The Isle of Wight Council’s transport chief is calling for a crackdown on pavement parking.
Cllr Ian Ward, the cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, wants local obstruction enforcement powers.
Currently, the Department for Transport (DfT) is holding a consultation for ways in which to tackle pavement parking, with one final option seeing all pavement parking prohibited, like in Greater London.
Inherent dangers to pedestrians
Although the DfT concedes many of the towns and cities in the country were not designed to accommodate high levels of traffic, which leads to pavement parking, it says there are inherent dangers for all pedestrians, with particular difficulties for those with sight or mobility difficulties and those with prams.
Local authorities do manage their own road networks to reduce congestion and disruption while also having specific powers for parking enforcement, rather than the police, such as setting restrictions to parking within specific areas by Traffic Regulation Orders and issuing penalty charge notices.
Unable to enforce
The offence of unnecessary obstruction of the highway, including in situations where obstructive parking on the pavement is deemed avoidable, is however dealt with under criminal law by the police, and local authorities are unable to enforce against them.
The consultation proposes three options to the pavement parking problem: rely on improvements to the traffic management system; allow local authorities to enforce against unnecessary pavement obstructions or to get rid of pavement parking altogether.
A difficult and contentious subject to address
Discussing the issue at the neighbourhoods and regeneration policy and scrutiny committee, the Isle of Wight Council did not support getting rid of pavement parking, but a mixture of improving the traffic order systems and enforcement powers.
Members of the committee agreed in some of the Island’s narrow roads, parking on the pavement meant the road was clear, but it would be a very difficult and contentious subject to address.
Request to deal with locally
Cllr Ward has submitted a motion to full council to request the leader write to the appropriate government minister to request obstruction enforcement powers for the parking team ‘to deal with the situation locally, without having to rely on the police who have enough to do already’.
In his motion, Cllr Ward said:
“This council is concerned about the dangers of pavement parking causing problems for sight-impaired residents, disabled residents, pram and pushchair users and mobility scooter users as well as the general public and wants to address the situation on the Island.”
The change in power could mean parking enforcement officers, who give out tickets and fines, would be able to add penalty points to a driver’s licence where dangerous parking has taken place.
The motion will be voted on at the next full council meeting on Wednesday, 18th November from 5pm.
2.50pm 18th Nov 2020 – Image changed to IW example
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed
Image: © With kind permission of Benjamin Tonner