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.

exeter-act-1987-cover

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

E&E | Is Exeter’s allocation of pothole funding fair?

02 June 2016

Is Exeter’s allocation of pothole funding fair?

by Anita Merritt

2015-01-08-10-53-54
A few of the over 200 potholes in Dorset Avenue

Concerns have been raised over the amount of pothole funding Exeter has received compared to other areas of the county.

In April, the Department of Transport announced a Pothole Action Fund to improve local roads and deliver better journeys.

Devon is receiving an extra £1,952,000 in 2016/17 from the fund, which includes roads and pavements.

However, the new figures which have revealed have been criticised by Rob Hannaford , Labour county councillor for Exwick and St Thoma , and a member of Exeter Highways Committee.

He said: “With the very poor state of many roads and pavements in Exeter, any new investment to help clear the massive backlog is welcome.

“However it’s a very real concern that the Exeter funding allocations are amongst the lowest across the county. I view this in the context of Exeter having the busiest most used roads, as opposed to all the other much less used rural residential roads in the country areas, as this is primarily about the non arterial routes.

“For example, all of Exeter’s nine county members gets £108,7222 , yet sparsely populated Holdsworthy, one county member, gets £99,979 , or Bideford South and Hartland, again one county member, gets £92,932.

“If you also look at another districts such as those county ward areas that make up the East Devon area, again their individual allocations per county ward are higher.

“I am sure that many local residents in Exeter who have been coping with bad roads and pavements for many years, who may have had damage to their vehicles, trips and falls, or fallen off bikes, will be very angry about all this, as this new budget was seen a chance to really get things moving forward.”

Pothole Action Fund Allocations
Alphington and Cowick ED £15,769
Ashburton and Buckfastleigh ED £27,926
Axminster ED £68,817
Barnstaple North ED £15,567
Barnstaple South ED £15,041
Bickleigh and Wembury ED £19,525
Bideford East ED £34,658
Bideford South and Hartland ED £92,932
Bovey Tracey Rural ED £39,723
Braunton Rural ED £24,752
Broadclyst and Whimple ED £35,269
Budleigh ED £21,795
Chudleigh Rural ED £37,018
Chulmleigh and Swimbridge ED £31,472
Combe Martin Rural ED £32,331
Crediton Rural ED £29,041
Cullompton Rural ED £29,971
Dartmouth and Kingswear ED £16,055
Dawlish ED £17,747
Duryard and Pennsylvania ED £14,854
Exminster and Kenton ED £28,459
Exmouth Brixington and Withycombe ED £14,704
Exmouth Halsdon and Woodbury ED £17,120
Exmouth Littleham and Town ED £17,311
Exwick and St. Thomas ED £15,803
Fremington Rural ED £16,238
Hatherleigh and Chagford ED £47,400
Heavitree and Whipton and Barton ED £16,051
Holsworthy Rural ED £99,979
Honiton St. Michael’s ED £37,858
Honiton St. Paul’s ED £57,242
Ilfracombe ED £15,116
Ivybridge ED £15,267
Kingsbridge and Stokenham ED £15,567
Kingsteignton ED £15,330
Newton Abbot North ED £16,205
Newton Abbot South ED £15,934
Newton St. Cyres and Sandford ED £68,956
Newtown and Polsloe ED £15,004
Northam ED £18,077
Okehampton Rural ED £33,933
Ottery St. Mary Rural ED £41,918
Pinhoe and Mincinglake ED £15,653
Priory and St. Leonard’s ED £14,880
Seaton Coastal ED £32,301
Sidmouth Sidford ED £15,447
South Brent and Dartington ED £32,350
South Molton Rural ED £55,793
St David’s and St. James ED £14,704
St Loyes and Topsham ED £15,912
Tavistock ED £15,267
Teign Estuary ED £19,000
Teignbridge South ED £29,029
Teignmouth ED £17,469
Thurlestone, Salcombe and Allington ED £19,424
Tiverton East ED £31,738
Tiverton West ED £22,497
Torrington Rural ED £69,117
Totnes Rural ED £22,962
Willand and Uffculme ED £52,518
Yealmpton ED £23,885
Yelverton Rural ED £20,317

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.