A blanket ban on pavement parking could lead to a need for thousands of new car parking spaces that towns and cities are simply not equipped to provide, warns IAM RoadSmart.
The warning has come after the House of Commons Transport Committee launched an enquiry into pavement parking and invited comments from interested parties in April, to which IAM RoadSmart has delivered its conclusions. All submissions have now been released for public viewing.
One suggestion that has emerged from the enquiry is a blanket ban on all vehicles parking on any part of a pavement – but IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, said this could cause a major parking headache for drivers across the country.
In its submission to the committee, IAM RoadSmart said: “Where data has been collated, the problems appear to be localised.
“Where pedestrians are being put in danger or denied access by inconsiderate pavement parking, or if costly long-term damage is being done, then we have no problem with local solutions being implemented for local problems.
“Local councils should be encouraged to use their existing powers to sign, define, review and enforce local bans as required.”
IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research Neil Greig noted that, with increasing numbers of cars on the road, local councils do not have the funding or the road capacity to provide the extra spaces people need to park. Nor do hard pressed local councils have the resources required to effectively implement a blanket ban.
“New traffic orders, new signposting, new road markings and new enforcement administration will all be required at extra cost if a blanket ban is introduced. Councils are already struggling to implement low emission zones, cycling and walking policies, active travel policies, 20mph zones and a host for other transport measures against a background of budget cuts and dwindling resources.”
IAM RoadSmart added that a blanket ban risked creating conflict between residents as they attempt to find a place to park, often in areas where there has never been a road safety problem.
In addition, while many would like to see stricter penalties for pavement parking, IAM RoadSmart said enforcement must always be seen to be fair and well targeted. Penalties should only be used to encourage behaviour change and the take-up of alternatives if they can be provided.
“If enforcement is going to be applied rigorously then councils should be forced to provide safe and secure alternative parking arrangements in those areas where pavement parking has been banned but worked perfectly well before.
“If a blanket ban is to go ahead, despite our and other organisations’ recommendations, the income from fines should be ringfenced to improve parking facilities in the worst affected areas.”
IAM RoadSmart want to see much more research and pilot schemes before a decision is made to ban all pavement parking. In many urban areas, pavement parking is actively encouraged and the road marked up to allow it. IAM RoadSmart does not support a blanket ban that effectively removes this option at a stroke.