APM | Access Protection Markings

APM 2015-11-12 10.01.30
Access Protection Marking in Newman Road

The Highway Code [Rule 243] states DO NOT stop or park at a number of places, including:

  • where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles
  • in front of an entrance to a property

However, some drivers choose to ignore this. It is on these occasions that the Access Protection Markings can act as a reminder to drivers.

Access Protection Markings – APMs – are the H-shapped white lines at placed on the road surface alongside dropped kerbs and seemed to have been first introduced by Devon County Council to tackle the problem. They are now seen as a standard form of marking prescribed in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions, which are published by Government.

The Traffic Signs Manual [TSM]  published by the Department for Transport, gives guidance on the use of APM and says that they may be laid on part of the carriageway which should be kept clear of parked vehicles either outside an entrance to off-street premises, or where the kerb is dropped to provide a convenient crossing place for pedestrians.

Access protection markings are advisory markings only and cannot be enforced like regular parking restrictions as there are no legal traffic orders behind them. However, blocking an access, whether there is a line there or not, is classed as obstruction and the police may issue a fixed penalty notice for this.

When access to properties is concerned, it is only legally classed as obstruction if a vehicle is prevented from exiting a driveway. However, the police maydecide to act on any situation of access obstruction.

Although the marking is not legally enforceable, the manual suggests that , if used sparingly, ATMs may be helpful in discouraging inconsiderate parking, particularly where a problem is isolated and a Traffic Regulation Order could not be justified or easily enforced.

 

For more information see figure 22-4 (diagram 1026.1) on page 134 of TSM Chapter 5 – Road Markings 2003.

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In order to ensure that this marking is used to maximum effect, DCC have set out qualifying criteria to ensure that ATMs are used only at appropriate locations.

In 2006, DCC policy was:
To provide an Access Protection Marking (APM) at a dropped kerb or other private access, whether vehicular or pedestrian, when there is a recognised problem.

  • At a private vehicle access for a disabled blue badge holder.
  • At a single private access for a number of properties to maintain emergency services vehicular access.
  • At a direct pedestrian access from a property to the carriageway.
  • At a dropped kerb provided for the benefit of pedestrians or wheel chair users.
  • Where there is an overriding traffic management or road safety reason for keeping an access clear.
  • As a part of an overall scheme of waiting restrictions.

Early in 2011, DCC told me that APMs were only nomrmally  being considered where the owner/occupier also holds a disabled parking ‘Blue Badge’, but a case would be looked into on an individual basis where it can be shown there are exceptional circumstances

When the matter of ATMs was discussed at meeting of Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee held on 22 April 2014, where the officers report outlined:

At present an APM may be provided at a private vehicle access used by a disabled Blue badge holder. The applicant should be the Blue badge holder, and normally the driver or regular passenger of the vehicle. The vehicle should be based at the applicant’s property and the driver is also resident.

Alternatively, an APM can be provided if the local highways officer confirms there is a recognised problem at one of the following locations:

  1. ar a single private access for 3 or more premises;
  2. at a direct pedestrian access from a property to the carriageway;
  3. at a dropped kerb or a direct access provided for the benefit of pedestrians or wheelchair uses; or 
  4. where there is an overriding traffic management or road safety reason for keeping an access clear.

The report also states that DCC reserves the right to remove an APM and suggests that each time an APM is considered for remarking [when faded, or after a road has been resurfaced] it must be confirmed that the above criteria are met.

However current guidance on ATMs is outlined on the DCC website and states:
We may provide access protection bar markings when there is a recognised problem: 

  • at a private access for a disabled blue badge holder which has dropped kerb access to a driveway or garage
  • at a single private access for a number of properties to maintain access for emergency services vehicles

Phone 0345 155 1004 if you believe that your property needs markings for one of these reasons.

The cost to place an APM is approximately £80 and the cost is  currently met by DCC’s On-Street Parking budget.

But that might be the case in the future – DCC are looking at an option to charge applicants for a new APM as part of their public consultation on parking for people with disabilities [consultation ends 12 January 2015].

