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)?