Call to ban pavement parking as survey highlights ‘discriminatory’ impact

Disabled residents and those on low incomes feel less comfortable walking in their neighbourhoods, a new poll suggests.

Neil Lancefield
Wednesday 18 May 2022 00:01
Pavement parking should be banned as it puts people off from walking in their neighbourhoods, according to a new report (Peter Lane/Alamy/PA)
Pavement parking should be banned as it puts people off from walking in their neighbourhoods, according to a new report (Peter Lane/Alamy/PA)

Pavement parking should be banned because it puts people off walking in their neighbourhoods, according to a new report.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans, which commissioned the UK’s largest study of active travel in urban areas, described the practice as “discriminatory”.

Some 56% of disabled respondents to the poll of 23,000 people said they feel welcome when walking or using a wheelchair or mobility scooter – known as wheeling – in their local area.

People wish to feel safe and welcome while walking and wheeling

Xavier Brice, Sustrans

That is compared with 69% of non-disabled people.

The survey also suggested that 55% of residents on low incomes feel welcome, compared with 74% of those in managerial or professional roles.

Fewer cars on pavements would help 70% of people walk or wheel more, according to the survey, which was shared with the PA news agency.

Pavement parking is already banned in London and the UK Government is considering extending this across England.

A ban in Scotland is expected to be introduced by the Holyrood administration next year.

People walk or wheel more frequently than other forms of urban transport, the poll indicated.

Half of respondents (50%) do so at least five days a week, compared with 39% for car use, 11% for public transport and 5% for cycling.

The majority of people questioned (56%) want to see more investment on walking and wheeling compared with just 32% for driving.

The UK Government’s spending commitments for England are £27 billion for roads but just £2 billion on cycling and walking, according to Sustrans.

The charity’s chief executive Xavier Brice said: “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.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We want everyone to be able to enjoy the benefits of cycling and walking, and our plans are supported by an unprecedented £2 billion package of funding for active travel over five years.

“We are actively considering the options for addressing pavement parking and we will announce next steps as soon as possible.”

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