Campaign For Safe Pavements

Does it drive you mad when a car is parked across a pavement? Not only does it look ungainly, like the owner has just abandoned it, but it can cause serious inconvenience to people trying to use the pavements as intended who may have no option than to use the road to go around the vehicle! The problem is even more acute for those who can’t be expected to easily or safely navigate around the parked car via the road, such as wheelchair users or partially sighted people.

It’s a strange situation when people use their garage for storage and park on the road or pavement outside their houses. Surely their driveways and garages are for the cars? Unfortunately, people don’t seem to think so, because if parking restrictions are introduced, such as double-yellow lines, they just tarmac their front gardens and park there instead of using their garages. Of course, that’s assuming the garage hasn’t already been converted into living accommodation! Perhaps some of the blame lies with house-builders who seem to think garages only need to be two inches wider than a car, or the councils who approve the plans. I remember reading a newspaper article where a couple who bought a new-build house were upset that they couldn’t actually fit their car into it. The car was wider than the garage. How can that be? I don’t think their car was particularly wide. How could it be when it has to fit into parking spaces and lanes on a road? I think the garage was just very small, yet, the plans were, presumably, approved.  (hey, I found the article!)

The Guide Dogs charity have a campaign running at the moment called, “Pavement Parking“, where they call for, “a clear law where drivers cannot park on the pavement unless in a specifically designated area, in line with Greater London”.

Here’s how Guide Dog owners feel about pavement parking…

In the video, Simon says parked vehicles on the pavement cause him to feel, “mixed up,  agitated and worried“. It’s not acceptable that people with vision difficulties and their guide dogs are being forced to navigate around inconsiderately parked vehicles. According to the Guide Dogs research90% of people with sight loss cite pavement parking as the main obstacle they encounter in the street.

With 78% of councillors and 69% of the public supporting a pavement parking law, why hasn’t it happened? Perhaps it’s to do with the fact that councils make money from the people paying council tax and parking on the pavement in front of their homes, whereas they see little income from people using the pavements. Perhaps it’s due to lawmakers considering that people living on narrow streets may be forced to part on pavements. Perhaps it’s that people who park on pavements think they’re being considerate by not blocking the road, when, in fact, they’re being inconsiderate to pedestrians. It doesn’t help that the legal situation is confusing, especially outside London. The police have an article explaining the situation. The Department of Transport of the UK parliament is currently “evidence gathering” with respect to changing the law in England, whereas the Scottish Government has announced it will ban parking on the pavement.

So what can be done?

I think the best solution would be for individual council to have to power to draw line on pavements indicating where there’s enough room for people to safely stay on the pavement, including wheelchair users and partially sighted people. It would be an offence to park over the line on the pavement, or anywhere without such pavement indicators. Where houses don’t have driveways or garages, such as terraced housing, the council could make exceptions on a street by street basis.

It’s certainly a thorny issue. What do you think…?

No Parking
No Parking