Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Pavement Parking

One of the problems we have on this estate is that visitors often park their cars with two wheels on the pavements rather than use the dedicated parking spots which entail them walking between 25 and 100 yards to the house they’re visiting. Not a long walk by most healthy people’s standards, and even I can walk to my daughter’s car in the car-park, and my legs are well dodgy.

Luckily, not being able to pass on the pavement isn’t too much of a problem for most people here because there isn’t a whole lot of traffic. We live in a cul-de-sac so there’s no through traffic and the kids are always playing in the street, relatively safely. However, this isn’t the case on the myriad streets around our town where motorists do the same thing on far busier roads.

I for one wouldn’t want to have to negotiate a pushchair out into the traffic just to be able to pass a car belonging to somebody who obviously thinks his or her own selfish needs, like parking as close as possible to a shop because they can't be bothered to walk a few yards, are far more important than those of anybody else, and if I were in a wheelchair I’d be stuck. There’s no getting them up and down high kerbs and into traffic easily!

Unfortunately, there’s no law saying that motorists can’t park on pavements. Apparently government tried to pass a law back in 1974 but the police and local authorities opposed it as they had no way of enforcing it. Understandable from the police - they’re bogged down with more important things as it is (like pen pushing), and as far as local authorities go, they’d probably have to employ more traffic wardens which would increase council tax and everybody would be up in arms. It ended with government eventually telling each authority, in 1984, to act as they thought best.

But things have changed since the 80s. It isn’t unusual for a family to have two or three cars (when Richard still lived here, we had three - his, mine and LM’s) and without somewhere to park them, most end up on pavements. And let’s face it, if they were to park ‘properly’ along the sides of streets, no other cars would get through.

So what’s the answer? Do as they do in Japan? If you haven’t got somewhere to park, you don’t have a car? Or should local authorities prioritise more parking space? Or would people just ignore those spaces as they do on our estate? Or should we just leave things be and accept that young parents with prams have to push their babies out into traffic and wheelchair users and other disabled people will find it difficult to get around (and it’s difficult enough for them as it is)?

Anybody have any ideas?

Sharon J xx


Image Credit: Peter Ito


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Susan said...

Some people in my street won't even park their cars on their own driveways, don't ask me why, they prefer to park with two wheels on the grass verges. Of course most of the verges are now ruined because of the cars. I just don't understand some people.

Margaret's Ramblings said...

I can't think of any answer to this except to maybe restrict car ownership to one car per household. This seems unfair but we would soon get used to it. I can remember in New Zealand in the 70s fuel crisis we were all restricted to using our cars to three days a week. It didn't take long or folk to readjust their ives and get on with it.

Richard said...

They did make pavement parking illegal in London in the 90s. Certain roads were exempt, like ours. There were markings on the pavement over which you could not overlap and signs at the end of the street denoting that pavement parking was acceptable. No easy solution. There needs to be a complete change regarding our reliability on our cars.

Richard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sharon J said...

@ Susan. I don't understand why they don't use their own driveways - that really is selfish.

@ Margaret. One solution would be at least to hand out fines to those who do it when there's a more or less empty carpark within 50 meters of them, as is the case on our estate. But nothing happens, so they continue to cause an obstruction for others rather than walk that short distance. And the excuse can't be that they're afraid there car will get stolen because in the 7 years I've lived here, that's not happened yet.

@ Richard. I agree. The public transport infrastructure has to be vastly improved before people are going to generallly stop using their cars as much (or get rid of them). As things are now, using public transport is just too impractical for many.

Carol said...

Newham council recently started giving tickets to residents parking with their wheels on the pavement, then one of the neighbours got his car damaged by the dustcart so they relaxed the rule. If you go over the kerb edging bit they will still issue tickets

Chris said...

Hi Sharon !
I have no idea what the answer is! All I know is making laws will always exclude somebody { and cheese others off for want of another way of saying that bit!) and the danger is it would potentially exclude the vulnerable etc. I am not saying you are saying make laws and I know you are not saying exclude people....... I am just commenting on the risks of people who might one day make a law on parking doing so! We will never get it right for all- will we?
It is OK as somebody said "people will get used to it" re owning one car but what if you have to drive because it is the only way of getting out safely and independantly due to having a disability or a child with a disability and needing another car for another person to get to work, take the other children out somewhere else etc etc. We are not all living in perfect worlds with 2.2 healthy children or able to run for a bus or a train as sad as this might seem to others and so how would they "readjust their lifes and get on with it? Oh yes buses and trains have wheelchair access - one space per bus usually crammed full of pushchairs and it is usually required to book in advance for a train trip and again the space is limited to one per train so you might be unlucky there! **I know this post was not about disability and I am not trying to say it should be but try carrying a disabled child plus oxygen , feed pump , change of clothes etc to get on a bus which runs once an hour and then find it is cancelled or running early and you have just missed it.....and then it starts to rain..........umm hard enough with an active well fit and able child but not so easy with the situ I depict! Who can resolve that situation as the public transport system is a hit and miss affair!

