A targeted and local approach is the best way to combat issues with pavement parking, backed by new powers for local authorities.
The call comes from IAM RoadSmart on the back of the recent Department for Transport consultation on the subject, which is due to publish responses within three months.
At present, pavement parking is only banned in London and will be outlawed in Scotland from 2021. But a House of Commons Transport Committee enquiry into pavement parking a year ago set out that pavement parking creates real problems.
The recent government consultation set out plans to tackle this through three possible options: improving the traffic regulation order process to make it easier for councils to prohibit pavement parking in their areas, giving councils powers to fine drivers who park on paths, and a London-style nationwide ban on pavement parking.
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 independent road safety charity adds that 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. While recent research has indicated that the majority of the public now actually back a ban, the same survey two years ago found only 44% would support one.
Policy and research director Neil Greig 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.”
And IAM RoadSmart said it’s also concerned that hard-pressed councils will lack the resources to effectively implement a blanket ban.
Greig 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’.”