Local authority leaders have called on the Government to give councils the freedom to ban pavement parking in their own areas.
A new study by the sustainable transport charity Sustrans has revealed that just 56% of disabled people and 55% of residents on low incomes feel welcome when walking and wheeling in their neighbourhood, with only 52% of people believing it’s safe for children to walk in their local area.
Sustrans’ Walking and Cycling Index, the first such national study for urban areas, found that this compares to 69% of non-disabled people, and 74% of those in managerial or professional roles. The study received responses from more than 24,000 people.
Banning pavement parking would help 70% of all residents to walk or wheel more, according to the charity.
Sustrans chief executive, Xavier Brice, said: ‘Walking and wheeling should be the most accessible and desirable form of transport. It is of huge importance to people, especially during the current cost of living crisis and climate emergency.
‘The evidence is clear that people wish to feel safe and welcome while walking and wheeling, and without parked vehicles getting in their way. Pavement parking is discriminatory against wheelchair and mobility scooter users, other disabled people, those with visual impairments, and more.
‘The UK Government’s target is for half of all journeys in towns and cities to be cycled or walked by 2030. Achieving this will be impossible unless we do more to make walking and wheeling more accessible and inclusive – a vital first step is to ban pavement parking.’
Pavement parking is already prohibited in London, and following consultation the UK Government is considering extending this across England. The Scottish government is set to introduce a ban in 2023.
Responding to the report, Cllr David Renard, Local Government Association (LGA) transport spokesperson, said: ‘Pavement parking and damaged pavements is one of the biggest complaints from pedestrians – and not just in London. Similarly, repairing kerbs and pavements damaged by pavement parking is expensive and this funding could be better used to repair potholes, support local buses and provide more suitable parking.
‘We have long-called for councils across the whole country to be able to take individual local decisions about whether to introduce a ban on pavement parking. It was disappointing the Queen’s Speech did not give councils the powers they need to tackle the scourge of pavement parking, which presents a danger to pedestrians and vulnerable people.
‘We urge the Government to take urgent action and make our streets safer for everyone.’