I am fortunate enough to have a garage and a driveway but for a small property ( as mine is)this is now not the norm! We have a problem here as some of the road only have one space and two three and even 4 cars at times! We have permt parking bays for vistors but people don't want to pay for those and so park across others spaces and so on! All good fun and not so bright for neighbourly relationships sometimes! Thankfully I am not affected by that and so can stay out of it but I see the tensions and yes some of those people are as above now essential car users or drivers! Shift work is another big issue and when I was working I could not get to the hospital in time on a bus! I doubt walking the 6 miles plus a 12 hour shift would appeal to many neither would it appeal to those just finsihing their shifts to have to stay on another hour so I could pop to work on a bus! A 12 hour shift in a paediatric HDU/ICU is one thing - then having to stand and wait for a bus which only gets you part way home is quite another! So I could not have " got on with it" then either!

I think we all need to think more widely than what we encounter and outside of our own little worlds about this one as you are doing Sharon! We possibly cannot carry on with the numbers of cars we now have but where will people shop or work if they don't have one now the corner shops have gone and so on..............but maybe that is a story for another day!

Thanks as ever for your blog..I love to read it even if I don't have the energy to reply! Must be on a high today energy wise! My treat of the day was a rather posh hair cut and its made me feel good even though not better!


Kirsty said...

One of the councils near me are planning to issue tickets if you park on a grass verge. Not sure when it comes into force though.

Our street is terrible, it's a 1980's development and almost all of the houses here have 2 or more cars. We're in one of the smaller houses and can only fit one car on our drive (we have our own plus my husbands work van) but the bigger houses have huge driveways that can fit 3 cars but park mostly on the street just opposite our drive so getting off ours is made more difficult! Argh! The estate just wasn't set up for so many cars per household really but our street is really spacious compared to some round here!

Anonymous said...

there is actually a simple solution to this - put sidewalks in everywhere! if we made our urban centers more walkable, life would be so much easier. :)

Cabbage Heart said...

Thank goodness for Australia and it's wide open spaces! Gosh I love living here! Sharon, if i could afford to buy you and L an open ticket I would. I assure you both would love it here and wouldn't want to leave!
Big hugs


Sharon J said...

@ Carol. I think they should issue tickets here too, at least on roads that are broad enough to take parked cars on either side without them having to be on the pavement.

@ Chris. Yes, somebody will always be negatively affected but if they did bring in a law it would have to be with dispensations for those who have a real need for a car and nowhere else to park. Believe me, I have tried getting around with a disabled child myself and I didn't have a car back then so I know all the pitfalls involved. Sometimes I had more than one disabled child to deal with too. And being disabled myself now too.... well, you get the point. I still insist there's a certain degree of selfishness involved here though because those people causing obstructions on this estate are not disabled, neither do they have disabled children, and yet they still choose to park in places that make it difficult for others rather than use the car park. It's a general change in attitude that's needed more than anything else.

@ Kirsty. A lot of the streets in this town are very narrow and there's no way they can be widened so there will always be problems there and I don't really have an issue with that because there's not much that can be done, but when people insist on parking in such a way that it makes life difficult for others when they really don't need to, that gets my back up.

@ Paradigmshifted. Pavements are sidewalks in 'English' :)

Sharon J said...

Sorry, Cabbage Heart, we were both commenting at the same time. Didn't mean to ignore you.

I'm sure we'd love Oz, although it'd be a bit far away from my mum and she wouldn't move. I'm just gonna have to put up with the cars on the pavement ;)

teresa said...

I am really enjoying your blog and need to do better about reading it daily. You are frequent poster and thats great! Please keep it up, as I look forward to it. I'm learning from you more about simple living and applying that to life living on a boat.
Good luck, and thanks!

Sharon J said...

@ Teresa. You live on a boat? Now I bet that takes some organisation so that it doesn't become cluttered.

Anonymous said...

A lot of the new housing estates just aren't built with enough parking space for two cars, let alone one! They maximise number of properties rather than adequate parking spaces! It needs to change for me.. if you haven't got the space, where are you supposed to park?