Pavement Parking: Finding a solution
PATROL consulted its members on the issue of pavement parking during a series of workshops in Autumn 2018. These workshops brought together 75 Councillors and Officers representing district, county and unitary authorities outside London, to explore the challenges of pavement parking and the powers that would help them manage it in a way that would respond to the particular needs of their communities.
The findings of these workshops have been written up in to a briefing document: Pavement Parking: Local powers for local solutions, which can be accessed here.
PATROL’s submission to the Transport Committee’s current inquiry on pavement parking can be found here.
Pavement parking poses several problems for local authorities.
- Inconsiderate parking creates potentially dangerous hazards for pedestrians, particularly those that are vulnerable, such as the elderly, disabled or families with pushchairs.
- Damage to paths and pavements is also hazardous and costly to repair.
- Members of the public refer cases of vehicles causing an obstruction and assume that local authorities can take enforcement action. Currently, this is a matter for the police rather than local authority.
A ban on pavement parking was introduced in London in 1974 and (as of April 2019) the Scottish Government has agreed in principle to implement a nationwide ban on pavement parking.
Authorities in England (outside London) and Wales, however, have only limited powers to enforce pavement parking, where:
- vehicles are parked in contravention of existing waiting restrictions;
- a designated area-wide ban is in place, based on Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) and signage;
- the vehicle parked is a ‘heavy commercial vehicle’, with an operating weight of over 7.5 tonnes.
The PATROL pavement parking workshops confirmed that pavement parking remains an issue; however, the challenge differs from authority to authority, and a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, such as a nationwide pavement parking ban, could create additional challenges for communities; for example, where there is:
- a need for pavement parking on some roads, such as narrow residential streets
- high-cost and resource implications around implementing a blanket ban in areas where high levels of permitted pavement parking are required.
A number of practical concerns were raised by members during the course of the workshops, including:
- Inflexibility, in terms of the varying needs of local communities and their built environment, and the implications for disapplying the statutory instrument, should a nationwide ban not be appropriate in a specific locality. There will inevitably be some streets where there will be a range of views, implications of road layout and use factors that contribute to the debate about whether pavement parking should / could be banned or not;
- the significant costs associated with disapplying the statutory instrument to allow pavement parking within particular areas of a local community (including surveys, Traffic Regulation Orders and consultation);
- the increased signage that would accompany the introduction of such areas of permitted pavement parking.
A timely solution: Adding obstruction of the highway to the list of civil enforcement contraventions
A readily available solution proposed by PATROL authorities would be to add obstruction of the highway to the list of contraventions for which civil enforcement applies, contained in Part 1 of Schedule 7 of the Traffic Management Act 2004.
A summary of this solution can be found within PATROL’s briefing document on pavement parking here.
By using secondary legislation, the Government could take immediate action on pavement parking while considering the implications and feasibility of alternative approaches. In particular, the potential impact of a nationwide ban could be properly assessed, in terms of resources and sensitivity to local conditions.
The Transport Committee has launched an inquiry into pavement parking.
Find out more about the inquiry here.
Read PATROL’s submission to the inquiry here.