The committee criticises the Department for Transport for failing to take action on the problem of pavement parking – which is already banned in London – and sets out recommendations for how to tackle it while legislation is prepared.
“Pavement parking has a huge impact on people’s lives and their ability get around their communities,” said Transport Select Committee chair Lilian Greenwood. She claimed that areas across England have been left “blighted by unsightly and obstructive pavement parking”, with some individuals afraid to leave their homes for fear of being unable to safely navigate the streets.
Government previously promised to look into the issue four years ago, but the Transport Select Committee says that consultations and internal reviews failed to lead to any meaningful actions.
Lilian Greenwood added: “We recognise that implementing a nationwide ban will take time. In the short term we have said that the Government should make it easier for local authorities to put in place parking restrictions by removing some of the bureaucratic burdens they currently have to contend with.”
The report also urges the department to consult on a new offence of ‘obstructive pavement parking’ and calls for a national awareness campaign to highlight the negative consequences of leaving vehicles on part of the footway.
Responding to the report, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman David Renard said: “Pavement parking and damaged pavements is one of the biggest complaints from pedestrians. Similarly, repairing kerbs and pavements damaged by pavement parking is expensive and this funding could be better used to repair potholes and provide more suitable parking.
“We urge Government to bring forward legislation to ban pavement parking – with councils able to create exemptions if they want to and steps to facilitate a transition to a new law – at the earliest opportunity.”
Walking charity Living Streets’ policy and communications director Stephen Edwards also welcomed the report’s recommendations. “Cars parked on pavements force people with wheelchairs, parents with buggies and those living with sight loss into the carriageway and oncoming traffic,” he said.
“Many older adults we speak to feel stuck in their homes because they’re not able to navigate their local pavements. People continue to be put at risk of injury and isolation with every day of inaction that passes.”
He added: “Clear pavements need clear laws. There should be a default ban, with the ability to allow pavement parking in certain circumstances, as is currently available in London. This would be simple and easy for everyone to understand.”
A spokesman for London Councils commented on the success of the capital’s existing pavement parking ban. “Overall the London footway parking ban is effective and popular. It helps keep London’s footways clear of parked vehicles for the benefit of all road users but especially those with reduced mobility and eyesight.
“There is no doubt some ambiguity and resulting poor compliance is caused by the lack of nationally consistent rules. A national ban would help compliance in London and would therefore be supported by London Councils,” the spokesman said.
Meanwhile the Scottish Government’s proposed Transport (Scotland) Bill includes a ban on pavement parking while the Welsh Assembly has also set up a taskforce to examine the problem.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring that our roads work for everyone, but we are also aware that pavement parking can cause real problems for a variety of road users.
“The Department recently concluded a review to better understand the case for changing the law, and Ministers will be considering our next steps over the coming months.”More Articles by Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) ...