Transport minister Grant Shapps has announced that he will consult on a pavement parking ban in the summer. That’s good news and it’s long overdue. Parking on pavements is mostly unnecessary. It happens because people who rarely walk on pavements, use disability scooters or have children in buggies prioritise smooth flow of traffic over the safety of pavement users. This selfish behaviour cannot continue.
The government has stalled on this since 2015, when a Private Member’s Bill was withdrawn on the promise of action by the government. Nothing happened. On Thursday, Grant Shapps promised a consultation on banning parking on most pavements. That’s good news.
London and Scotland already have bans on pavement parking but in England only HGVs are banned from pavements. Even that is rarely enforced. That has led to a casual attitude by motorists who care more about slowing traffic than they do about block access for pavements users. One argument I have heard a few times is that aren’t many pavement users in some areas. Of course not. The pavements are blocked. Inconsiderate parking traps people on their homes and makes pedestrians feel less safe as they are forced out into the traffic stream.
There are a few streets which are effectively “shared space” and parking on pavements and pedestrian walking on streets might be allowed. But this creates a lot of difficulty for the partially sighted. There needs to be a national debate. Transport secretary Grant Shapps has promised to launch that at last. I welcome it.
The police will not have the resources to enforce any ban. But council civil enforcement officers have the powers to issue a penalty charge notice when they observe an illegally parked vehicle.