Pavement parking ban: a one size fits all solution?
The Department for transport announced this week that the government will consult on whether to hand local authorities more powers to ban pavement parking. Motoring research shows that almost one in 10 motorists park on the pavement every single day. With an estimated 31 million cars in the UK today, that equates to approximately three million vehicles parked on pavements daily. Pavement parking can be dangerous for pedestrians and wheelchair users and needs to be addressed.
Pavement parking is already banned in London, with motorists liable for fines of up to £100, but only prohibited for lorries across the rest of the UK. With pressure mounting on lawmakers to roll out a nation-wide pavement parking ban in the UK, local authorities are actively considering the impact this will have on their own parking infrastructures and mobility. A nation-wide ban will be beneficial for pedestrians, wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs. However, it poses questions as to how cities will manage more vehicles with less available on-street parking? A total ban would require access to alternative parking.
Data driving decisions
Drivers who irresponsibly park on pavements, blocking access for pedestrians, should be penalised. However, there is a more sustainable solution than a blanket ban. Councils can generate insight from big data to assess traffic flows and parking problem areas in real-time. This can enable the setting of demand-led parking tariffs and inform decisions around traffic management policies, the building of new parking facilities and the development of new resident parking schemes. This helps to deliver more effective parking solutions in both the short and the long term for the benefit of the local economy and public wellbeing.
Data from connected parking systems can be used by councils to identify which streets would need a pavement parking ban. Otherwise there could be unintended consequences of implementing a nationwide ban. For example, motorists in some narrow residential streets park on the pavement to allow access for traffic and emergency vehicles. By creating a tailored approach, with a street-by-street assessment, councils are more likely to achieve a more sustainable solution to a widespread problem.
Pavement parking is a complex issue which requires a strategic and granular approach. An outright ban may not be practical or sustainable. However, it is promising to see pavement parking is being seriously considered for the safety of pedestrians, wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs.