/ Motoring

Would you ban parking on the pavement?

The Scottish government is planning to ban pavement parking – and the rest of the country could follow suit. Would you support pavement parking prohibition?

As a 17 year-old at college I remember the police coming in to give us a talk on the local parking situation. The college car park was off-limits to students, and the roads surrounding were residential and extremely busy.

With plenty of students having just passed their tests many were flocking to these narrow roads every morning in a bid to park up as close as possible.

Is it illegal?

We were strongly discouraged from parking on the pavement by the police. I remember clearly being told that if there wasn’t enough room for a double pram to get through, then you’d have to move.

But what does the law actually say? In London, it’s crystal clear. The highway code states:

Rule 246: you MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.

But outside of London, it’s a little more ambiguous. Councils have the power to enforce bans on pavement parking, but it’s not an option that’s widely taken up, or even enforced.

Consideration over convenience

Pavement parking is an issue that many groups feel strongly about, with a survey by Guide Dogs revealing that 97% of blind or partially sighted people encounter problems with street obstructions.

The government has acknowledged the issues, saying that a review is underway which will help tackle inappropriate parking.

It’s so common to see streets of parked cars with two wheels on the pavement, with many people clearly opting for the convenience of being close to their destination or home. Do you think people should be parking more considerately?

Let us know if you’d like to see the rest of the UK following Scotland’s plans for a blanket ban.

Comments
Michael says:
2 December 2018

I never park on the pavement unless I absolutely have no choice it is inconsiderate and selfish, the road is for cars and the Footpath/pavement is for pedestrians unless there’s a proviso for it to be a cycle path too, the roads are built for cars and the amount of money our council have wasted repairing footpaths due to ignorant (and I don’t necessarily mean stupid) drivers use the path as a car park, often making pedestrians use the road as they can’t pass, they park on the corners, kerbs and double yellow lines completely ignored and with no consideration for anyone else,

There is a cycle path/footpath at the top of our road, on Kempas Highway which is often used as a car park irrespective of cyclists and pedestrians, they drive over the kerb and double yellow lines both completely illegal and some even have drives without legal access,

I have complained to the council (Coventry) yet nothing has been done, before they repaired the path on Kempas Highway there were bollards to stop cars driving on here but they did not replace them, I have asked that they enforce no parking at the top of the roads leading onto the highway as cars are blocking the view with potential fatal consequences,
My question, “does someone have to die before they do something constructive with the money they take from us”?

I was visiting friends recently and we went into town on a bus that travels through residential areas before heading into town. There is no shortage of on-street parking but some drivers park thoughtlessly, as shown in this photo:

The bus driver did try to get through he gap but gave up and reversed. I went to the house adjacent to the white car and someone moved it out of the way.

Last time I took the same bus route we were stuck a little further along the road, where there was a car on one side of the road and a large van with its wheels on the pavement. I knocked on a few doors without success and eventually the driver had to phone his company and get permission to reverse far enough to take an alternative route.

DerekP says:
6 April 2019

Car drivers do tend to forget that larger vehicles may also need to use the streets.

(“It’s all about me and my car”)

Yes, it’s not just buses that will be affected.

Apparently it’s quite common for buses to be held up on this route and the danger is that the company could withdraw what is a useful service. The bus will stop outside your house if you are on the route.

There needs to be room for emergency vehicles – fire engines are quite big! But who parked there last to create the obstruction

I don’t know, but probably the driver who parked on the pavement. Obviously they did not think of fire engines, etc. The driver of the white car could have parked on the drive.

There is also the danger of the introduction of parking restrictions that will make everybody unhappy. Something similar happened near me and now there are very few spaces to park for shops and residents although there were plenty before the restrictions and local buses could still get through.

Councils tend to go too far when they have the chance to impose parking restrictions.

If there is a local residents association, perhaps they could ask residents and their visitors to park more considerately if they don’t want parking restrictions introduced.

I agree, and have seen examples of how restrictions have exacerbated problems, but in this example there is no shortage of parking at any time of day.

I live on a narrow lane with just enough room for cars to pass. Sometimes tradesmen will park on the drive but they usually have to be asked to move their van.

Vincent Edwards says:
6 April 2019

If only asking motorists to be more considerate were the answer. A lot of pavement parking occurs simply because many motorists have got into the habit of doing it. They see everyone else parking on the pavement and they do the same, regardless of any “necessity”.
While I accept there are areas where on-street parking is extremely scarce, it’s not only in those areas that motorists park on the pavement. I live on a road wide enough for two buses to pass comfortably. There is plenty of room for cars to park fully on the road. But some neighbours park on the pavement, often across the entrance to the empty driveway they can’t be bothered to turn into. School run time sees both pavements parked on, although drivers could park safely within two or three minutes’ walk.
On housing estates built between approximately 1920 and 1970 most properties have large front gardens with plenty of room to park. Yet these are the scenes of some of the most selfish and obstructive pavement parking. Again, I often see vehicles parked on the ramp leading to an empty hard standing. More modern estates often have less land available, but it would help if residents made use of the land which they have rather than assuming they own the pavement as well. And they would often find there are safe and reasonable places to park if only they were prepared to walk a few yards back home.
The Guide Dogs Association has suggested that local authorities should be allowed to grant exemption to a general ban on pavement parking. This could go some way to dealing with areas where few residents have front gardens, though I hope this power would be used sparingly. In large areas of our towns and cities there are plenty of alternatives to pavement parking, but I suspect only a parking ticket will convince some drivers of this.

That’s a major problem, Vincent; the cultural normalisation of aberrant driving behaviours. Sadly, you’re all too right. In many places, motorists have simply come to accept parking half on a pavement as normal.

DerekP says:
7 April 2019

In many of Gloucester’s old Victorian streets, cars are parked half on the pavement on both sides of the road. Without that, residents would not be able to park all their cars.

Vincent Edwards says:
7 April 2019

That’s true of any town or city.
It’s not going to change overnight. Parking on pavements as standard practice has been going on and getting more prevalent for half a century or more in areas of terraced Victorian housing. People living in such areas (I used to) acquire one or more cars with no thought of where they are going to park them, while the authorities just look the other way and do nothing as pavements and other public land get taken over for parking. The Guide Dogs Association’s solution – to allow controlled pavement parking in specified locations – seems to offer the best way of dealing with the issue, though it won’t please everyone.
My point remains – a lot of pavement parking arises merely out of laziness, thoughtlessness, bad habits and a copycat mentality. You don’t need to go to the Victorian streets of Gloucester to see pavements covered with parked vehicles. Go to post-war housing estates where everyone has, or could have off-street parking.
Most of it could be eradicated without really inconveniencing anyone. Sadly polite requests won’t work. A parking ticket on the windscreen will help some motorists to rediscover their empty driveways, or help them realise that the road is wider than they thought.