Maria Caulfield’s campaign to end problem pavement parking has taken a step closer to success as the government announced proposals to ban the practice.
Parking on pavements disproportionately affects 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– 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.
However, there is still a major role for cars and other private vehicles, so any future plans will need to take this into consideration.
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.”
Maria Caulfield MP said “Pavement parking presents a clear safety risk when parked cars occupy the pavement and force vulnerable pedestrians to move into the road. I am often contacted by disabled people or parent’s with pushchairs saying that they are forced into busy roads when going about what should be normal everyday business. This discourages vulnerable people from making these trips to the shop or to socialise. This isn’t fair and puts them at risk of serious injury. I would encourage all interested residents to take part in the government consultation”
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.