— There are other solutions rather than local Government illegally endorsing illegal parking.
COMMENT & ANALYSIS: A council turning a bit of a blind eye to something is one thing, but anybody interested in road safety, disability access or reducing the impact of car use in urban areas should be fighting tooth and nail against Dublin City Council endorsing illegal footpath parking.
It’s not something we should be turning a blind eye to anyway as illegal parking is directly linked to deaths in this country and others — from pedestrians getting crushed inside cars parked partly on a footpath when a motorist driving along hits the parked cars, to people on bicycles being killed when other motorists are “forced” to swing around parked cars.
On a daily basis illegal parking also has a serious impact on the ability of people to get around safely, independently and uninterrupted without having to walk onto the road. Especially children, less mobile older people, people in wheelchairs, people with sight issues, and mothers and fathers pushing prams. Illegal parking also regularly blocks emergency access.
This is a national issue — it will effect other areas of the country if Dublin City Council gets away with it. Everybody with interested should be writing to Dublin City Council’s CEO to complain.
In the UK, outside of London where footpath (pavement) parking is mostly legal, there’s a move by road safety, disability and active travel campaigners to fight for what we legally have. We need to fight for what we have already and for better enforcement, encouragement and design.
It seems like if the council follow through with their policy and make it official that not just as they endorsing criminal behaviour but they would be doing so illegally.
It is surreal that not long after the Road Safety Authority starts an advertising campain against parking on footpaths and cycle paths that a council could start to illegally endorse illegal parking just as long as there 2 metres left for pedestrians.
Not only is it likely illegal or acting beyond their powers for councils to try to draw a distinction between parking on a footpath with 2m space or less. This kind of ambiguity will make it harder to stop all sorts of illegal and dangerous parking.
Currently a load of motorists see no problem with driving up onto footpaths to illegally park in city, town or village centres simply because they can do it at home. If they can do it and are encouraged to do it on their own street, then why wouldn’t they do it elsewhere?
If it’s allowed to fester, the issue will only get worse as BusConnects and cycle routes are built — if parking on footpaths and cycle paths becomes (officially) acceptable then make no mistake that the issue will get worse.
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There are alternatives approaches that councils should be acting on:
- — Getting people to park legally in available spaces: While some streets and areas this is not a solution, it seems like a very large percentage of illegal parking isn’t down to a shortage or car parking. Often people park on footpaths outside houses with empty driveways or with free public parking spaces just a short walk away.
- — As part of the above, offer residents information, parking permits for other streets, and even incentives if needed.
- — Mark out parking spaces on the roadway: In many cases there’s ample space on the carriageway for cars to park and still allow emergency access once the parking is organised correctly (ie painted spaces out on one side of the road or the other or alternating from one side to the other ). This would also offer act as traffic calming.
- — As part of the above, look at options such as reverse-in diagonal parking on suitable streets and even woonerf-like designs.
- — And also, making some streets one-way (with contra-flow without lanes for cycling) to allow for car parking on the carriageway rather footpaths. Done right, this would also act as traffic calming.
- — As a last resort: Dig into very wide footpaths to make new parking bays. This should generally be reserved for helping residents with mobility issues to have parking nearer to their houses.
It’s easy to say forget about all of the above and just fine or clamp or remove illegally parked cars, but some balance is needed if we want to move from a country when illegal parking is tolerated to one where it’s the rare exception.