Campaigners lobby Government over dangers of pavement parking

Campaigners have given evidence to a Government inquiry, saying pavement parking is “out of control” in Sheffield.

By The Star Newsroom
Tuesday, 14 May, 2019, 11:48
Campaigners have submitted evidence to a Govt inquiry (credit @parkinginSheff)

CycleSheffield has submitted written evidence to the Transport Committee, which is holding an inquiry to explore the problems of pavement parking and consider possible solutions.

The voluntary campaign organisation, which has more than 1,250 supporters, has submitted a number of photos showing inconsiderate parking.

Campaigners have submitted evidence to a Govt inquiry (credit @parkinginSheff)

On one photo a man in a mobility scooter is forced to go on the road as a car is blocking the pavement.

Sheffield Council has also submitted evidence to the inquiry but has declined to give the details.

CycleSheffield says in its evidence: “We campaign for a cycle friendly Sheffield where anyone can choose to make their journey by bike. We want cycling to be inclusive and easy, not limited to the quick and the brave.

“Pavement parking is inconsiderate and often dangerous. It has a significant negative effect on attempts to promote and enable active travel in our city.

Campaigners have submitted evidence to a Govt inquiry (credit @parkinginSheff)

“In Sheffield the problem seems to be out of control, we see more and more of it, receive and make more and more complaints and the authorities seem to struggle to deal with the issue.

“It negatively affects walking by causing obstructions to pavements. Often the pavements are completely obstructed.”

The groups says pavement parking is “particularly inconsiderate and often dangerous” for vulnerable people, such as children, elderly people and those who are visually impaired or have mobility problems.

It also disproportionately affects people with prams, wheelchair users and mobility scooter users, often forcing them out into the road.

CycleSheffield adds: “Badly or illegally parked cars are one of the main complaints we get from people who are trying to make their journeys by bike in Sheffield.

“It negatively affects cycling by causing obstructions to on road cycle paths by cars parked partially on the pavement.

“There is a lack of clarity as to what can be enforced, for example whether parking restrictions indicated by road markings apply to the entire highway or just the road.

“There is also a lack of clarity as to who is responsible for enforcement, for example the police or local authority.

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“We encourage people to report incidents however this lack of clarity makes reporting incidents difficult and frustrating and ultimately puts people off.

“Local authorities and the police are also able to take advantage of this lack of clarity to avoid taking action if they do not wish to do so.”

CycleSheffield say fines need to be “significantly higher” to act as a deterrent.

“It is difficult and expensive for local authorities to introduce area-wide Traffic Regulation Orders to prevent pavement parking.

“In Sheffield we have been waiting several years for a city centre order banning pavement parking. The default position on all streets should be that pavement parking is not permitted.

“Local authorities should be able to use CCTV cars to carry out parking enforcement to make their activities more effective.

“People should be able to report pavement parking, submitting photographic evidence and the authority should be able to issue tickets without having to send out enforcement officers.”

What does the law say?

The Transport Committee says pavement parking is when one or more wheels of a vehicle are on the footpath.

As well as creating obstacles for people wanting to use footpaths, councils face additional costs to repair damage to surfaces which are not designed to take the weight of motor vehicles.

A mix of criminal and civil sanctions are available to police and local councils to enforce restrictions on pavement parking on private or commercial drivers.

Parking on footways or pavements was banned in London in 1974, and it’s prohibited for large goods vehicles across England.

Lack of progress in tackling pavement parking has led many groups to campaign on the issue and although it is regularly raised with MPs by their constituents, the Government has not taken any action on this issue in recent years.

Lillian Greenwood, chairman of the Transport Committee, said “This is an area where some people’s actions cause real difficulties for others. Parking on pavements risks the safety of all groups of people from the littlest to the oldest, with differing needs.

“While we’re inquiring into Active Travel – how we get more people to get into walking and cycling – we need to make sure it’s safe to take to the streets.”