What’s the point of single yellow lines?

by | Nov 5, 2018 | Plan, Traffic & Transport | 1 comment

Single yellow lines make little sense to us given the pressure on parking in Highgate. Either the spaces should be for parking or not? If they are for parking, they should be round the clock – and the community should decide whether they are for shoppers, residents or businesses. Most people don’t know the rules surrounding single yellows with the result that penalty notices ar easy to pick up. 

Back in January the Forum did some research and produced a blog about parking pressures in Highgate, focusing on the Camden side. One topic discussed was single yellow lines. One consequence of the hours of the CPZ (10am to noon) is that during those hours no one can park on the single yellows, and outside those hours any one can park on them.

The blog (about the Camden side of Highgate) said: “The area has a lot of single yellow lines yet all kerb space should be double yellow or in a bay – for clarity, safety, fairness. We estimate that perhaps as many as 60 new parking spaces can be created in the area by single yellow lines being converted in bays. Some single yellows should perhaps be double yellows, and some double yellows could be parking bays. …………. A non-bay space should either be possible to park in (and be in a bay) or not (and be double yellow).”

This blog shows three examples and seeks comment before the Forum approaches the Camden officers and councillors to press for change. It will be up to council officials what they do – the Forum does not pretend to have expertise and is not responsible – but improving amenity and safety must be the right thing to do.

We have chosen three different examples to illustrate the opportunity.

Swains Lane

This offers the greatest scope for extra parking – perhaps between 20 and 30 spaces.

Starting in the south, opposite the cemetery, the double yellow line is in place and then stops. Neither the reason for the double line or it stopping is clear.

Rising up the hill, there are points where the road narrows and the existing double yellows are quite appropriate. But why not have parking in bays where the single yellows are for visitors to the cemetery and Waterlow Park?

And again, north of the narrowing, the single yellow reappears. These parking spaces are full in the summer with visitors so why not allow all day parking, perhaps for businesses?

Highgate West Hill

There is an anomaly at the top end of Highgate West Hill by the Gatehouse. Once clear of the zig-zags and bus stop, there are single yellows on each side of the road. In theory, vehicles can park on both sides except between 10am and noon. In practice vehicles typically park on one side and not the other.

Were they to park on both sides, the road would be blocked as soon as a lorry or bus came along. That’s why the double yellow exists on the build out for the bus stand and on the opposite side of the road at that point.

In this case, we’d imagine that a review would conclude that formalising the bays on one side and putting double yellows on the other is the right thing to do.

Hampstead Lane – the Highgate end

There are four parking spaces on single yellows outside the restaurant and hairdresser and there is no reason why this cannot be a bay. Why should parking be banned between 10am and noon?

Towards the junction with The Grove, there is a case on safety grounds for extending the double yellow. Traffic can move fast and it is not a corner with good visibility.

There is more scope for debate about what is best on the other side of the road. The single yellow parking ban between 10 and 12 makes little sense – either this is a place to park or it is not. So, again, we’d suggest double yellows or parking bays.


Finally we feel that some driveway entrances should attract double yellow lines. There is often conflict about parking over garage or driveway entrances as the rules – and enforcement practices – are very ambiguous and enforced inconsistently. Owners of the properties need to be protected.

Inevitably there are some places where the review of single and double yellow lines might be more controversial and nuanced. Examples might be on the High Street between the Angel and Bisham Gardens or around the junction of Highgate West Hill and South Grove but even if there’s no change in those (few) areas we still feel the common sense gain to be had from the wider review, in terms of adding parking spaces and improving safety, is significant.

Comments would be very welcome.


Earth Day Biodiversity Brainstorm inspires

Earth Day Biodiversity Brainstorm inspires

As part of local Earth Day celebrations, LUX is hosted a Biodiversity Brainstorm on Saturday 22 April from 2–4pm. We heard from local activists about projects to support and increase our biodiversity. 2–3pm: Speakers: Jeska Harrington Gould, Growing Green Simon Olley,...

1 Comment

  1. Gail Waldman

    Simon and Richard,

    This is an excellent piece of work and makes absolute sense in my personal opinion. I have two questions:
    1. If an extra 60 spaces were achieved would there be a need for the extended controlled hours of 8.30am to 6.30pm which are about to be introduced by Camden?
    2. Camden’s draft transport policy is clear that use of cars must be reduced to meet carbon reductions targets (zero carbon now needed by 2025). How does your proposal fit in with that strategy?

    All the best,



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *