The UK’s largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, is calling for a targeted and local approach to combat pavement parking.
It comes as the Department for Transport consultation entitled ‘Pavement parking: options for change’ has recently finished, with a summary of responses due to be published within three months.
The option preferred by IAM RoadSmart is a legislative change to allow local authorities with civil parking enforcement powers to enforce against the ‘unnecessary obstruction of the pavement’, which the charity suggests should be defined as less than the width of a standard wheel chair or child’s buggy.
The two other options were a complete blanket ban on pavement parking in England, such as already exists in London and is due in Scotland in 2021, or improvements to the existing Traffic Regulation Order through traffic signs or road markings.
IAM RoadSmart believes the more targeted local approach is beneficial for a number of reasons, including that a blanket ban could remove parked cars from many roads where they have a traffic calming effect, clearing parking cars can also lead to an increase in the speed of traffic.
It also argues that a local approach will get more public support as enforcement would be carried out in the most effective way.
Neil Greig, Policy and Research Director at IAM RoadSmart, said: “A focused and local approach would allow selfish individuals and problem areas to be targeted without causing displacement problems in areas where there are no actual problems for pedestrians.”
Many neighbourhoods have developed informal pavement parking arrangements which still allow the free flow of traffic and emergency vehicles down narrow streets without causing any pavement obstruction. Disrupting these long-standing arrangements could lead to local tensions and stress. IAM RoadSmart is also concerned that hard pressed councils will lack the resources to effectively implement a blanket ban.
Furthermore, a blanket ban could cause the massive displacement of traffic which would blight the surrounding roads as residents circulate around looking for new parking opportunities.
Neil added: “Local councils should be encouraged to use their existing powers and these new ones to sign, define, review and enforce local bans as required.
“We have no problem with local solutions for local problems, but a blanket ban of pavement parking is a ‘hammer to crack a nut’.”