Pavement parking can be a real problem for those who are blind or partially sighted, parents with prams, wheelchair users and older people. The charity Guide Dogs conducted a survey which showed that 97 per cent of blind or partially sighted people have encountered problems with street obstructions, and 90% have experienced trouble with a car parked on a pavement.
Guide Dogs has criticised the inaction of the government on tackling this issue, and called for all pavement parking to be made illegal. We need to take action to protect vulnerable pedestrians, and all those who use our roads and pavements.
There are various ways local councils, along with the police, can act to tackle on-street and pavement parking, such as using legislation governing obstruction and dangerous parking; designating limited areas of ‘no pavement parking’ through a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) or establishing a special parking area. Current laws on pavement parking are often confusing for motorists, dangerous for vulnerable road users and costly for councils who are having to repair damaged pavements.
The Department for Transport held a consultation on its Accessibility Action Plan between August and November 2017, in which it committed to launch a survey in autumn 2017 to gather evidence on the current, costs, and timescales for processing TROs, and options for change.
The government has now said it will begin the survey in spring 2018, and will engage with stakeholders on this issue in the near future. I will follow this survey closely as I believe the status quo to be unsatisfactory. I would like to see laws in place that would help local councils to make decisions more simply, with reduced costs.