THE LOCAL Council is to call on the Assembly to ban all parking on pavements, citing the dangers pavement parking causes to pedestrians, particularly parents and people with disabilities.
With no legislation stopping vehicles from inconsiderate or obstructive parking currently in place in the North, in December Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon opened a public consultation calling for views on how inconsiderate pavement parking should be addressed across the North.
“Parking on pavements puts everyone using the pavements at risk,” said the minister. “Drivers often mistakenly think they are doing the right thing by keeping the road clear but fail to realise the consequences as their vehicle blocks the footway for people.”
The options being considered by the Department, and which the consultation is seeking views on, include individual bans using existing powers; outright bans on pavement parking; and the introduction of powers that would allow traffic wardens to enforce against vehicles found to be parked on the pavement and causing an obstruction.
The Department is also seeking views on how to deal with vehicles parked across dropped kerbs which have been lowered specifically to help people cross the road.
In a draft consultation response document due to be presented to the policy and resource committee meeting tonight (Wednesday), the Council has provisionally opted to choose the ‘other’ option, rather than the three listed above.
“The Council, following consultation with members of its Disability Advisory Group and Access and Inclusion Steering Groups believes that a combination of options 2 and 3 would be most suitable,” the documents states.
“It would be beneficial for everyone, not just people with disabilities for an outright ban on pavement parking to be introduced, with the only exceptions being emergency situations.
“However, it is also strongly felt by the group members that the traffic attendants should be allowed to enforce against vehicles found to be parked on pavements which are causing obstructions.”
The Council noted that pavement parking presented a big problem to people with various disabilities, and often caused people to have to walk on roads causing danger.
“Inconsiderate pavement parking not only has a negative impact on people with disabilities, but also for people with pushchairs and young children,” it stated. “By forcing these people onto the roads, they are being placed in unnecessary harm.”
The Council also called on the Department to take “a stronger stance” on parking in front of dropped kerbs, and said there would need to be an awareness campaign on any legislation changes.
Noting the call for traffic wardens to enforce any new legislation, the Council noted wardens tended to only work in large towns.
“There needs to be a way of enforcing this in small towns, villages and rural areas,” it said. “If this is not done, it will give the impression that the legislation can just be ignored.”
The deadline for the submission of responses to the consultation is March 18th. To have your say, visit www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/consultations
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