Parking on pavements could be made a thing of the past under new proposals to ban antisocial parking unveiled by the Government today.
Parking on pavements can affect people with visual or mobility impairments, those assisted by guide dogs, and wheelchair and mobility scooter users. More than 95% of wheelchair users and people with visual impairments say they had problems with vehicles parked on pavements.
Three options are proposed in the consultation launched today – improving the traffic regulation order process to make it easier for councils to prohibit pavement parking in their areas, giving councils powers to fine drivers who park on paths, and a London-style nationwide ban on pavement parking.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“Parking on pavements means wheelchair users, visually impaired people and parents with pushchairs can be forced into the road, which is not only dangerous but discourages people from making journeys.
“A key part of our green, post-COVID recovery will be encouraging more people to choose active travel, such as walking, so it is vital that we make the nation’s pavements accessible for everyone.”
Disabled people say pavement parking is a significant barrier to carrying out daily journeys. Recent research from the charity Guide Dogs shows that 32% of people with vision impairments and 48% of wheelchair users were less willing to go out on their own because of pavement parking, decreasing independence and contributing towards isolation.
As many streets were built decades and centuries before the high levels of vehicles currently on roads, any measures will need to ensure the free flow of traffic and access for the emergency services.
The consultation is the Government’s latest step to deliver on commitments to make transport equally accessible for all users by 2030, as set out in the Inclusive Transport Strategy.
Stephen Edwards, Director of Policy and Communications at Living Streets, said:
“We’re regularly contacted by disabled and older people who feel trapped in their homes because there is not enough room on the pavement for wheelchairs or mobility scooters.
“This has impacted more people during the pandemic with blocked pavements affecting everyone’s ability to physically distance.”
Blanche Shackleton, Head of Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns at Guide Dogs, said:
“For many people with sight loss, cars and vans parked on the pavement make our streets stressful and dangerous to navigate. At any time, you might be forced out into the road with traffic that you cannot see.
“When every journey is an ordeal, simply going out independently can become daunting.”