The options include:

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2015-06-09 11.32.00
APM alternative marking v1 in Oak Street
2015-06-09 11.31.15
APM alternative marking v2 in Oak Street

                                          

 

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Pavement parking | Some thoughts for today’s Exeter HATOC

Later today, Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC] meet at County Hall

One of the items on the agenda is an update on Parking on Pavements.

it will be interesting to hear what will be said because, despite what’s been said and written n recent weeks, to is not necessary an offence to park on a pavement

Some thoughts for the meeting

1) The current legal position
Under s.137 of Highways Act 1980 it is the duty of the highway authority to assert and protect the rights of the public to use and enjoy the highway (the term highway in this instance includes footways = pavements).

It is a criminal offence under HA 1980 and also under s.28 of Town & Police Clauses Act 1847 to wilfully obstruct free passage along the highway or to deposit anything which causes an interruption to, or obstruction of, the highway (including any public footpath or public thoroughfare).

Under s.72 of Highways Act 1837 it is an offence to wilfully drive ant carriage of any description upon the footpath.

And regulation 103 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1985 states that no person in charge of a motor vehicle…shall cause or permit the vehicle to stand on the road  so as to cause unnecessary obstruction of the road. This included vehicles parked on footpaths and contravention of this regulation is a criminal offence and the police can require removal of the vehicle.

Of course, Highway Code rule 244 is clear of the situation in London using MUST NOT, but for the rest of the country the rule is the less forceful SHOULD NOT.

The above begs the question – who is responsible for enforcement in each case? Police (and do PCSOs have any powers in such cases)? Or Civil Enforcement Officers?

And of course, what time and priority should be given to enforcement? To use a phrase I often hear in relation to speeding in 20 mph zones – there must be a  responsible and proportionate approach to enforcement

2) Decriminalised Parking Enforcement
The Road Traffic Act 1991 (c. 40) provided for the decriminalisation of parking-related contraventions, with enforcement
carried out by civil enforcement officers, operating on behalf of a local authority

However some parking offences can still be enforced by the police, as outlined by this report on Civil Parking Enforcement: New Responsibilities that was considered by Devon County Council’s Executive on 17 October 2006

On the 5 May 2008, responsibility for on-street parking enforcement in Devon passed from the police to local authorities and traditional traffic wardens were replaced by new Civil Enforcement Officers

But at this time the Exeter Act 1987 was not repealed and so I believe that parking on the verge or footway of an urban road is still a CRIMINAL offence enforceable by a police officer.

3) Traffic Management Act 2004 (Amendment of Schedule 7) (City of Exeter) Regulations 
Even after all my previous research and the numerous discussions held at Exeter HATOC, I have just come across a Staututory Instrument, the Traffic Management Act 2004 (Amendment of Schedule 7) (City of Exeter) Regulations 2012, which came into force on 30th January 2012.

There is also this Explanatory Memorandum to Traffic Management Act 2004 (Amendment of Schedule 7) (City of Exeter) Regulations 2012 [2012 No.12].

It appears that these Regulations amend paragraph 4 of that Schedule (parking contraventions outside Greater London) by adding to the list of such contraventions the offence under section 30(1) of the Exeter City Council Act 1987 of parking vehicles, other than certain heavy commercial vehicles, on verges, central reservations and footways.

4) Freeing pedestrians from pavement parking blight
In Feb 2011, Norman Baker sent a letter to all local authorities telling them to use their powers to prevent parking on the pavement where it is a problem. [ DfT News Story: Freeing pedestrians from pavement parking blight, 21 February 2011]

norman-baker-letter-on-pavement-parking-1

norman-baker-letter-on-pavement-parking-2

What was DCC’s response to this instruction?

5) Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill 2015-16
Recent updates  to Exeter HATOC have talked about the progress of a Bill through Parliament – this was a Private Members Bill presented by Martin Horwood who came last of 20 in the 2014 ballot. The Bill never made any Parliamentary progress, not even having the Second Reading in the House of Commons , despite appearing on the Order Paper twice.

Simon Hoare – just up the road in North Dorset – came 10th of 20 in this year’s ballot.

Is there any information that would suggest this PMB will make further progress?

One of the problems of problem I forsee if Simon Hoares’ Private Members Bill does make it onto the Statute Books is that following enactment any permitted pavement parking would need to be authorised by an expensive TRO.

In Cowick there are already exemptions for Sussex Close and Wiltshire Close, but I can see TRPs being needed for pavement parking along Barley Farm Road just so that the P bus can make its journey towards the city centre unhindered.

And what about Merrivale Road? And so on.

