30 September 2013

Council to clamp down on pavement parking

Illegal parking on pavements on a busy city street is to be tackled by Brighton & Hove City Council.

In a bid to increase safety for all roads users, particularly pedestrians, the council is planning to take action to stop drivers parking on the pavements behind double yellow lines on Elm Grove.

Inconsiderate parking on the pavement in Elm Grove has increased over several years even though, with double yellow lines covering much of the road, it has always been illegal. Council officers feel that the situation has now reached a crisis and walkers, cyclists and other road users are increasingly at risk.

Vehicles have been parking on pavements near junctions, reducing visibility, across dropped kerbs, making it difficult for people with disabilities to cross the road, and in bus stops, causing problems for those getting on and off buses.

Council officers have been exploring ways to prevent dangerous and illegal pavement parking. Earlier this year officers worked with ward councillors and a residents working group to draft a scheme to tackle the problem by creating a mix of new parking areas and landscaping.

However, the results of a public consultation showed that 67% of residents opposed the plans, their main concern being displacement, and lack of available spaces for those cars parked on the pavement.

The proposals were supported by 30% of respondents many who appealed to the council to stop parking and driving on pavements.

The consultation, sent to 798 addresses in and around Elm Grove, made it clear to residents that the alternative to the proposed parking scheme would be enforcement of the existing restrictions.

The decision to clamp down on pavement parking has the backing of neighbourhood police, who will support Civil Enforcement Officers (parking attendants) in enforcing the regulations that are already in place. In addition, Brighton & Hove Bus Company, Sussex Community NHS Trust, South East Coast Ambulance Service and Bricycles have all indicated their support for better management of traffic and parking in the area.

In the three year period between January 2010 and December 2012 there were 24 road traffic collisions in Elm Grove and 27 people were injured.

Councillor Pete West, Brighton & Hove, chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, explained: “In the past Civil Enforcement Officers have not issued penalty notices to vehicles pavement parking in these areas, but the situation is now becoming just too dangerous, with cars overhanging the pavements and blocking the view of both drivers and pedestrians at junctions.

“Motorists regularly drive along pavements to reach ‘spaces,’ parking dangerously close to junctions, pedestrian guard rails and trees.

“Our Safer Routes to School programmes are encouraging more and more children to travel to the classroom on foot, and work has included improving visibility at junctions near Elm Grove Primary School. Therefore it is vital that the council ensures that nearby pavements and junctions are kept free from obstruction.”

He added that cars are also parked across pedestrian dropped kerbs preventing people with wheelchairs, mobility scooters and pushchairs from using them.

As a result, residents are finding it increasingly difficult to use the pavements and, in some cases, are forced to walk in the road

“We understand that there will be some residents who have been parking in this way for some years and will be unhappy about the proposed enforcement,” said Cllr West. “However, our proposal to create a mix of parking and landscaping in the area was rejected by the majority of residents.

“The council must consider how to balance the needs of residents against the very serious safety concerns for pedestrians and for drivers, especially around the junctions. It is also the council’s duty to ensure accessibility, particularly for people with disabilities.”

It the committee approves the proposals, the council plans to start issuing warning notices to vehicles illegally parked in Elm Grove from November 4, with enforcement starting two weeks after that.