Blauwe vakken

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Eigenlijk sta je er nooit zo bij stil. Daarom gaat het ook wel eens fout als ik in Leek even wat boodschappen moet doen. Helemaal fout is het gelukkig nog niet gegaan. Nog geen enkele keer kwam ik met mijn tassen terug bij de auto en vond ik een papiertje onder mijn ruitenwisser. Het is echter een kwestie van tijd voordat een overijverige parkeerambtenaar glimlachend een rekeningetje op mijn voorruit plakt in de wetenschap dat –ie straks een extra pak toastjes in zijn kerstpakket krijgt. Ik heb een parkeerkaart in mijn dashboardkastje liggen. Sterker nog, ik had er tot zaterdag zelfs twee. Ik denk er alleen nooit aan deze zichtbaar achter mijn voorruit te plaatsen als ik mijn auto in het centrum van Leek parkeer. Het gaat inderdaad over de blauwe zone. Bedoeld om lang parkeren tegen te gaan en dus kort parkeren te bevorderen.

Afgelopen week was ik in Zuidhorn. Nadat ik mijn auto  op het Holtplein parkeerde en rommelde in mijn kofferbak hoorde ik een oude vrouw achter mij de vraag stellen: “Meneer, hoe lang mogen wij hier parkeren?” De vrouw was samen met haar man aan komen rijden en vroeg zich af hoe het parkeren in Zuidhorn was geregeld. “Dat mag u zelf weten”, antwoordde ik de vrouw  die uit Alkmaar bleek te komen. Parkeren is hemels in Zuidhorn. Al besefte ik mij dat pas een paar dagen later. Onder de supermarkten in het centrum is een parkeergarage gerealiseerd. En dan niet zo’n krap Q-Park doolhof met woekerprijzen, maar eentje waar je daadwerkelijk in één keer een bocht kunt nemen én twee uur gratis kan parkeren. Drie uur kan overigens ook, want een parkeerkaart is niet noodzakelijk. Maar waarom zou je dat doen? Wie langer wil parkeren kan dat prima doen nabij het centrum van Zuidhorn. Precies zoals het echtpaar uit Alkmaar heeft gedaan. De daghoreca in het dorp vaart er wel bij, want niemand staat op tijd. Een terrasje, een kopje koffie en een gebakje. Het kan allemaal in Zuidhorn. Er worden immers geen dure bonnetjes onder ruitenwissers gedrukt. Ook Grootegast en Marum kennen uitstekende parkeerfaciliteiten. In het gehele centrum kan je moeiteloos je auto kwijt. Blauwe vakken? Welnee. Daar doen ze in deze dorpen gelukkig niet aan. Behoudens dan die drie blauwe vakjes voor de ingang van de Zuidhorner Albert Heijn. Het is zaterdag als ik na een voetbalmiddag nog even snel wat ingrediënten voor het avondeten denk op te halen in Leek. Ik ben al halverwege de parkeerplaats als ik een man -licht geïrriteerd- tegen zijn vrouw hoor zeggen: “Ja, maar waar haal ik dan zo’n parkeerkaart dan!” Net als het Alkmaarder echtpaar in Zuidhorn zijn dit dus ook bezoekers van buitenaf. Ik besluit terug te lopen naar de auto en voor de zekerheid één van mijn parkeerkaarten achter het raam te leggen. De andere neem ik mee en geef ik, tijdens mijn tweede poging de winkel te bereiken, aan het stel dat nog altijd geen idee heeft waar een parkeerkaart te halen. Een aantal weken geleden schreef ik deze column over de zondagsrust. Over het feit dat het openstellen van supermarkten op zondag helemaal in deze tijd past. Dat Leek het voorbeeld moet zijn voor de andere Westerkwartiergemeenten die op dit gebied duidelijk nog een beetje zijn achtergebleven. Maar het is dus niet allemaal hosanna in Leek. Het supermarktenbeleid is mooi, maar het parkeren blijft een crime. De blauwe zone is ooit bedoeld om de doorstroming van het winkelend publiek te bevorderen en langparkeerders uit het centrum te weren. Een groep langparkeerders die overigens vooral bestaat uit personeelsleden van de ene winkel die hun auto parkeert voor een andere winkel, en vice versa. Het resultaat? Een gehaast en levenloos winkelcentrum. Er is geen tijd voor een terrasje, een kopje koffie en een gebakje. Twee uur is twee uur. Wie uitgebreid aan het winkelen is geweest loopt al snel tegen het einde van de maximaal toegestane parkeertijd. En wie eenmaal bij de auto is verzet niet de parkeerkaart, maar keert huiswaarts. Wethouder Morssink is trots op Leek. “Het dorp heeft een regiofunctie ‘plus’”, wist hij recent te melden. “Mensen komen van buiten Leek naar ons centrum.” Ik geloof hem. De leegstand in Leek valt mee en het winkelaanbod is groot en divers te noemen. Maar gastvrij? Gezellig? Dat is een ander verhaal. De volle en gezellige terrasjes in Roden, Surhuisterveen en Zuidhorn onderstrepen het belang van een goed en vrij parkeerbeleid. Het is altijd gezellig winkelen in deze dorpen. Heel anders dan Leek waar bezoekers bij binnenkomst al onder tijdsdruk worden gezet en de horeca buitenspel is gezet.

Meediscussiëren over de herindeling of jouw mening laten horen? Laat het weten op Twitter @richardlamberst!

[RECTIFICATIE: De parkeergarage in Zuidhorn blijkt eveneens een blauwe zone te zijn, waarbij parkeren zonder tijdkaart wordt afgeraden.]

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