Free parking has been introduced to part of North Shields Fish Quay.
North Tyneside Council has axed the charges in one public car park after officials found they were causing problems elsewhere.
Charges have been removed from the Low Lights Car Park at the north end of Clifford’s Fort Moat in a bid to cut congestion and to improve safety in the area.
The move comes after the council carried out a number of studies into parking patterns at the Fish Quay over recent years.
The investigations uncovered a series of problems, including:
l Double parking and vehicles moving in and out of spaces, causing congestion in and around Bell Street and Union Quay;
l Parked and moving vehicles creating a physical barrier for pedestrians and cyclists and impacting on visibility;
l An uneven spread of vehicles parking in different parts of the Fish Quay at different times;
l Illegal parking in the New Quay and Duke Street area.
Following the investigations and removal of charges in the car park, the council has brought in various other measures to try to ease the issues.
Among the changes are the introduction of new designated on-street parking bays at various points along Union Road, Union Quay and Bell Street.
The spaces will be charged at 1p per minute between 9am and 6pm every day with a maximum stay of two hours. Permit holders will be exempt.
However, some motorists and visitors to the Fish Quay have hit out at the charges being introduced when previous parking had been free.
But council officials said the move was to make the area vibrant and reduce congestion.
Coun John Harrison, North Tyneside Council’s cabinet member for housing and transport, said: “We have taken positive steps to address the problems identified in the parking surveys carried out at the Fish Quay.
“The aim is to reduce congestion, improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, improve the turnover of parked vehicles in the centre of the Fish Quay, provide better cycle and pedestrian links between outlying areas and the central area and improve public transport facilities.
“By providing free parking at the Low Lights Car Park, motorists, particularly those staying for longer, will be less inclined to park in the centre, which will help alleviate the congestion issues.
“I am sure that these measures will provide a real boost to residents, visitors and the excellent businesses in the area.”
Residents and businesses were consulted during the development of the scheme, which has been generally well supported.