Debate continues over pavement parking ban

12.08 | 12 June 2019 | | 11 comments

IAM RoadSmart has come out in opposition of a blanket ban on pavement parking, suggesting it could leave thousands without a parking space.

The idea has been mooted as part of an enquiry into pavement parking, launched by the Transport Committee earlier this year.

However, IAM RoadSmart says the issue is localised and that a blanket ban could cause a major parking headache for drivers across the country.

In its submission to the committee, the road safety charity does however acknowledge that where pedestrians are ‘being put in danger or denied access by inconsiderate pavement parking’, local solutions should be implemented.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, argues local councils do not have the funding or the road capacity to provide the extra spaces people need to park.

He said: “New traffic orders, new signposting, new road markings and new enforcement administration will all be required at extra cost if a blanket ban is introduced.

“Councils are already struggling to implement low emission zones, cycling and walking policies, active travel policies, 20mph zones and a host for other transport measures against a background of budget cuts and dwindling resources.”

Where do we stand on pavement parking?
Parking on footways or pavements was banned in London in 1974, and is prohibited for large goods vehicles across England.

At present, a mix of criminal and civil sanctions are available to police and local councils to enforce restrictions on pavement parking on private or commercial drivers.

However, these laws could be set to change, with the Transport Committee launching an inquiry into pavement parking in England earlier this year.

A blanket ban is widely supported by active travel and disabled charities – including Guide Dogs, Sustrans and Living Streets – although like IAM RoadSmart, the RAC has doubts, saying the case for an outright ban is ‘not so clear cut’.

Meanwhile in Scotland, a national ban on pavement parking appears close, after proposals were agreed in principle by Holyrood.

In April, ministers voted to pass the Transport (Scotland) Bill to Stage 2 of the process – where MSPs will consider the details of the proposals and outline any amendments.



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    If using footpaths as footpaths means motorists will have to park on the road, so what? We need to get away from the idea that anyone can obtain a car and the world has to get out of their so-and-so way or they’ll stamp their feet and squeam and squeam. Cars are not gods nor drivers their high priests. Mounting the footpath has become mounting the footpath at a convenient low point and driving along it. People now routinely reverse along footpaths. The footpath should be a safe haven for pedestrians, not somewhere they can walk only if some motorist doesn’t require it and at risk of being struck by a vehicle. Motorists need to stop behaving like spoilt children; most of them have got legs.

    James Hibbert, Manchester
    Agree (0) | Disagree (2)

    I disagree with Hugh that most residential layouts are wide enough not to have to park on the footway. In the ancient Roman city of St Albans many City Centre residential streets are very narrow.Outside the Centre streets in the older estates are adequately wide not to have to park on the footway but the more modern estates where houses are crammed together to maximise housing density per acre the streets are, as in ancient times, too quite narrow. Not far from St Albans in the New Town of Hemel Hempstead the whole New Town has been designed for Pavement Parking. The roads are adequately wide and the pavements are very wide, wide enough for a good pedestrian walkway and also for marked parking bays, including Disabled bays all along the pavement. AS a consequence there is very little parking on the carriageway, most parking is totally on the pavement, and traffic flows better.
    Robert Bolt

    Robert Bolt, St Albans
    Agree (7) | Disagree (2)

    People are missing the point – the problem is when drivers park on the footway when there simply isn’t any reason to i.e. where the c/way is wide enough to park on anyway without impeding flow. Most residential layouts are wide enough not to have to park on the f/way but people still park with two wheels on the f/way – why? it’s simply a bad habit and an unnecessary practice.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (11) | Disagree (1)

    I was making light of the fact that there was no reference to any of the exemptions in one of his comments, such as accessing a driveway.

    > Try putting yourself in the position of those in wheelchairs, pushing buggies and those that are less able

    I have, thank you very much. I try to forget the displeasure of last few years of my late mum’s life as her grave illness took its toll on her but one thing that always came into my mind is that I’d rather have cars on the pavement in residential areas than park in a manner which would block an emergency vehicle.

