E&E Letters | Inconsiderate pavement parking – Let’s make it ‘cross-party’

E&E

13 October 2016

Inconsiderate pavement parking – Let’s make it ‘cross-party’

I welcome the recent thoughts of Cllr Peter Holland on the issue of inconsiderate pavement parking [Anger over inconsiderate pavement parking in ExeterE&E, 10 October 2016] as they echo the same comments I’ve been making for the past five years.

Cllr Holland is correct that section 30 of the Exeter City Council Act 1987 did outlaw the practice of parking on footpaths [ie pavements] and verges, and this provision was enforced by traffic wardens under the direction of Devon & Cornwall Police.

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section-30-of-exeter-city-council-act-1987

However, Cllr Holland is mistaken in saying “when the responsibility for enforcement of the law was transferred to Devon County Council the law went into ‘decay’.”

The truth is that when parking enforcement was decriminalised in May 2008, those powers transferred to Devon County Council and now Civil Enforcement Officers [CEOs] enforce using powers issued by the Secretary of State for Transport [The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP] under regulations contained within the Traffic Management Act 2004.

And in the rush to transfer powers to DCC, the provisions of the Exeter Act 1987 were missed.

A new power was conveyed by Statutory Instrument 2012 No.12 issued by the Government under the TMA 2004. Within its Schedules, the Statutory Instrument details which restrictions can be enforced by DCC’s CEOs.

statutory-instrument-2012-no-12Civil enforcement of offences in section 30 of the Exeter City Council Act 1987
2. In Schedule 7 to the Traffic Management Act 2004 (road traffic contraventions subject to civilenforcement), in paragraph 4 (parking contraventions outside Greater London), after subparagraph
(2)(e) insert—
“(ea) an offence under section 30(1) of the Exeter City Council Act 1987 (c. xi)(prohibition of parking vehicles on verges, central reservations and footways).”(b)

However, the situation was complicated in that the Department for Transport informed DCC – as the Local Highways Authority – that it would require additional signage, at intervals of around 400m, to enforce the new legislation.

And, of course, there are some roads which would be blocked without pavement parking,

Indeed the P bus – which coincidently serves both my ward of St Thomas and that of Cllr Holland – would be unable to make its way down Barley Farm Road if all the vehicles parked on the road.

If the situation is complicated in Exeter, then it is even more complex nationally.

The only mention of pavement parking in the Highway Code is under Rule 244:
“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.”

The direction MUST NOT is legally enforceable [under the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974 section 15] but should not is an advisory direction, not an enforceable one.

There is little or nothing DCC’s Civil Enforcement Officers can do in this situation – unless the vehicle is causing damage to the pavement, when the driver *could* be prosecuted. In practice, this rarely happen, if at all.

Interestingly [as it pre-dates motorised vehicles], under section 72 of the Highways Act 1837 it is an offence to wilfully [but note, not park] “a carriage of any description upon the footpath.” But this can only be enforced by a warrant Police Officer, who needs to see the carriage actually driving on the footpath – even though to park on the pavement, the vehicle must have been driven onto it.

And it is also an offence under the Highways Act 1980 and also under s.28 of the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847 to “wilfully obstruct free passage along the highway or deposit anything which causes an interruption to, or obstruction of, the highway [including any public footpath or public thoroughfare].

In these cases, enforcement is the responsibility of warranted Police Officers and authorised PCSOs, rather than DCC’s CEOs.

At a meeting of the joint Exeter City Council and Devon CC’s joint Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC] held on 28 July 2015 [see minute 119], County Officers expressed confidence that a Private Members’ Bill  being brought forward by Simon Hoare MP [CON, North Devon], which would resolve the whole issue of inconsiderate pavement parking.

exeter-hatoc-minute-119

I wasn’t convinced at the meeting that the Bill would proceed, and so it came to pass that on 08 December 2015, after a debate in the House of Commons, Simon Hoare withdrew his Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill 2015-16 because he had been promised that “DfT would undertake some work to examine more closely the legal and financial implication of an alternative regime.”

So Cllr Holland’s own Government appears to kicked the issue into the long grass.

I note he hopes to raise the issue when the Minister, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, visits the city later this month.

Let me make this offer – we could make this a cross-party issue and I would be happy to meet the Minister along with him.

Paul Bull
Labour & Co-operative Councillor, St Thomas Ward

SW Exeter P&R – where will that traffic come from?

At the recent public consultation event on the proposed site, there was a curious display – one that on the face of it should undermine the whole concept of the siting of a park & ride scheme anywhere to the west of the city.

It was this one:

APHINGTON P&R: Origin of traffic on Alphington Road
APHINGTON P&R: Origin of traffic on Alphington Road

Let’s take a closer look at the pie-chart – taken at face value it is suggesting that 60% of the traffic currently using the Alphington Road corridor – and thereby potential users of the new P&R site by the Ide Interchange.