So the isn’t going to be the silver bullet we all hope it will be.

6) Partial pavement parking
We know around all our divisions that some roads would come to a halt if pavement parking wasn’t possible.

I can list Sussex Close and Wiltshire Close that allowed partial pavement parking under Exeter Act 1987.

But without partial pavement parking, the P bus cannot make progress down Barley Farm Road. And Merrivale Road would be almost impassable.

So we have a problem.

We have be able to allow partial pavement parking – but in a way that doesn’t make the pavement an obstacle course for people with mobility issues, have visual impairments and parents using buggies and pushchairs.

Under the Exeter Act its quite easy for HATOC to agree an exemption for those narrow closes and cul-de-sacs (for many around the city those are in place, but we can all think of others).

But to deal with the major routes, it’s probably going to be necessary for a TRO, signs and lines to be put in place to ensure pedestians can pass without obstruction.

Slough have recently put this into practice – has this done under the provisions of Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 3 (Regulatory Signs 2008) p73 which shows the painted partial parking bay (diagram 1028.4) with accompanying signs (diagrams 667.1 and 667.2) with all the costs advertising TRO etc or by some other means?

7) Damage of grass verges
Highways Act 1980 s131 makes it is an offence to damage a highway (including a footpath) without lawful authority or excuse and can be punishable by a claim for criminal damages.

And in Blackpool, CEOs are issuing PCNs for damage to grass strips.

Have DCC given any thought to this? If DC are required to carry out remedial work due to damageto grass verges or footways, can they seek to recover any expenses incurred and prosecute persistant offenders?

8) Advisory Enforcement Notices
At Full Council on 23 July Cllr Hart in a written reply to a question from Cllr Percy Prowse [Question 13] mentioned advisory enforcement notices?

What are these?

And how will these be used?

Are the police on-board with this?

Is there to be a publicity campaign?

9) How has review of Traffic Signs & Generla Directions affected progress?
I understand that the situation in Exeter has been complicated by the long-running review of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 and subsequent amendments.

TSRGD 2002 proscibes what road signs are needed and where they should go for every traffic regulation.

Without suitble regulations in place (and DfT not making decisions in their absence) on signage for Exeter Act 1987, I’m guessing the issue is about legality and risk of prosecution, with people more likely to challenge a parking fine.

I’m assuming that at a time when council budgets are being cut, an extremely cautious approach has been adopted?

And since the draft version has been consulted on, is there an estimate when the TSRGD 2015 come into force?

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Private Members Bills and pavement parking

When  receiving updates on pavement parking from DCC Officers at recent Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee meetings, elected members were told that some of the lack of progress on re-introducing the Exeter Act 1987 was that a Bill was progressing through Parliament. This is what was said at Exeter HATOC when we had our last update, on 10 November 2014:

*82 Parking on footways
The Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste reported on the Pavement Parking Bill 2014-15 proceeding through Parliament to make provision for the safety, convenience and free movement on pavements of disabled people, older people, people accompanying young children, and other pavement users; to clarify, strengthen and simplify the law relating to parking on pavements in England and Wales; and for connected purposes. It was anticipated that the Bill would also cover inappropriate parking on verges.

What the officer didn’t say was that the Pavement Parking Bill 2014-15 was a Private Members’ Bill, introduced by Martin Horwood MP [LD, Cheltenham].

Although Private Members’ Bills are the same as other Public Bills in that they change the law as it applies to the general population, and so must go through the same set of stages, without the backing of the Government it is less likely that PMB will get through all the stages in time to be an Act, and therefore pass into law.

There are three ways of introducing Private Members’ Bills in the House of Commons: the Ballot, the Ten Minute Rule and Presentation:

1) The Ballot
Ballot Bills have the best chance of becoming law, as they get priority for the limited amount of debating time available. The names of Members applying for a Bill are drawn in a ballot held on the second sitting Thursday of a parliamentary session. Normally, the first seven ballot Bills are most likely to get a day’s debate.

The first reading (formal presentation – no debate) of ballot Bills takes place on the fifth sitting Wednesday of a parliamentary session.

2) Ten Minute Rule
Ten Minute Rule Bills are often an opportunity for Members to voice an opinion on a subject or aspect of existing legislation, rather than a serious attempt to get a Bill passed.

