Living in Portsmouth is generally a pleasant and civilised experience... until you try to park in a residential street any time after 6pm.
At that point, as most of you know to your cost, it makes the proverbial tin of sardines look as though they are enjoying the freedom and wide open spaces of the Serengeti plains.
It is tricky enough trying to squeeze your vehicle into a conventional hole left by two cars, let alone one partially obscured by a van, or three.
So, ban the van?
A group of residents from the North End area of the city wants the council to consider it.
But although it is a legitimate concern across the city, we do not think the authority should waste time or money on such a scheme.
Where would you start? Which style of vans would you ban? Would you be victimising the one-man or woman business by stopping that person parking on-street?
There are large areas of the city which remain almost empty at night – car parks. The park and ride at Tipner is one. The old Tricorn site another. Perhaps they could be used as van parks overnight. But of course, overnight security would have to be provided and how would the van’s driver then get home to, say, Baffins or Eastney?
What about the hundreds of company vans we see parked overnight outside homes? Couldn’t the firms which own these fleets rule that their drivers must return them to a depot at night before they pick up their car and drive home? They would probably argue that would delay them the following morning from getting to their first job on time.
There would need to be incentives. Why not introduce a city-wide residents’ parking scheme? Two permits for each household and if the van driver in that home signed a pledge not to park the van in the street, the second permit would be free?
Pie in the sky? Probably. But it is an interesting debate because one thing is clear: until we fall out of love with our cars and vans, parking in Portsmouth will only get worse.
*This comment was published as the leader column of The News today