But the chart also raises a number of questions – questions that a statistician would be likely to ask.

Percentages in such diagrams hide a number of sins – where is the total number of vehicles surveyed?

Was it 100? Was it 1000? Or 10,000? and remember that 10,000 would only be about the number of vehicles using Alphington Road in a day.

So was the survey taken over an hour? A day? Or a week?

And how was the data collected?

Was it the result of roadside interviews? Or analysis of data collected by some sort of automatic numberplate recognition?

Earlier data collection has been well documented.

In August 2009, Parsons Brinckerhoff prepared  the Alphington Junction Part and Ride Transport Assessment.

The report contained a table of a survey was conducted by Parsons Brinckerhoff at Matford P&R in June 2003. Users of the P&R were asked the origin of their journey and the results are summarised in the table below.

Origin of Matford users
Origin of Matford users [2003]

In 2004, roadside interviews [RSI] were undertaken at several sites, detailed in the map below.

2004 Roadside Interview Sites
2004 Roadside Interview Sites

These RSI identified the total market for potential Park & Ride users was identified using the origin and destination locations of cars.

This data was used in the Devon County Council’s Alphington Interchange Park and Ride Transport Report published in March 2011.

Origin of traffic from 2004 Road Side Interviews
Origin of traffic from 2004 Road Side Interviews

So is that new pie-chart an outlier? I believe so, and I think the problem stems from WHEN the data was collected.

I’ve already suggested there was a problem presenting undated data, so f my guess is correct, the figures stem from 2014 when Junction 29 was being remodelled and unusual traffic movements would mean drivers were seeking new and unusual ways to get into the city centre.

Whatever the reason for the errors, DCC must stop using this chart if they want to convince people that a P&R scheme is necessary on this site!

UPDATE [24 July 2015]
I have heard from DCC over their definition of East and West.

It appears that those coming from the East aren’t following a star or anything, but from A30 East or from Teignbridge and Plymouth direction. Which in turn means come from the (south) west, via A38 not the east and M5

The data was collected from from Roadside Interviews (RSIs) which are the most accurate surveying method for being able to establish where drivers are starting and ending their journey and therefore what the potential market for Park and Ride may be.

Due to the significant disruption and cost associated with organising these surveys, RSIs are rarely undertaken to support Transport Assessments for planning applications (so in this respect, having the data is a luxury).

There is no intention to undertake any further surveys of this type but I am told  that the Transport Assessment will use Automatic Traffic Count 2014 data.

Generally, the Department for Transport considers traffic data collected within 5 years of the submitted analysis to be suitably representative of conditions

First thoughts on pavement parking

I’m often contacted about the issue of parking on pavement.

Surely it’s easy to stop pavement parking, isn’t it? You just don’t do it, as it’s against the law (and the Highway Code) and if you do, you can be given a ticket

Everyone seems  to think it’s illegal and against the law – I’m still trying to get my head round the problem, but this issue isn’t as simple as it seems to work out.

Let me try and explain.

Most parking and traffic issues are the direct responsibility of Devon Country Council acting as the highways authority.

In 1987, Exeter became one of the few places outside of London where parking on the pavement became illegal – under a by-law put forward by Exeter City Council known as the Exeter Act 1987. On all the outer borders of Exeter you’ll see a sign saying “No parking on footways, verges or central reserves”. This is a sign specific to Exeter and has to have special approval from the Secretary of State for Transport.

nadder-park-road-obscured-sign-02
No Pavement Parking gateway sign on Barley Lane [although it is actually facing the wrong way!]
So the situation was that Exeter City Council had a by-law that Devon County Council had to implement as highways authority.

Parking enforcement used to be carried out by traffic wardens, working for Devon and Cornwall Police. In this respect they issued parking tickets for parking on pavements.

In May 2008, responsibility for parking enforcement passed to Devon County Council [DCC] and they put in place a system whereby Exeter City Council – through Civil Parking Enforcement Officers – issue PCN tickets for stationary vehicle offenses as an agent of DCC [phew!]

In the transfer, someone somewhere forgot the Exeter Act.

In trying to resolve the issue over the past few months, the Department for Transport [DfT] have become involved and said that to be able to enforce the by-law those signs with SofS approval need to be more frequent – suggesting 1 every 450m of so. The cost of this would run into hundreds of thousands.

So at present DCC are negotiating with DfT over this issue – and its seems are currently at stalemate

DCC through the Exeter HATOC {Highways and Traffic Order Committee] on which I sit as an ECC elected member alongside all 9 DCC County Councillors ares till trying to resolve this matter.

