Yes, there’s a general election coming up on Thursday and yes, the anticipation is palpable. Make sure you consider your choice carefully but most importantly get out and vote etc etc. You all know the score, seeing as it’s only a few weeks since we last did it.
But even though it has been difficult to stop my excitement about June 8’s poll from spilling into this week’s column, one particular subject has done the trick.
As soon as the very word is mentioned, I’ve noticed that folk – especially drivers – begin to get quite animated. And rightly so. It is a big part of most people’s days, not just on a day-to-day basis but also at weekends.
Let me start by saying that I wholeheartedly applaud the people who have turned to public transport and use it religiously, or indeed those who are in the fortunate position where they can cycle to and from their work.
But for many people, either through cost or convenience, the car is a necessary evil and simply can’t be avoided.
So why oh why are new developments springing up with parking “provision” that is simply inadequate?
Kirkcaldy is a prime example, where there’s a relatively new leisure centre at the waterfront but extremely scant parking provision beside it. The fact that it was built on the site of an open air car park perhaps rubs some salt on that particular wound.
There are charging car parks within walking distance and that’s fine for people like me who can get around, but it’s not the point. Adequate parking should have been thought about on site to serve that site, and I’m sure the lack of free parking in the area has acted as a deterrent to many who might have wanted to go for a swim or to the gym.
Then there’s the new extension of the Fife Central Retail Park in Kirkcaldy. It’s great to see the extra jobs created and more choice for shoppers, but trying to find a space is problematic at the best of times.
I’m there a lot, the space between spaces at the moment isn’t exactly roomy, and I’m genuinely afraid it’s going to be an absolute nightmare when the new units are up and running.
Yet again, it seems to me that parking has been an afterthought, when it should have been a real consideration from the get go.
I was recently at a council meeting where a housing development in Hill of Beath was given the green light. Again, there were explicit warnings that there were not enough parking spaces for the new estate, but it was given the go ahead regardless.
And don’t get me started on parking at Victoria Hospital. A massive new hospital, but car parks and surrounding streets are jam packed with cars – many of which appear abandoned on verges with little done about it. Why a multi-storey car park wasn’t deemed appropriate for a development of that size remains beyond me.
So maybe instead of rushing to get things up and running, it might be time to start applying the brakes a little – and making sure that parking is a priority.