The introduction of a long-awaited bill that would hand legal rights of pavements to pedestrians has been welcomed by campaigners, but there is concern that councils have not provided motorists with alternative parking spaces in areas affected by high levels of vehicle congestion.
The Footway Parking and Double Parking (Scotland) Bill, which on Thursday was submitted to the Scottish Parliament, seeks to make it an offence to park on pavements and drop kerbs. It would also criminalise double parking.
Due to delays and legal wranglings, such as whether it would be Holyrood or Westminster overseeing the change in law, and uncertainty concerning legal definitions of terms such as ‘pavement’ and ‘obstruction’, it has taken more than a decade to be submitted.
The director of Living Streets Scotland, Stuart Hay, said that of all the complaints the charity receives, pavement parking was the most common. “Pavements are for pedestrians, not vehicles, and parking on them causes inconvenience and danger. The time for action is now as existing powers don’t work and are seldom used by the police or local authorities.”
Fears have also been voiced with regard to residential areas in which motorists are forced to park on pavements in order to leave room for other vehicles to pass. Said the Institute for Advanced Motorists’ director for policy, Neil Greig, “If councils are to ban pavement parking on areas where it is long established then they should provide alternatives such as off road parking rather than just hoping the problem will disappear.”