Pavement parking

On 19 June, our Policy and Research Coordinator, Dr Rachel Lee, went before the Transport Select Committee to give oral evidence on the impact on pedestrians of pavement parking in England.

It was a great chance to make a case for an outright ban - and here she describes how our supporters' stories made her job all the easier.

Rachel Lee

Living Streets has campaigned for stronger, clearer legislation on irresponsible parking for years.

In Scotland an outright ban is tantalisingly close.

Moves are afoot for investigations in Wales.

The focus of the House of Commons' Transport Select Committee (TSC) inquiry was solely on pavement parking in England.

We knew we could rely on our supporters to back us - but we could not have predicted the sheer volume we received.

So when I went to speak at the TSC hearing, I went with the backing of a staggering 4,017 of our supporters.

We asked supporters to tell us how big a problem pavement parking was where they live, and what is being done about it.

85%

"Pavement parking is a
common, large or very large problem
in my area."

 

65% 

"I am not at all confident
that my council will deal
with the problem."

We also asked for personal experiences of the impact of pavement parking.

There were some real eye openers - I have included a few below, but you can see my full submission, and that of  our friend Chris Theobald from the charity Guide Dogs, in the video on this page.

And these stories made a real impression on the panel - Lillian Greenwood MP, who chaired the session, and the Committee thanked us specifically for sharing your personal testimonies.

The main issue that emerged from your stories, apart from the danger of walking in the road, is the aggression, abuse, in some cases violence and overall lack of understanding pedestrians face from drivers who park irresponsibly.  

Our most vulnerable pedestrians - older adults, disabled people and parents or carers with young children - are made to feel more vulnerable. They are at increased risk of being injured, even on pavements that are supposed to keep them safe.

It’s a daily problem that wears you down and, critically, one that is being built into new housing developments.  

Worst of all you told us that no one - not councillors, not Highways teams, nor the police - wants to do anything about it.


So what next?

The aim of the inquiry is to spur the government to action in England. We’ll watch this space.

Meanwhile the Scottish Government is leading the way with the Transport (Scotland) Bill which bans pavement parking, and the Welsh Assembly have set up a Task Force to examine the problem. 

Things feel like they are moving in the right direction.

Just a handful of the pavement parking testimonies we received

"Two years ago my three-year-old son was almost mown down by a pavement driver while we were walking to school. The driver didn’t see that she was doing anything wrong and implied that I was responsible for the near miss. On a pavement."

"I recently had to help an elderly disabled woman in an electric scooter move into the road in order to get around cars parked on the footpath. She was so upset at the daily hassle she faces just getting around the local area."

"As a wheelchair user I've been verbally and physically abused by drivers that have parked on the flattened kerb. One actually knocked me out of my wheelchair. Nearly every time I go out I'm forced onto a busy road due to pavement parking."

"I represent our local tenants association and our members bring this issue up at every meeting. We have had Highways and council enforcement officers at our meetings and they don't help - rather try passing the issue onto the police whom in turn say it is a council matter!"

Pavement parking is a daily problem that wears you down - and one that is being built into new housing developments

Dr Rachel Lee, Living Streets

What you can do