The UK government has been looking at the thorny issue of parking on the pavement, which tends to polarise opinion. Technically, it is illegal, but on many streets a set of perfectly parked cars on both sides would make the road impassable to emergency vehicles, which means those who parked legally may well expire, rather than be rescued by paramedics in the wee small hours.
Mobility scooter users, those less able than the average person and parents with buggies, are all pavement users who are frustrated by cars parked on the pavement. But would a blanket ban across England and Wales be workable, or simply block narrow streets in city centres, and areas where terraced housing built in the 19th century often means there is barely room for two cars to pass each other, even with one line of parked cars?
Edmund King from the AA told the Mail Online that they would like to see designated pavement spaces marked out, where the pavement is wide enough to accept two wheels out of four of course. Meanwhile in Wolverhampton recently Police issued around 20 parking tickets, targeting cars parked on the pavement by those visiting clubs and bars.
If the rest of the UK follows the example of London, where pavement parking has been banned since the 1970s, then a typcial fine could be around £70 – a nice earner for councils looking to replace the rents/rates from empty shops and offices in town centres.
HOW ABOUT ON PRIVATE LAND, STILL ILLEGAL?
At Manchester’s Trafford Centre the shopping Mall management have started issuing penalty notices to shoppers who park outside the designated bays, although it remains to be seen if they feel inclined to pursue all offenders via the civil courts. That could be counter-productive in terms of weekend shopper footfall, plus expensive in legal fees and DVLA data costs.
On private land it’s going to be harder for owners to enforce parking restrictions, without publishing highly detailed instructions, on clearly visible signage. The short answer is that some landowners aren’t bothered, such as the major supermarkets for example, while others such as retail mall operators, train stations and airports, will probably use the opportunity to maximise revenue, backed up with CCTV evidence.
RAC REACTION TO PROPOSED BAN ON PAVEMENT PARKING
Responding to the announcement that the Transport Committee is to open an inquiry into the issue of pavement parking, RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said:
“There is no doubt that selfish parking that blocks pavements can be a major hindrance and danger to pedestrians and vulnerable road users, and we’d support any move that prevents this sort of activity.
“The case for an outright ban, however, is not so clear cut. There are instances, particularly on Britain’s many narrow residential streets, where drivers believe they are doing the right thing by putting a wheel or two on the kerb so as not to impede road access for other vehicles and emergency services, while also making sure they leave enough space for people to use the pavement, especially wheelchair users and those with buggies. This inquiry should look carefully at how we can strike the right balance.”