Freeing pedestrians from pavement parking blight

Councils told to use their powers to prevent parking on the pavement where it is a problem

The government is making it easier for councils to tackle pavement parking and stop it causing an obstruction to pedestrians, Regional and Local Transport Minister, Norman Baker, announced today (21 February 2011).

Vehicles parked on pavements can cause particular problems for people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and those with pushchairs. The minister has today written to councils prompting them to use their powers to prevent parking on the pavement where it is a problem.

Along with the letter, the Department for Transport has given all councils in England permission to use signs to indicate a local pavement parking ban. Until now councils have had to gain special signs authorisation from government each time they want to put a pavement parking ban in place.

While in some circumstances pavement parking is unavoidable – for example in narrow residential roads with no off-street parking – the government believes that in many cases it can be avoided. Pavement parking is completely banned in London.

Norman Baker said:

“Parking on the pavement can be selfish and dangerous, putting pedestrians – especially those with disabilities or using pushchairs – in danger. If a vehicle is blocking the pavement then people often have no choice but to walk in the road where they are at much greater risk of being involved in an accident.

“Most drivers are considerate and do not park on the pavement unless it is permitted or necessary. However, there is a selfish minority who do not use their common sense and dump their cars wherever it suits them without a second thought for others.

“I hope that reducing the bureaucracy involved in banning pavement parking will make it easier for councils to use their powers to tackle this nuisance and make life safer for everyone.”

Dai Powell OBE, Chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee:

“Inconsiderate parking on pavements can stop disabled people from gaining access to services and can also put them at great risk if having to resort to using roads. This practice also damages pavements, causing trip hazards and costing local councils who have to undertake repairs.

“DPTAC welcomes the move by the minister encouraging local councils to use their powers to enforce the law, freeing our pavements to make them accessible to all.”

Further information:

In most areas of England (outside London), any specific footway parking ban is applied locally and indicated by traffic signs. A local authority can make a traffic regulation order to prohibit footway parking on a designated length of highway or over a wider area. This means the Council can target problem areas rather than applying a blanket ban.

Every English traffic authority has today been issued with the special authorisation necessary to use the appropriate signs.

Local authorities with civil parking enforcement powers can enforce this ban along with the Road Traffic Act 1988 prohibition on heavy goods vehicles parking on the pavement.

Pavement parking in London is banned by the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974.

Local authorities can use physical measures such as high kerbs or bollards to prevent vehicles mounting the footway where footway parking is a particular problem. Such measures have the advantage of being largely self-enforcing.

That letter:


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Dear Leader

Tackling Pavement Parking Problems

I am writing to draw your attention to powers available to you to tackle pavement parking, and to advise you of further steps the Government are taking which may help you in this regard.

Parking on the pavement can cause serious problems for pedestrians, particularly people in wheelchairs or with vision impairments and those with prams or pushchairs. Indiscriminate pavement parking may also damage the footway, with the burden of repair costs normally falling on local authority maintenance budgets.

I know from my own experience that pavement parking can be a widespread problem that some local authorities have found difficult to address. I also appreciate that in some streets pavement parking may in practice be inevitable to maintain free passage of traffic whilst meeting the needs of local residents and businesses. For that reason, we are not proposing a blanket ban on pavement parking (although such a ban does in fact apply in London) but would encourage you to consider using the options available in a way that meets local needs.

It is now easier for you to implement and sign local bans for all vehicles.

Your traffic and parking teams are able to introduce local pavement parking bans, through a traffic regulation order (TRO), on a particular length of road or over a wider area. You will need to indicate the restrictions with the appropriate signs and we have designed new signs for area-wide bans. I am today issuing every English traffic authority with the special authorisation necessary to use these signs. your authorities authorisation is attached with this letter.

Heavy Good Vehicles

Section 19 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 prohibits heavy goods vehicles from parking on the pavement. This is a national ban and does not require a TRO or any signs. Therefore, if your authority has civil parking enforcement powers, you can already enforce against HGV pavement parking throughout your enforcement area.

Other ways to tackle the problem

Other options include the use of physical measures such as high kerbs or bollards to prevent vehicles mounting the pavement. Such measures have the advantage that they are very largely self-enforcing.

If you want to find out more

The Department proves detailed advice on the management of pavement parking at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tpm/tmaportal/tmafeatures/tmapart6/pavementparkingmanagementres1744/

Future Proposals through our Review of Traffic Signs Policy

Finally I would like to tell you about our traffic signs review. I have specifically asked for this work to consider future options for making it easier for local authorities to manage pavement parking in future. We aim to remove regulatory burdens and unnecessary bureaucratic procedures. Where appropriate, this could mean removing the need for a TRO altogether, so as to effectively provide restrictions and prohibitions through traffic signs alone. I will make further announcements following the completion of the review in May this year.

I would be grateful for your help in tacking inconsiderate parking.

Yours sincerely,

Norman Baker

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