Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced new proposals to deal with pavement parking, ensuring safer streets for parents and disabled people.
The government will consult on the proposals, which are designed to improve the lives of those who live with mobility and sight impairments, as well as parents pushing prams who may be forced onto the road to manoeuvre round cars parked on pavements, in summer 2020.
Options such as enabling local authorities with civil parking enforcement laws to come down on unnecessary obstruction of the pavement will be explored during the 12-week consultation period. Excluding London, only police currently have the power to enforce such a rule.
A nationwide ban on pavement parking enforced by local authorities will also be considered, along with necessary exceptions and designated spots for pavement parking where needed and a tailored approach for both rural and suburban areas as they face such varied challenges.
Department for Transport review
The proposals follow a review by the Department for Transport which concluded in 2019 and which looked at the problems caused by pavement parking, effectiveness of legislation, and case for reform.
The review revealed that pavement parking was a difficulty for 95% of visually impaired respondents and 98% of those who use wheelchairs.
The Transport Select Committee also recently conducted an inquiry into the issue, with the commitment to consult on proposals forming a key part of the government’s response to its findings.
Mr Shapps said:
“Vehicles parked on the pavement can cause very real difficulties for many pedestrians.
That’s why I am taking action to make pavements safer and I will be launching a consultation to find a long-term solution for this complex issue.
We welcome the Transport Select Committee’s recent report and share their drive to tackle pavement parking and improve people’s daily lives.”
Emma Free, 39, from Suffolk, a guide dog owner and longstanding campaigner on pavement parking said:
“This announcement is a big weight off my shoulders. Cars parked on the pavement frequently force me into oncoming traffic and it makes me feel so disorientated and anxious.
Sometimes it just becomes too much and it makes me feel like I don’t want to go out at all, which defeats the purpose of having a wonderful guide dog. This announcement is fantastic news.”
‘it’s everyone’s journey’
Last month, the government launched an advertising campaign to improve the journeys of disabled passengers on public transport. ‘it’s everyone’s journey’ aims to highlight how we can all play a part in making public transport inclusive, raising awareness about the needs of disabled people when using public transport, particularly people with non-visible impairments or hidden disabilities, and will also prompt members of the public to consider how their behaviour might impact others.
Research from the Department for Transport has indicated the behaviours that can make public transport a daunting place for disabled people are often unconscious, such as not looking out for another passenger who may require a seat or need help.