Green Councillors in Bristol have made a submission to the House of Commons Inquiry into pavement parking, highlighting the dangers and accessibility problems it causes and calling for a ban to be legally enforced by either local government or the police.
The parliamentary inquiry into pavement parking was set up following escalating local frustrations about the issue. Parking on pavements is a common complaint in many urban areas in the UK outside London (where it is banned).
Green Councillor Martin Fodor co-ordinated the Green group’s response, which he says was made due to the frequent case work in wards. Residents across wards in Bristol have repeatedly raised frustrations over clogged streets, pavements inaccessible to disabled or elderly people, risk of car crashes caused by cars parked on corners, and the real danger that cramped streets might prevent emergency vehicles like fire engines getting to people’s homes in time. In February this year it was revealed that Avon fire crews have been delayed on multiple occasions by badly parked cars and are procuring smaller fire trucks.
A resident responding to a survey carried out by councillors in Southville and Bedminster said:
“The parking on the pavements and even worse, on the corners, are just insanely dangerous,” said one local resident. “Every day I watch parents with buggies and small children having to walk out in the roads. It’s just a matter of time before something serious happens.” (Survey respondent quoted in the Bristol Post)
The submission by the Green Councillor group[attached] draws on the work of the Bristol Walking Alliance and adopts many of the same goals. Greens call for clarification on the law and a ‘memorandum of understanding’ between the police and local government to resolve who enforces pavement parking, as well as public engagement, better design to make streets safer for children and people with disabilities, and a review of local Traffic Regulation Orders.
Councillor Fodor said that residents in his ward of Redland frequently complained about pavement parking and challenged the failure of Bristol’s Labour administration to address the issue. The Green councillor said:
“For people in Redland and in other areas across the city this is a daily problem. Pavement parking means blocked pavements which means that parents with buggies or residents in wheelchairs or mobility scooters are often forced to walk in the middle of the road. It increases the risk of car accidents, slows down waste and recycling and the failure to manage these issues is already causing delays to emergency services in Bristol. I recognise that it’s a complex issue as often pavement parking is an attempt to free up space in the road for other vehicles, and ultimately we have to deal with the overcrowding of our streets that’s fuelling this behaviour. This problem won’t go away unless the council and the government take action – the way things stand I’m worried that it’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt or worse.”
“At the moment there’s a confusion over whether this is a civil or a criminal offence. It’s time the government provided clarification on this. And at the local level it’s frustrating that nothing is being done – myself and other Green councillors have been calling for action to improve street parking for years now but the Labour administration has failed to deliver for residents. The Council has a responsibility to everyone in Bristol, particularly vulnerable residents and those with disabilities, to ensure that their streets are accessible and safe.”
The Green Group's full submission to the Parliamentary enquiry can be found here. The headline statement is below:
We support and endorse the submission by the Bristol Walking Alliance and are happy to restate many of their comments below, along with some points from our experience as city councillors. We support their goal to create an environment for those on foot that is:
- Welcoming – with well-maintained and generous pedestrian space in attractive surroundings
- Safe – designed to be safe and to feel safe
- Convenient – direct routes free of impediments
- Inclusive – usable by all regardless of age, gender, financial circumstances or level of fitness.
Pavement parking is an issue of widespread concern to our residents and especially to parents of young children, older pedestrians and people with disabilities. It features frequently in our ward councillor casework and lack of effective solutions leads to frequent frustration.