff and students think they can park in SAC , and I often get abuse when I tell them it is for visitors only.

  22. Milldam has been a disgrace for a few years now. The only “improvement” was to paint yellow lines, but no white lines were repainted and therefore the parking spaces are difficult to see in the dry and impossible to see in the wet. Although the worst of the pot-holes have just been filled the car park is in serious need of resurfacing. The flooding is a big issue and requires major work. Please, please will you resurface it this summer – and not during term time like you have done with other car parks in previous years, making the parking problems so much worse. The revenue you raise from charging staff for parking should be ring-fenced for car park maintenance and our car parks should not be allowed to get into such a bad condition.

    • Well Said Trish, I agree.

      Estates don’t really seem to take any interest in it. It could also be re-jigged to make better use of the space there is, the current layout sucks.

  23. Lots of people seem to be of the opinion that driving to work is a choice. For some of us, that is absolutely not the case. I drop my son off at school in Farlington at 08:25, the earliest he is able to go in, and I start work at 09:00. I cannot leave any earlier to get to work, to avoid the traffic or to find a space. I do not for one second believe I am entitled to a guaranteed space, but for me (and many in a similar position I’m sure), driving to work in order to begin my working day as per my contracted hours is the only option.

  24. Waiting 24 hours for moderation of comments is a sure way to kill discussion.

  25. As I type this I can confirm we are up-to-date with publishing comments.

    Last Friday, we continued publishing until discussions stopped after 6.00 pm and since then we have been publishing regularly throughout the day.

  26. Reposted

    Last June, without any discussion, three permanent parking spots were removed from the Nuffield car park (c.50 capacity); perhaps one of the most congested car parks on campus. The space thus created has been designated – permanently – for ‘Ambulance’ use. Users of the car park find this a rather puzzling move since in the last nine months this ‘ghost ambulance’ has been spotted no more than four times. This looks to be a highly inefficient trade off.

    This comes on top of the loss last year of three Nuffield places to create two Disabled spaces; and the recent designation of a general space for ‘UEB’. Two years ago we had a space removed and allocated for Science Faculty use only. None of these spaces is at all well used. And it is frustrating for staff to find that empty bays are both tolerated are being expanded when pressures on staff parking are running high.

    If spaces were a ‘free’ employer benefit then perhaps there would be no need to consult or explain. But it would be generally helpful if some discussions with users could provide context to decisions on the ground.

    • Comments are being reviewed on both this article and the ‘Majority of Portland car park closed from 11 March 2016’ article, so you don’t need to repost unless you feel you want to add to a particular discussion.

      • I reposted because when I submitted it yesterday to this site it vanished into the ether.

  27. You can cycle to work from Farlington in 35 minutes. There is a train from Cosham to Portsmouth & Southsea. Driving is a choice.

    • There is no other REALISTIC option for me to get to work on time.

      Cycling: I cannot physically accommodate an eight year old boy on the back of a bicycle, nor do I believe it would be safe to do so. I have to transport him to school before I can leave for work.

      Train: There is a train from Cosham to Portsmouth at 08:14 (too early, my son doesn’t go into school until 08:25), and 08:38. This would get me to Portsmouth for 08:57 assuming there was never a delay (unlikely). I would have a window of three minutes to get to my office from the train station.

      My working day begins at 09:00, which for me means I should be at my desk and have begun work by that time each day. That of course, is my work ethic alone, but on that basis – being late is not an option for me, and therefore neither are your two suggestions.

      I respect your views that there are alternatives to driving, but the variables surrounding an individual’s obligations must also be considered.

      • Agreed Emma, all valid points. As a driver I am fed up being made to feel guilty for owning a car and actually needing/wanting to use it. (Eric, this comment isn’t in response to your point, just some of the points in general that are coming up here and the other post). Driving may be a choice but coming to work is not and I cannot (for reasons that I do not have to justify to anyone) get here any other way for 3 days out of 5. I don’t mind looking at alternatives/costings etc and don’t expect to get a parking space every day but am not going to feel guilty for driving.

  28. During the school holidays, the traffic and parking have been no issue at all. After reading many of the comments here, one wonders if any school-age children are capable of walking ? Discuss….!

  29. The way things are going (and I hope this won’t be the case) I can see in the future permits being revoked for people living within a certain radius of the University. However – I’d like to put in a suggestion now that if this did happen (again I hope not!) please could you consider issuing ‘out of hours’ permits so staff that didn’t qualify for a 9-5 Mon- Fri permit could still use the University car parks at evenings and weekends for social/shopping etc. Thanks

  30. To say that driving is a choice as if universally valid truth is definitively a ridiculous statement. Obviously stated only by people who do not have to take into consideration disabilities or family responsibilities.

    Not everyone who drives has a realistic alternative way of transport. Or do you expect that those of use who cannot use public transport should *choose* to pay for taxi?

    • Yes

      • yes what?

        – yes it is ridiculous or yes people should pay for taxi because the employer who suggested that they have enough parking spaces for those people who need it when you applied for your job – retrospectively decided that this will not be the case?

  31. Sally- out of hours parking would be £2 per visit which is cheap compared to NCP car parks

    • but then that would defeat the purpose of the University being seen as a ‘good and considerate’ employer.

  32. With earthquakes, famine and Donald Trump happening in the world right now this may seem a petty complaint, but, this morning someone actually drove across a pathway and a grass verge to get the last parking space in front of me.

    Apart from being a bit annoying, it is potentially dangerous. This was in ‘old Ravelin,’ maybe a bollard between the two parking areas would be useful.

    Happy parking x

  33. When I got my job here HR made a point of that the UoP has parking places for their employees. Especially for those who need it due to childcare responsibilities and those who have medical conditions which make it impossible for them to use public transport.

    Also to those who think that you can drop of your children drive home and then take public transport to work – I would like to mention that some of us have children that go to different schools that are not close to each other and not close to where we live.

    Parking is *not* a work benefit (or perk) at the UoP *because* when HR offered the job they insisted that *there is parking for employees* as part of the work agreement and offer. Without this explicit inclusion many of us would never have taken a job at UoP – because to accept the offered work conditions was a choice.

  34. Where in the estates *master-plan* does it say anything about *expanding* the number of parking spaces available. Considering that over the last years the University has expanded the number of employees. At the same time parking spaces are abolished – so now we have fewer spaces than before.

    This has become a significant problem during the year – and with current UoP expansion and activities – *everyone* can predict the parking situation becoming completely unworkable in September! To suggest that people should use alternative transport *is not a solution* to this problem.

    There is still too few parking spaces available!

    So *where is the plan* to cope with the crisis that is coming in September?

  35. Well, it’s September and The Crisis is back. Contractors’ vans still park in parking spaces, no changes in Mildam, etc etc. What’s happening about the so-called Transport Plan?

  36. @Fed Up, completely agree. It seems to be getting harder to park as each week ticks over, need to be here earlier and earlier.

    Family Friendly University, what is happening on this matter?

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