Pavement Parking along Mill Road

A hazard, a scandal, and hope for reform

For many years local residents have complained about cars, taxis, vans and lorries driving onto Mill Road’s pavements, creating a hazard for all pedestrians, but especially for wheelchair-users, people with vision disabilities and for parents with young children. Even when no vehicle is on the the pavement, paving-slabs had been compressed and cracked by irresponsible drivers, crating trip hazards.

Cambridgeshire County Council could deal with the problem, but have done nothing.

Cambridgeshire County Council – as highway authority – has powers to issue a traffic regulation order (TRO) to prohibit parking on Mill Road’s pavements, enforced by their civil parking enforcement officers (CEOs, aka ‘Traffic Wardens’) who could issue an immediate Penalty Charge Notice (PCN, ‘Parking Ticket’). The revenue from PCNs would pay for the cost of enforcement, so no increase in council tax would be needed.

Cambridgeshire County Council, along with all English Traffic Authorities with ‘civil parking enforcement powers’ were granted powers in February 2011 to prohibit, by means of a TRO, parking on footways and verges, wherever they consider it necessary.

Sadly, we have seen no action by Cambridgeshire County Council to tackle this menace.

To view the original letter from the then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Norman Baker, click the links below:

Nothing in a pavement parking TRO would inconvenience traders’ deliveries. The current Mill Road permitted loading/unloading times would be exactly the same.

Neither would it change anything about parking along Romsey’s side-streets, where pavement parking is permitted as the only way of accommodating residents’ cars.

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And it’s not just Mill Road which suffers, as this article – Cambridge driver finds alternative parking in the middle of a path – from Ella Pengelly shows.

Car parked on path in Coldhams Lane (Image: Will Peters)

Now, matters may be taken out of the County Council’s hands.

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee are looking into reform…

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Today, the Transport Committee launches an inquiry to explore the problems of pavement parking in England and consider possible solutions.  As pavement parking is devolved, the focus is on England only.

House of Commons Transport Select Committee, 02 April 2019

Purpose of the inquiry

Parking on pavements creates real problems. For those with visual difficulties, who use mobility aids, or need to navigate footpaths with children, unpredictable hazards such as cars represent a potential danger.

‘Pavement parking’ is when one or more wheels of a vehicle are on the footpath. As well as creating obstacles for people wanting to use footpaths, Councils face additional costs to repair damage to surfaces which are not designed to take the weight of motor vehicles.

A mix of criminal and civil sanctions are available to police and local councils to enforce restrictions on pavement parking on private or commercial drivers.  Parking on footways or pavements was banned in London in 1974*, and it’s prohibited for large goods vehicles across England. [ibid]

* The ban applies to all footways and verges, except where there are permitted parking bays laid out (as in some Romsey side-streets). [Our note]

Lack of progress in tackling pavement parking has led many groups to campaign on the issue and although it is regularly raised with MPs by their constituents, the Government has not taken any action on this issue in recent years. [ibid]

This is an area where some people’s actions cause real difficulties for others. Parking on pavements risks the safety of all groups of people from the littlest to the oldest, with differing needs. While we’re also inquiring into Active Travel – how we get more people to get into walking and cycling – we need to make sure it’s safe to take to the streets. We want to hear from the public about the difficulties this presents and the solutions on offer.

Lilian Greenwood (Chair) [ibid]

Call for written evidence

The Committee is calling for written evidence on the following:

  • the impact of pavement parking;
  • the enforcement of pavement parking offences; and 
  • enforcement and, if necessary, reform of traffic regulation orders need to deal with pavement parking. 

The closing date to submit written evidence is 14 May 2019.

More information
How to submit written evidence
  1. Think about how pavement parking affects you, your family, friends and neighbours. Can people in wheelchairs get by? How do parents with toddlers cope?
  2. Think about incidents where you have seen vehicles drive onto the pavement. Was your child frightened? Did a driver hoot at you, or someone, to move out of there way?
  3. Mention that, although Cambridgeshire County Council – as highway authority – have had powers to prevent pavement parking since February 2011, no action has been taken.
  4. Compose your submission in your word-processing software of choice.
  5. Convert it to a Word document.
  6. Click through to the Pavement parking – written submission form page (here).
  7. Fill in your own details and attach your submission.
The closing date to submit written evidence is 14 May 2019.

If you would like your submission published on this page, copy and paste it into the box below, or email it to us, asking for it to be published with attribution or anonymously.

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