Pavement parking may soon be banned; report highlights isolating effect.
Byline: NICK LAVIGUEUR firstname.lastname@example.org @grecian9
MOTORISTS putting two wheels of their vehicle on the footpath to leave space on the road should be outlawed, a report by MPs has concluded.
So called 'pavement parking' is often the source of anger for pedestrians, when drivers fail to leave enough space for prams or wheelchairs to get past, forcing them to walk in the road.
The practice has proved so unpopular that the House of Commons Transport Committee began to investigate. It has now produced a 44-page report which recommends a nationwide ban.
New laws will be required as bizarrely, while driving on the pavement is already illegal, parking on the pavement is not.
For a motorist to be prosecuted they would have to be witnessed by a police officer manoeuvring on the footpath. Police can also prosecute for obstruction of the highway, which includes pavements. Ironically, the Examiner recently discovered that police are legally allowed to park on the pavement, as they frequently do outside Huddersfield police station.
The Transport Committee's report says: "Pavement parking can have a considerable impact on people's lives and their ability to safely leave their homes.
"We have received evidence from people with both visual and mobility impairments, and those who care for others - including children - about how they are affected by pavement parking.
"People are at risk of social isolation if they feel unable to leave their homes safely or are physically prevented from doing so.
"While pavement parking can be a necessity in some areas, it should not be allowed to happen where it has a significant adverse impact on people's lives.
"We are deeply concerned about the Government's failure to act on this issue, despite long-standing promises to do so.
"We appreciate that this is a thorny problem that may be difficult to resolve to the satisfaction of all, but the Government's inaction has left communities blighted by unsightly and obstructive pavement parking and individuals afraid or unable to leave their homes or safely navigate streets."
The report recommends that a new civil offence of obstructive pavement parking is created.
It says councils could exempt areas that needed pavement parking, but no guidance is given on what that could be.
In large parts of Kirklees, buses, bin wagons and other large vehicles would fail to navigate their routes on some narrow streets, if all vehicles parked on the road.
The report goes on: "We recognise that a nationwide ban on pavement parking would have an impact on some drivers who live on narrow residential streets with limited off-street parking and need their cars to get around.
"However, this must be balanced against the serious negative consequences that pavement parking has on some of the most vulnerable in our society.
"Enforcement of parking offences is not a priority for the police. We believe that creating a new civil offence of obstructive pavement parking would take some burden from the police and allow for better, more consistent enforcement."
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