Members make speeches of no more than ten minutes outlining their position, which another Member may oppose in a similar short statement. It is a good opportunity to raise the profile of an issue and to see whether it has support among other Members.

3) Presentation
Any Member may introduce a Bill in this way as long as he or she has previously given notice of their intention to do so. Members formally introduce the title of the Bill but do not speak in support of it – they rarely become law.

As it stands under standing order 14 (9) Private Members’ Bills have precedence over government business on thirteen Fridays in each session – and on the first seven Fridays allotted to Private Members’ Bills, precedence is given to Ballot Bills.

Martin Horwood was voted 20 out of 20 in the 2014 Ballot and his Bill received it’s First Reading in the House of Commons on 02 July 2015 [Hansard 02 July 2014 : Column 900]. As well as allowing for the printing of the Bill [Bill 32], the First Reading also timetabled the Second Reading on Friday 12 September 2015.

Despite appearing on the Order Paper on 12 September 2015, and some subsequent Fridays, there was no guaranteed time to debate the Bill and it fell when Parliament was dissolved on Monday 30 March 2015.

That’s not the end of the story as the 2015 Ballot for Private Members’ Bills took place on 04 June 2015. Coming in at number 10 of the 20 successful MPs was Simon Hoare MP [CON, North Dorset]. He is sponsoring Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill 2015-16.

This Bill received its First Reading on 24 June 2015 [Hansard 24 June 2014 : Column 905] where it was resolved that
Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 4 December, and to be printed (Bill 16).

I hope this makes more progress than Martin Horwood’s Private Members’ Bill.

Further Reading:
James White: Parking Attitudes Survey 2013 – An independent survey uncovering the attitudes of drivers in the UK towards parking on pavements [Guide Dogs, January 2013]

Cover of Guide Dog's Parking Attitudes Survey 2013
Cover of Guide Dog’s Parking Attitudes Survey 2013

Pavement Parking – the currrent situation in Exeter

living_streets_logo

 

 

Dear Living Streets

Well done over recent days and weeks on the street parking issue in support of Martin Horwood’s Private Members’ Bill.

I’ve been meaning to do this for some while – update you on the current situation in Exeter.

As the appendix to your execellent guide [Policy Briefing 01/10 – Parking and the pedestrian] from February 2010 points out – pavement parking USED to be illegal under the by-law contained within the Exeter Act

Unfortunately when parking enforcement moved from police (criminal offence) to county (civil), the powers that be didn’t transfer the powers they held under Exeter Act.

Over the last 3 years, Exeter Highways & Traffic Orders Committee have been trying to rectify this situation but have been stymied by Secretary of State for Transport who had decreed that current signs on all boundaries are not sufficient to allow enforcement and has told DCC officers that repeater signs would need to be installed every 400m or so.

Gateway sign as required by s30 of Exeter Act 1987
Gateway sign in Cowick as required by s30 of Exeter Act 1987

Even ingnoring the cost of several £100ks, this seems ot go against all other directives about reducing street clutter.

There are some roads (even in my own ward) where, if pavement parking was prevented, legal parking would make the streets too narrow for traffic to pass. We often have problems on one road, where legal parking prevents the only bus for the ward getting down the street!

So I’m keem to explore the option used by Oxford, Slough and maybe others – with a line denoting where cars can pavement park and if this line is breached, a PCN can be issued.

But for now, DCC officers are letting discussions in Parliament take their (extremely slow) course.

Keep up the good work

Paul

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.

HGV Movements in Alphington

Back in April 2012, when Exeter HATOC first started to look at HGV movements around Exeter [outlined the Officer’s report] , it  was reported that the current city-wide ban was ineffective and unenforceable.

The subject interested me back then – and still interests me now – as I am probably unusual among the councillors sititng around the discussion table at Exeter HATOC. I hold a C1 driving licence and so have the  experience of driving of vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes around Exeter

In the course of the discussion was pointed out by the local County Councillor that large trucks and lorries were often seen in Alphington Village.

Subsequent follow-up alongside Labour city councillors revealed that the city-wide ban didn’t extend as far as Alphington – a fact that seemed to have eluded the County Councillor since her election in 2006.

Very little progress on HGV movement within Exeter had been reported back to Exeter HATOC and so, at the meeting on 08 November, I asked for the following to be considered.