    Because as I presume you must know, emergency vehicles tend to be longer, wider and more colourful than standard vehicles, and sadly their colour won’t help them get around an exceedingly tight chicane made of cars

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (5) | Disagree (6)

    Yes it’s illegal, David. Section 72 of the Highways Act 1835 quoted in Highway Code #145. “You MUST NOT drive on or over a pavement, footpath or bridleway except to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency.” Try putting yourself in the position of those in wheelchairs, pushing buggies and those that are less able. Substitute the words ‘garden shed’ for ‘motor car’ and you will soon see how ridiculous it is to allow parking on pavements.

    Adrian Berendt, Tunbridge Wells
    Agree (9) | Disagree (5)

    Encouraging car owners to park on their driveway where available, instead of on the road, would be a start. Two-car households with room for two vehicles on their driveway still park one on the road, just for their own convenience. Overgrown foliage obstructing the footways don’t help either.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (14) | Disagree (0)

    Good call IAM RoadSmart.
    Pavement parking is a serious problem with much of it just by habit and entirely unnecessary and wholly inappropriate and needs to be dealt with firmly. However a blanket ban is a simplistic proposal which would be ineffective and undeliverable because adequate resources will not be made available to enforce it.

    Pavement parking is a complex multi-faceted problem, which requires local commitment and discernment on the application of any enforcement regime and dependent on the specific situation – which is what the police do all the time in other areas of policing.

    Many parking problems in communities could be fixed if enough money was thrown at the problem (not that anyone has any cash to spare.) However some parking problems are unsolvable without banning cars for private transport -which some campaigners are on record as already asking for.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (8) | Disagree (6)

    > It is illegal to drive on the pavement

    Is it? That’s news to me, Rod!

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (5) | Disagree (4)


    I am not here to defend IAM Roadsmart, but their views largely reflect my own. You suggest that pavement parking blights our streets. I would suggest that in many cases parking entirely on the road surface would increase this blight as it would cause blockages and congestion and also probably further problems for on-carriageway cyclists. The point here is that the thing that needs local policy control is “parking” in its widest sense, rather than pavement parking as an isolated topic. If an authority really does have a real problem with pavement parking then it should bite the bullet and prohibit any parking using yellow lines. In other words it really does not need any more powers if there is real evidence of a real problem with pedestrians being unable to safely travel along a footway.

    Other responses to the consultation suggest that a blockage is only really a blockage if it impinges on a 4 foot allowance for peds. Seems sensible to me. We have historically constrained urban fabric and we have to find balance and compromise. The case in favour of more regulation is not yet made.

    Peter, Liverpool
    Agree (8) | Disagree (8)

    Those thousands of people haven’t actually got a “parking place”. It is illegal to drive on the pavement, so unless their car is fitted with some amazing levitation and guidance system to enable it to get onto the pavement without being driven then it is positioned there illegally.

    When oh when will the motoring lobbies stop defending setting appropriate laws because of their members breaking laws we already have. This is the motoring exceptionalism that looks at the world from behind a steering and ignores the detrimental cumulative effect of individual actions.

    An organisation such as IAM RoadSmart, that claims to be the UK’s largest road safety charity, should be defending the need to comply with the current law on not driving on the pavement rather than using non-compliance to defend inaction on a topic that blights so many of our streets. Or is the IAM so road smart that it thinks it can pick and choose which laws to obey?

    Rod King, Lymm, Cheshire
    Agree (7) | Disagree (15)

    Generally one doesn’t need to park on the footway anyway, but it seems to have become the norm for motorists to do so, even when there is no need for it. Also there’s no entitlement to a ‘parking space’ on the highway anyway, as IAM suggest in the opening sentence. There was a time when the sight of a vehicle parked partly on the footway would have been rare – now it’s the other way around.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (8) | Disagree (6)

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