Twenty charities have jointly lobbied government for a nationwide blanket ban on pavement parking (maybe with exceptions). This is currently under review by government. Such a ban has been in place in London since 1974, where some councils have actually catered for part-pavement parking. Elsewhere councils have the power to ban in specific streets or areas via Road Traffic Orders.

A few have even adopted part-pavement parking – one in Bath has been hailed a success.

The issue is being led by claims, from the disabled in particular, that people are in danger from being forced to walk in roadway. That, of course, is unacceptable. Anyone who blocks a pavement to that extent is being selfish and deserves a penalty. What we at the ABD don’t want to see is councils getting blanket ban powers and then simply banning and wardens going on ticket issuing sprees. How much do you trust your council?

Many areas have pavements that are wider than necessary along with roads that are narrow. Blanket bans would give serious problems to the likes of delivery drivers, visiting carers, public services – and surely emergency services would be exempt? Not to mention disabled drivers.

Remember also that pavements get obstructed by many things: bus shelters, lampposts, signs – and wheelie bins which we are told to place there by those same councils who would enforce parking bans.

Where it can be done without causing obstruction pavement parking it can be sensible and considerate: cutting congestion by aiding traffic flow while increasing provision of precious parking spaces. Otherwise many residents of narrow streets might be unable to park anywhere near their homes.

The idea of marking out bays partly on pavement is widely used in many other countries – and it works, without obstructing anyone. We suggest that all that is needed on most residential streets is a minimum one-metre walkway. That’s equivalent to a double buggy or a mobility scooter. We don’t object to councils dealing with those who seriously obstruct. Therefore we oppose default blanket bans, but should it come about, urge the “middle ground” solution outlined above – with a statutory requirement for councils to provide pavement parking provision on any road where it is requested and/or achievable whilst still allowing that minimum one-metre width for pedestrian passage.

Parking bays marked partly on the pavement and partly on the road, in Riga, Latvia.
Parking bays marked partly on the pavement and partly on the road, in Riga, Latvia.

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