16. Various Highways Matters
In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Bull has requested that the Committee consider the following items:
(a) Update on the progress of priority signage for HGV throughout Exeter, including the effects on streets that currently enjoy weight restrictions (such as Cowick Lane and Cowick Street). What will the process be to add additional weight restrictions to Streets such as Chudleigh Road in Alphington?
 
*162 Highways Matters
The Head of Highways and Traffic Management reported consultation with local members was in progress and that any suggestions could be directed to the Exeter Neighbourhood Highway Team (Devon County Council).
What these minutes don’t show is that discussion on the item in respect to Chudleigh Road was curtailed because the County Councillor representing Alphington had already left the meeting [some 45 minutes before the end of the meeting].
 
However, Cllr Rod Ruffle [like me, one of 4 City Councillors sitting alongside the 9 County Councillors on Exeter HATOC] who represents Alphington on Exeter City Council pointed out that a missing sign at the junction of Chudleigh Road with the A379 was responsible for the sightings of HGVs in Alphington but all was now in order.
 
This seemed to be contrary to the advice I had been given by County Highways officers so I went at looked at the signs.
CORRECT: On A379 preventing HGVs turning left into Chudleigh Road
WRONG?: On Chudleigh Road preventing HGVs turning right onto A379
The photos above show what I saw. The reference to goods vehicles of 3 tons has been superseded by the metric weight of 7.5 tonnes so that shows how long these signs have been here.
The one on the left appears to be in the correct position, preventing HGVs travelling along the A379 towards the Devon Hotel roundabout from turning left into Chudleigh Lane.
The sign on the right is on Chudleigh Roa, by the entrance to Peamore Barn, preventing HGVs turning right onto the A379. To prevent HGVs using Chudleigh Road the one on the right is in the wrong position – it would need to be on the A37, on the opposite side of the carriageway.
It appears that both Cllr Ruffle and Cllr Vanessa Newcombe are satisfied that the correct signage is in position to prevent HGVs travelling through the village from this direction.
I AM NOT. I will follow this up with County’s Highways Officers.
UPDATE [05 December 2012]
County Highways Officers confirm that both signs are correctly located.
 
There is a traffic order properly covering the restrictions in an experimental restriction from 1978. (http://www.devon.gov.uk/trafficorderssearch?url=trafficorders/browse.asp&url=20766
There is no prohibition of HGVs accessing Alphington Village from Church Road which is why there are no signs at Alphington Cross. 
There is a prohibition of HGVs westbound on Alphinbrook Road with an exemption for vehicles accessing properties. Signs are located at the junction with Trusham Road. There is no prohibition that prevents HGVs entering Alphington Village.
 
Your County Councillor has been representing Alphington for 6 years and doesn’t know that HGVs AREN|T banned from the village – it’s taken me less that 6 months to discover the true position on the matter.
 
Working alongside Alphington’s Labour City Councillors for Alphington, I will endeavour to ensure that when the provisions of HGV movement within Exeter are revised and the rules apply to village routes.

Why are HGVs travelling through Alphington?

The meeting Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC] on 19 April 2012  [Minute 130] looked at the movement of Heavy Goods Vehicles in the city.

Up until now there has been a city-wide ban which has been deemed “ineffective and unenforceable”.

Labour Cllr for Cowick, Paul Bull, has recently been appointed to HATOC and is interested in making any changes to the regulations effective across the West of Exe.

Following requests from Cllr Margaret Clark, he has asked questions of County officers about HGV movements in Alphington.

Paul [himself a Class C1 HGV driver] has found that the current city-wide ban specifically excludes Alphington.

He said “Cllr Margaret Clark has received numerous comments about HGVs in the village, especially Church Road.

“I’ve checked around the village, and found there was no signage at the Chudleigh Road junction with the A379. Following this up at County level, I found that there is no restriction on HGVs coming through Alphington from ANY direction.”

HATOC is currently reviewing the regulations regarding the routes HGV should use throughout the city, and Paul has ensured that the concerns of residents West of the Exe are heard.

He states: “I and my Labour councillors West of Exe have serious concerns as and when the city-wide ban on HGV movements is lifted. It must be stressed that all available measures should be taken to ensure that HGVs are positively routed away from the areas of Alphington, Cowick, Exwick and St Thomas as much as possible to prevent our roads West of Exe from taking a severe battering from heavy traffic.”