LSE responds to Transport Scotland consultation on potential exemptions to the ban on pavement parking

The consultation is open until 11 March 2022: be sure to have your say! bit.ly/3FL6wTT 

Neither of the proposed grounds for exemption are acceptable: no streets should be exempt from the ban on pavement parking. This is for the following reasons:

  • as a matter of principle, “pavements are for people”, not vehicles. The interests of pedestrians, and especially disabled pedestrians, should be paramount.
  • pavement parking damages footways which are not generally designed to carry the weight of a motor vehicle.
  • restrictions on parking are one of the main tools at the disposal of a local authority to achieve environmental and social goals such as the targets for reducing car travel by 2030 (20% nationally, 30% in Edinburgh).
  • any exemption will leave a council powerless to intervene should a pavement be obstructed, even if it appears that the pavement is wide enough to accommodate pavement parking.
  • if a street is too narrow for a fire engine or other emergency vehicle to pass, then parking should be banned altogether.
  • The implementation of exemptions would involve a range of legal orders, installation of signage etc. which would be an unwelcome additional burden on council responsibilities and budgets, and also add to pavement clutter.
  • A ’zero-exemption’ policy would permit quicker implementation of the ban.

Councils should instead focus enforcement resources where they are needed most but always retaining, for all streets, the powers to intervene should it be necessary. We know that Police Scotland will not respond to reports of footway obstructions so the new powers for local authorities must not be given up. Councils should also start conversations as soon as possible with communities which will be most affected (ie in the many streets where pavement parking is currently common) in order to help residents understand the action that they will need to take when the ban comes into effect.