Call to curb footway parking

Councils across England and Wales should be given new powers to outlaw parking on footways, according to the Local Government Association.

It says that inconsiderate motorists who block the footway represent both a danger and an inconvenience to pedestrians who have to step into the road to walk around stationary vehicles.

The association says that footway parking has been banned in London for over 40 years and powers to outlaw the practice should be handed to all councils.

Local authorities can use existing Traffic Regulation Orders to ban footway parking on certain roads but it is “a time consuming, expensive and bureaucratic process” the group adds.

Local Government Association transport spokesman Martin Tett said: “Local authorities need this power to respond to concerns raised by their communities, for example if a street is becoming dangerously congested or pedestrians are being forced to step out into the street to get round parked vehicles. This is particularly dangerous for blind or partially sighted people and mums and dads with prams.”

Pedestrian group Living Streets welcomed the call. Its head of policy and communications Tompion Platt said: “Our streets should be inviting and accessible places to walk and vehicles parked on pavements cause an obstruction to us all. At best pavement parking is a nuisance and at worst it can put people’s safety at risk by forcing them into the road.

“The law on pavement parking needs to be simplified – only allowing parking on pavements that have been specially designated to allow it, making it the exception rather than the rule. We fully support more powers being given to local authorities to make this a reality.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We recognise the importance of making sure that pavement parking doesn’t put pedestrians at risk, and believe councils are best placed to make decisions about local restrictions.

“Councils already have the power to ban drivers from using pavements and we are looking at whether more can be done to make it easier for them to tackle problem areas.”

♦ One in six local roads will need to be repaired – or even closed – within the next five years, according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance which published its latest annual local authority road maintenance survey yesterday.

It says that the one time cost of bringing the network up to scratch now stands at more than £12Bn and will, given the right resources, take a decade to implement.

“Local authority highway teams do not have enough resources to arrest the terminal decline in the condition of our local roads and the network is not resilient enough to meet the challenges ahead,” the group's chairman Alan Mackenzie said. “Despite this, the efficiencies they have achieved in recent years through adopting an asset management approach should be applauded.

“Working smarter, greater collaboration and improved communication are all contributing to their ability to do more with less – though of course there will come a point when there are no further efficiency savings to be found.”

An analysis of the local authority road maintenance survey will appear in the April issue of Transportation Professional.