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:

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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