Monday, 18 August 2014

Park where you like? No Minister !

Pavements are for People - DfT leaflet 
In July 2013, the BBC reported that sources close to the communities secretary Eric Pickles told the Daily Telegraph that "over-aggressive" parking enforcement was one of the reasons why many High Streets were struggling.  His proposed solution - let drivers park for up to 15 minutes on areas with yellow lines.  Although a year later, it was reported that the idea had been quietly dropped.  This followed the publication of a Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) report that found that it could also "encourage more anti-social and potentially dangerous parking and also lead to sequential parking in some popular areas where kerb space might be continually occupied despite there being a restriction in place". (My emphasis)

This appears to be an all-too typical approach from the Communities Secretary, make a lot of noise on a supposedly populist policy announcement - only to quietly drop it when people realise the negative impacts.


More seriously, than the public dog-whistle posturing of individual politicians - is the central direction of transport policy that this example highlights.  
Need to increase "growth" ? Rush through plans to build more roads. Let's just ignore decades of evidence that building more roads does not reduce congestion. In fact, they increase traffic levels.
"An average road improvement, for which traffic growth due to all other factors is forecast correctly, will see an additional [i.e. induced] 10% of base traffic in the short term and 20% in the long term." (1994 SACTRA report 'Trunk Roads and the Generation of Traffic')

Worried about the impact of increased CO2 emissions from more traffic?  (on your newly built roads) - remove CO2 emissions from the grounds that local people can object to a road building proposal.

Pretending you are worried about the demise of the High Street as people shop at out-of-town retail parks due to the high cost of parking charges?  Suggest that vehicles can park anywhere on yellow lines - despite evidence from your own department that this would increase danger to pedestrians and people cycling.

How about changing the regulations that mean that large out-of-town retail centres do not pay business rates on the massive amounts of land taken up with "free" car parking places - whilst small High Street businesses have to pay business rates on the small number of car parking spaces that they provide. Level playing field anyone?  (But this is a subject for a future blog post).

But back to the subject of vehicles being able to park anywhere....
In the 1980s the Department for Transport (DfT) and Central Office of Information (COI) produced the leaflet (see above) which was sent out with driving licences and politely reminded drivers not to park on the pavement.  Unfortunately, the DfT and DVLA no longer seem to view this as a priority - although some Councils do.   
The government encourages local councils to apply to take over parking responsibilities from the police. This is called decriminalisation, because parking offences become civil matters, rather than criminal. In other areas where the local council has not applied to take charge, the police will still be responsible for enforcement.
The government encourages local councils to apply to take over parking responsibilities from the police. This is called decriminalisation, because parking offences become civil matters, rather than criminal. In other areas where the local council has not applied to take charge, the police will still be responsible for enforcement. - See more at: http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/make-a-change/urgent-actions/pavement-parking#sthash.HxK2Reru.dpuf
The government encourages local councils to apply to take over parking responsibilities from the police. This is called decriminalisation, because parking offences become civil matters, rather than criminal. In other areas where the local council has not applied to take charge, the police will still be responsible for enforcement. - See more at: http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/make-a-change/urgent-actions/pavement-parking#sthash.HxK2Reru.dpuf

The government encourages local councils to apply to take over parking responsibilities from the police. This is called decriminalisation, because parking offences become civil matters, rather than criminal. In other areas where the local council has not applied to take charge, the police will still be responsible for enforcement. - See more at: http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/make-a-change/urgent-actions/pavement-parking#sthash.HxK2Reru.dpuf
The Manchester City Council website states:
"Where there are parking restrictions in place, such as double yellow lines or where the kerbs are lower to enable pedestrians to cross, we can take action. However, the majority of instances happen where there are no parking restrictions in place.  If it presents an actual obstruction and pedestrians, wheelchair users or pushchairs can't pass safety or a car is parked across your driveway then contact the Police on 101 who can take action."
The government encourages local councils to apply to take over parking responsibilities from the police. This is called decriminalisation, because parking offences become civil matters, rather than criminal. In other areas where the local council has not applied to take charge, the police will still be responsible for enforcement. - See more at: http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/make-a-change/urgent-actions/pavement-parking#sthash.HxK2Reru.dpuf
In a 2006 report, Manchester City Council stated that they did "not currently have the powers to introduce a city-wide ban on pavement parking due to no current legislation for enforcement outside London. The only way a total ban could be achieved would be to implement individual TRO’s and erect associated signage on every street within the city."

