BWA has decided to start a campaign on the problem of pavement parking. This article describes our initial thinking.
Feedback from the public BWA event on 15 October 2016, has indicated that a key priority for people is the growing problem of pavement parking.
Obstruction on the pavement breaches Equalities legislation and puts people at risk. A survey by the Guide Dogs charity showed 97% of blind or partially sighted people encounter problems with street obstructions, and 90% of those had experienced trouble with a pavement parked car. Other pavement users are affected – imagine the danger to life if a parent with a toddler and pushchair is forced onto the road. It is a nationwide problem but little has been done over the years to find a solution.
What is being done already?
London is the only city to have a “no pavement parking” policy. A Private Member’s Bill, to extend this nationwide, got its second reading in December 2015, but was withdrawn as the government committed to undertaking a policy review. However, there appear to be no further reports on progress. You can find a description of the current confused legal situation at pedestrianliberation.org/the-law-2.
Both the RNIB and Guide Dogs are running high profile campaigns on pavement parking. Living Streets conducted a survey and, of the people polled, 73% of those aged over -65 said that pavement parking was a problem in their area. Locally, the problem has been raised at a number of Bristol Neighbourhood Partnerships. We’ve been told that the police will get involved if there is clear evidence of an obstruction – but it’s difficult to get the necessary evidence at the time – and that it’s not a Council issue if there are no parking restrictions in force.
The planned campaign
BWA has decided that, although this is likely to be a long campaign, we want to do our bit to address this problem for pedestrians and so a small sub-group has been formed to come up with a plan of action that will be published for everyone to comment on. We will work alongside national charities such as the RNIB, Guide Dogs and Living Streets, as well as local community groups and Neighbourhood Partnerships (NPs). Raising awareness is already happening and having a positive effect but we hope to have more co-ordinated action, while working towards future effective enforcement.
In the meantime we will build up some factual information. For example, we will write to our MPs to find out what progress has been made by the government on its review. We will ask how Police & Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, what progress she has made with her commitment to follow up this problem, and what response Bristol City Council has made to questions raised by Neighbourhood Partnerships, councillors and Cabinet members.