‘Where will all the cars go?’ - Residents express scepticism over pavement parking ban
PUBLISHED: 07:40 01 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:22 01 September 2020
Proposals to ban on parking on pavements could be “impossible to implement” on Norwich streets residents have warned.
The government has launched a consultation as part of plans to ease journeys for disabled people and parents pushing prams.
It comes as the government is also consulting about a crackdown on rogue private car park firms and the “aggressive tactics” used by some operators.
Pavement parking is already banned in London and the Department for Transport (DfT) is consulting on whether to extend this nationwide.
It also proposes making it easier for councils to prohibit pavement parking, and giving councils the power to fine offenders.
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People living in Norwich’s Golden Triangle, where Victorian terraced streets are not wide enough for on road parking on both sides, expressed scepticism over how a ban could work.
Andrew Kerrison, from Sandringham Street, said: “I just think it will be impossible to implement on streets like these.
“If everyone parked on the road you couldn’t drive down it. There are already issues with access for fire engines.
“I understand the problem. When we used a buggy for the children we did have to walk in the road and it’s especially bad when the wheelie bins are out for collection. But I just don’t know what the solution is.”
Sarah McGurk, who lives in St Phillips Road, said: “There is obviously a problem for people in wheelchairs and with pushchairs having to walk in the road, and that must be particularly bad for people who are partially sighted.
“These streets just weren’t built for the amount of cars we now have, but if you tried to enforce it where will all the cars go?”
Denise Carlo, Green Party city councillor, whose Nelson ward takes in streets in the Golden Triangle, said: “It is a large bone of contention in Victorian terrace areas which were not designed for cars.
“However, the government must put money into solving the problem because a ban would have to be accompanied by extra measures where pavements and roads are very narrow.”
Some London boroughs have introduced painted boxes for residents to park that are measured to still allow walkers adequate access on the pavement.
Robert Court, from Alexandra Road, said: “That makes sense but would it work in streets as narrow as these?
“It’s not necessarily practical for everyone to park outside their own home, but if you stopped people parking here where would they go? Would people be happy parking half a mile away from where they live?”
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Mrs Bradshaw, who preferred not to give her full name, said she was regularly forced to walk down the middle of Gladstone Street.
“When I first moved here in 1993 there were as many cars and you didn’t see as many people parking on the pavement as you do now,” she said.
“The houses just weren’t designed for this and there just isn’t enough room. People being forced to walk in the road isn’t really safe, but I don’t know what the solution is.”
A report by the Commons Transport Select Committee in September last year called for a blanket nationwide ban on the “blight” of parking on pavements.
Witnesses told MPs that the worst cases of pavement parking were effectively trapping disabled, elderly and vulnerable people, making them “afraid to leave their homes”.
Stephen Edwards, of walking charity Living Streets, said: “We’re regularly contacted by disabled and older people who feel trapped in their homes because there isn’t enough room on the pavement for wheelchairs or mobility scooters.
“This has impacted more people during the pandemic, with blocked pavements affecting everyone’s ability to physically distance.”
But the AA warned a ban would have “unintended consequences”.
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy, said: “As we have seen over the past few weeks with road closures and narrowed roads, councils have acted with little consultation and in many cases lost confidence of the communities they serve.
“Local authorities should make a street-by-street assessment and where pavement parking is allowed, markings should show how much pavement can be used.
“While councils have always had the powers to tackle problem parking, it would be typical if the only time they act is when there is fines income to be had from it.”
MORE: What are your rights when dealing with private parking companies?
The public consultation into rogue car park companies includes proposals for a new appeals charter aimed at eliminating fines for motorists who make genuine errors or have mitigating circumstances.
Other measures would see the introduction of a maximum cap for parking fines, a 10-minute grace period before a late levy can be issued and a requirement for parking firms to clearly display pricing and terms and conditions.
It comes amid a stream of complaints about controversial car parking firms in Norfolk operating on private land.
The government initiative proposes a tiered approach to fines with a cap for less serious offences of between £40 and £80, depending on the parking charge system chosen - but both lower than the current £100 cap.
Drivers who wrongly park in disabled or ambulance bays would face an increased levy of £120.
The new system would be mandatory, unlike existing voluntary ones currently set by the industry.
• Views can be given to the consultation at Pavement Parking Survey
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