If you live in any modern housing estate you’ll know that parking is probably the bane of your existence, I know it is mine. Luckily, I have a three-car driveway with my apartment, which is a damn sight more than most of the four-bed houses in my area have the luxury of. I’ve not moved in nearly 12 years because of this fact, there simply isn’t anywhere that can give me enough parking, new or old.
Streets have become narrower as generic looking housing developments pop up from one end of the country to another. People are either too lazy to use their allocated parking in flats and apartments, numerous houses are turned into multiple occupancies where every dweller has a car, or there just aren’t enough spaces full stop; meaning the pavements become littered with four wheels as the struggle to park spills over onto the pathways.
Not only does this inconvenience every other motorist as they weave their way in and around the chicane of cars, but the reason paths were built, you know, pedestrians, sacrifice the most. Every morning as I’m about to pull off the driveway I watch as school children on bikes divert around cars with two wheels on the pavement, mothers with buggies leave the safety of the path to mix it with the hurried rush of the motorist on their morning commute.
I get that some people simply have nowhere to park, it’s not entirely their fault as the developers haven’t catered for the number of cars that there are. Larger houses will often have a double garage and a four-car driveway, but only if you’ve got five beds or more, an average three-bed home makes do with a garage and a drive. Well, we all know the garage is full of clutter that’s not wanted in the house, and/or owners are too bone idle to park and retrieve their car from within. Kids grow up and ultimately buy a car, meaning that Mum, Dad and their offspring all have a vehicle, that’s one too many even if they used their garage.
In that regard, the Commons Select Committee has launched an inquiry into pavement parking in England. ‘Pavement parking’ is classified when one or more wheels of a car are on the pathway, while this was banned in London way back in 1974 it sadly hasn’t made its way across the country. This leaves local councils with unhappy residents, bills to repair damage to pathways not designed to take the weight of vehicles and a myriad of hazards for the visually impaired, users of mobility aids, children and parents/carers alike.
That’s without taking into account the need for clear access for the fire brigade in the event of an emergency.
The Committee is requesting for written evidence on the following:
- Impact of pavement parking
- Enforcement of pavement parking offences; and enforcement &, if necessary, reform of traffic regulation orders need to deal with pavement parking
While most motorists will think their actions are considerate to other road users, they could endanger life in more ways then they think. From a mother or child being knocked down, a school kid being hit on his bike as he swerves off the pavement around their car, or a family stuck in a house fire. The simple act of parking half on, half off the pavement could have far-reaching consequences.
It’s hard to say what can be done when it’s just down to bad planning, do you paint yellow lines everywhere and send round a parking warden until people get the message? Then where do they park? It just moves the problem along. Do we dig up green spaces in our communities to build car parks with allocated spots for all those who park on our roads?
We may pay road tax to use our vehicles, but it doesn’t mean we own the pavements too when we’re not in motion.