… It would be a rat run
Creating visitor parking in side streets near the main road would make it possible for motorists already passing shops on the main road to stop, within 50 to 100 metres or so, and shop. And then leave the same way, from the same street, back to the main route. So it is difficult to see how this would encourage rat-run conditions. If this were a concern, the far end of the side street could be width-restricted so only micro-cars were able to pass through, meaning any local motorist residents parking in that side street could only exit the side street on to the main road. It would be difficult to argue against this, unless those motorist residents needed a regular rat-run route of their own through local side streets …
… There would be excess traffic
Concerns with through traffic could be dealt with as above (with width-restrictions, so only micro-cars could pass at the far end).
Would there be more traffic on the main road? This rests on the contention that visitor parking for the high street would create noticeably additional journeys than are already made on the main road for other reasons. Because purchases from the high-street are usually incidental, rather than strategic weekly shops, this makes it likely that motoring visits to the high street are usually done as part of journeys already being made, such as to work, the school run, or even a supermarket shop. Whereas a full supermarket shop is usual the main reason for a driving journey and its attendant pollution being made.
If side street traffic numbers became a problem, it would be straightforward to react as follows:
- Restrict access to electric cars and/or micro-cars from the main road.
- If excess traffic remained unmanageable, introducing visitor-parking pricing at a level which achieves a target occupancy, for example, an aim to have 30% of the visitor spaces filled during trading hours of main road shops. The exact target occupancy percentage would vary depending on location and how many empty shops there were locally, all of which should be regularly measured.
… putting visitor parking in the side street would mean you couldn’t load from the main road
As TfL remind us regularly, loading bays are not the same as visitor parking bays. The reason the two are conflated is that both motorists and TfL Police grasp that there is insufficient visitor parking provided in general, across London. So the Police look the other way, and motorists intuitively grasp this will happen, and misuse the loading bay spaces.
There is no harm in including dedicated loading bays on the main road, and enforcing these strictly, making it loudly and widely known that there is plentiful designated visitor parking within 100 metres or so of any main road shopping parade.