The report went on to explain how to do this on a road-by-road basis would be very expensive.

However, in London, pavement parking is banned throughout the 32 London boroughs, and the City of London under the Greater London (General Purposes) Act 1974. The Highway Code states; "You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London". All councils in London can and should enforce this law by issuing parking tickets to any vehicles parked on pavements, unless there is a sign there that specifically permits it. (Para 244)
Pavement parking is banned throughout the 32 London boroughs, and the City of London under the Greater London (General Purposes) Act 1974. The Highway Code states; 'You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London'. All councils in London can and should enforce this law by issuing parking tickets to any vehicles parked on pavements, unless there is a sign there that specifically permits it. - See more at: http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/make-a-change/urgent-actions/pavement-parking#sthash.HxK2Reru.dpuf

Manchester recently announced that one-third of all the streets (where people live) would have a 20mph speed limit. Reducing traffic speed and noise will help play a part in making our streets safer and nicer places to live, meet, play and cycle.
Reclaiming pavements for people (young and old) to walk and play on would be another great step.  
Following a presentation at the Manchester Cycle Forum (March 2014) about enforcement by Manchester Community Enforcement officers of parking in cycle lanes and shared pavements - the MCC officers were asked whether it would be possible (legally, not necessarily politically) for Manchester to implement a similar regulation to the London Scheme.  Eg all pavement parking is banned - apart from where it is allowed.

A response was promised for the next Cycle Forum (June) but unfortunately was not forthcoming.  Let's hope that an answer can be provided to the September Cycle Forum.
Meanwhile, you can support the Living Streets campaign on inconsiderate pavement parking. Living Streets calls for: 
  • UK Government to make pavement parking illegal throughout the UK  
  • UK Government to lead a wider national “pavement education” campaign on all aspects of using our pavements – including anti-social parking and cycling 
  • All local authorities to decriminalise and take on the civil enforcement of parking offences 
  • Where police are responsible for enforcement, to take the issue more seriously and enforce all instances of pavement parking.

Living Streets calls for:

  • UK Government to make pavement parking illegal throughout the UK
  • Scottish Government to expand dropped kerb regulations into Scotland
  • UK Government to lead a wider national “pavement education” campaign on all aspects of using our pavements – including anti-social parking and cycling
  • All local authorities to decriminalise and take on the civil enforcement of parking offences
  • Where police are responsible for enforcement, to take the issue more seriously and enforce all instances of pavement parking.
- See more at: http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/make-a-change/urgent-actions/pavement-parking#sthash.HxK2Reru.dpuf

Bury Council policy:  Safer parking

We have a responsibility to keep the roads and footpaths safe to use.
Illegally parked vehicles cost us thousands of pounds a year due to damaged paving, damaged grass verges. They also cause serious problems for blind, disabled and older people.
What action do we take against pavement parking?If there are waiting restrictions (yellow lines) on the highway adjacent to the pavement then a Penalty Charge Notice would be issued, as a vehicle parked in this manner is in contravention of the Traffic Order. Waiting restrictions cover the highway from the centre of the highway to back of the footpath.
If there are no waiting restrictions on the highway adjacent to the pavement, then we have no powers to take action and this should be taken up with the Police as it constitutes obstruction.


Trafford Council. What action do we take against pavement parking?

If there are waiting restrictions (yellow lines) on the highway adjacent to the pavement then a Parking Fine would be issued since a vehicle parked in this manner is in contravention of the traffic order.
Waiting restrictions cover the highway from centre of highway to back of footpath.
If there are no waiting restrictions on the highway adjacent to the pavement, then we have no powers to take action and this should be taken up with the Police since it constitutes an obstruction.





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