Pavement parking: no ‘silver bullet’ solution

08.02 | 4 July 2019 | | 2 comments

Road safety minister Michael Ellis has conceded that the issue of pavement parking is complex and controversial – but says the DfT will look at the matter ‘in the coming months’.

Mr Ellis was giving evidence to the Transport Committee as part of its ongoing inquiry to explore the problems of pavement parking in England, and consider possible solutions.

Announcing the inquiry in April, the Transport Committee said pavement parking ‘creates real problems’ for those with visual difficulties, who use mobility aids, or need to navigate footpaths with children.

Speaking to the inquiry, Mr Ellis recognised the accessibility issues pavement parking causes for disabled road users – but said there was ‘no silver bullet’ solution.

He also expressed concern about levels of understanding of current legislation, saying ‘it isn’t clear to every road user where the paraments are and how they apply’.

Mr Ellis said: “Speaking frankly, the complexities of the issue mean it is an area that needs to be decided upon – which direction to take.

“It is a complex matter, one routed in considerable expense and one that would not necessarily find favour with large sections of stakeholder interest.

“The DfT has prioritised a number of areas relating to safety, emissions and accessibility and we are now moving towards looking at this issue in the coming months.”

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.

A blanket ban is widely supported by active travel and disabled charities – including Guide Dogs, Sustrans and Living Streets – although IAM RoadSmart and the RAC have doubts, with the latter 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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    Pavement parking ‘creates real problems’ for those with visual difficulties, who use mobility aids, or need to navigate footpaths with children. Indeed it does cause a problem for ‘all’ pedestrians. When cars are parked properly on highway they can act as a traffic calming measure, causing vehicles to either slow down or give way. However by obstructing the footway they are leaving the road wide open for traffic to speed and forcing pedestrians into the mix at the same time it DANGEROUS! Even if they do leave a gap, why should oncoming pedestrians have to stop and wait to give way to each other? This problem has been left to fester for far too long and now it habitual.

    Ian Taylor, Birmingham
    Agree (4) | Disagree (2)

    “..the issue of pavement parking is complex and controversial.” Is it? Obstruction of the highway has long been an offence and I would suggest it is only controversial in the minds of selfish drivers who either can’t judge road widths and/or can’t be bothered parking properly and walking.

    “..pavement parking ‘creates real problems’ for those with visual difficulties, who use mobility aids, or need to navigate footpaths with children” It creates a problem for ANYONE who wants to use the footway for their proper purpose i.e. walking on it!

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (15) | Disagree (7)

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