The imposition of red routes in cities is always going to boil down to a trade off between a desire to get traffic moving more quickly and a need to make sure residents can still easily reach local shops and businesses.
It is clear that on the A34 Stratford Road in Birmingham, where a zero-tolerance approach to on-street parking has existed for almost a year, the balance between speed of movement and ease of access is out of kilter.
A scrutiny committee will today examine the impact of the red route, but members will hardly need to be told that the experiment has not been the resounding success that was predicted. A total of almost 7,000 parking tickets have been issued along the route in a 10-month period, proving that whatever else the pilot has achieved it certainly has not stopped many people continuing to park on the side of the road - and presumably paying a £60 fine to do so.
Selling this particular red route to people living in the area was bound to be difficult given the past history of an almost total lack of enforcement by the council. After years of turning a blind eye to parking along the busy Stratford Road, the local authority can hardly be surprised to meet resistance from people visiting shops and restaurants who resent using off-street car parks and walking a little way to their destination.
Traders say that takings are down since the introduction of the red route, which may well be so. Whether this has anything to do with parking difficulties, or more to do with the downturn in the economy, is another matter.
It is undeniable, however, that the parking clampdown is a massive political issue in Sparkbrook, Sparkhill and Hall Green. If council leaders stick to their guns, the May elections could be interesting in these wards.