“Motorists should be banned from parking on pavements to prevent pedestrians having to walk on the road, ministers have been told.
A coalition of charities is calling on the Department for Transport (DfT) to fast-track legislation designed to bar drivers from mounting the kerb.
In a letter to The Times, the groups criticise the government for “stalling” over the issue and say that action is needed to stop cars on congested streets spilling over on to the pavement.
The issue is particularly pressing for parents with prams, the elderly, those with disabilities and people who are blind and partially sighted, they say.
The letter is signed by 20 charities including the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Living Streets, Age UK, British Cycling, Scope and The Ramblers. An open letter to the prime minister signed by 16,000 members of the public has also been delivered.
It follows a statement from the DfT this year that it was considering an overhaul of traffic laws to prevent vehicles from blocking paths. This would bring the rest of England into line with London, which has banned pavement parking, except where specifically allowed by councils, since 1974. Outside the capital, local authorities have long pushed for the change, saying it was a “nonsense” that those outside London were treated differently. It could allow councils to make it illegal to park on the kerb unless they expressly grant permission, potentially carrying fines of £50 or £70.
Almost three years ago the DfT suggested that a review of the law would be carried out as part of reforms designed to promote more cycling and walking, but it never materialised.
Today’s letter notes that it has been 1,000 days since ministers first proposed to take action. “Cars parked on the pavements force people into the road to face oncoming traffic, which is particularly dangerous for many, including blind and partially sighted people, parents with pushchairs and young children, wheelchair users and others who use mobility aids,” it says.
Xavier Brice, chief executive of Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity, said: “We strongly support a banning of pavement parking. It is particularly dangerous for those who are blind and partially sighted, other less able people and people with push chairs.”
The DfT said: “We recognise the importance of making sure that pavement parking doesn’t put pedestrians at risk, and believe councils are best placed to make decisions about local restrictions.
“Councils already have the powers to ban drivers from parking on pavements and we are considering whether more can be done to make it easier for them to tackle problem areas. It is important to get this right for all pavement users.”
Source: Times, pay wall