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UK-wide pavement parking ban is being considered

Pavement parking could be banned in england

The Department of Transport (DfT) has suggested that pavement parking could be banned in the UK, pending a consultation. 

The ban would be in aid of pedestrians, who may struggle with cars obstructing pathways. The elderly, and those in wheelchairs or with buggies are considered the most inconvenienced by pavement parking.

One of the primary concerns is the social isolation and loneliness a blocked pavement can cause, if older or impaired people are unable to get out.

Pavement parking ban

The government has outlined its response to the Transport Committee’s 2019 report. The DfT says it:

  • Will address pavement parking in the Loneliness Strategy consultation ‘in the near future’
  • Will run a consultation on a national ban on pavement parking, increasing awareness and understanding of the issue
  • Will consider an offence of ‘obstructive pavement parking’, or ‘unnecessary obstruction’, enforceable by police and local councils
  • Will commit to further consultation this year on specific changes needed for Traffic Regulation Orders

Pavement parking ban

In London, a pavement parking ban has been in effect for nearly 50 years. While opening up walkways for pedestrians, it also ensures they sustain less damage. 

Pavement parking in London can see drivers landed with a fine of up to £100. Their car could even be towed away. All that’s needed is one or two wheels up on the footway to break the rules.

“I am pleased the government has taken on board the previous committee’s concerns about the very real difficulties presented by pavement parking and our proposed solutions,” said Huw Merriman MP in response to the DfT’s commitments.

Pavement parking ban

“There is much to praise in this response and we particularly welcome the Department for Transport’s intention to consult the public on how a ban on pavement parking would work for them.

“However, we have to now deliver this change. The government promised to look into the issue in 2015 but consultations, round-table events and internal reviews failed to lead to any actions to improve the experience of the public. This government has signalled an intent to finally deliver change. We now need a detailed timeframe from the Department for Transport to ensure this happens.”

RAC comment: “Not all streets are the same”

Pavement parking ban

“Blocking pavements impacts most on those with disabilities and those pushing buggies and creates unnecessary danger for pedestrians,” said RAC head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes.

“In short, nobody should be forced into stepping into the road to get around a vehicle that has taken up pavement space, so the government is right to explore giving local authorities additional powers to enforce this type of selfish parking.

“However, outlawing pavement parking as a whole is more complex because not all streets in the UK are the same. For example, some drivers will put a tyre up the kerb on a narrow residential street to avoid restricting road access to other vehicles, while still allowing plenty of space for pedestrian access. Therefore better guidance and a definition of what is and isn’t appropriate would be a more practical solution, rather than an outright ban.”

Is it illegal to park in front of a driveway?

Resident parking and parking in front of your driveway

Where parking is at a premium, some drivers will take desperate measures to secure a space.

One of the most frustrating situations for many home owners is when others park in front of their driveway. So, what is the law surrounding this? And is there anything that can be done?

The space in front of your house isn’t ‘yours’

Resident parking and parking in front of your driveway

The law is fairly clear on people’s rights to park in residential areas. Unless otherwise specified, the spaces on your street, and outside your home, are fair game. The police will remind you that it’s not ‘your right’ to park in front of your house.

That said, there is one situation where this doesn’t apply: areas that use resident parking permits, which have proliferated where commuter parking is rife. These areas require displayed permits, owned by residents only, for specified periods of the day.

A couple more grey-area parking rules are that you’re not allowed to park ‘in front of an entrance to a property’, or ‘anywhere that would prevent access for emergency services’. These are potentially worth investigating for your problem parker.

Parking pariahs: places you should NOT park

Van drivers facing parking crisis

There are a number of areas where you are definitely not allowed to park. These are areas marked off by zig-zag, red or double yellow lines. You should also avoid cycle lanes, marked taxi bays and close proximity to bus/tram stops if the signs indicate as such. 

Parking near to school entrances is also not allowed, along with areas close to junctions, plus parking spaces for Blue Badge holders and motorbikes.

Driveway parking: the law

Resident parking and parking in front of your driveway

Where people are not allowed to park is in front of your driveway, provided, of course, that there is a dropped kerb. 

Dropped kerbs, be they for pedestrians, or for drivers, are a no-go zone for parking. A vehicle can be ticketed for even partially covering one. Parking close to a dropped kerb, even if it restricts access, is not illegal, however.

What also isn’t illegal, bizarrely, is parking on someone else’s drive. It’s private property, and therefore a civil issue. 

Resident parking and parking in front of your driveway

“In a bizarre way, the system seems to favour the offender over the victim in this case,” said Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA.

“Because the offence of trespass is a civil matter the police cannot get involved, and as the vehicle is on private land the council cannot help either. So the only options available to homeowners seeking to get back what is rightfully theirs, costs both time and money.”

Provided the car is taxed, insured, has an MOT and is in safe condition, this is an issue way down the priority list of the authorities. Thankfully, it’s not all that common.

How to save money on car parking

How to save money on car parkingCar parking is often a frustrating and expensive business for motorists. Challenges range from finding spaces, to finding spaces that don’t cost a fortune, to actually paying for car parking once you find a space. 

So here’s a guide from us on taking the pain out of car parking, from booking ahead, to clever alternatives, to avoiding taking the car altogether. We start with the basics.

Ask around

You never know who knows what. Finding somewhere to leave your car could be a puzzle solved with a simple query to a friend, or a quick alert to all your friends on Facebook

ALSO SEE: Newcastle named best city for car parking

The life experience of your friends and loved ones is an invaluable resource for all any and all problems life throws at you, including finding good places to dump your wheels.

Parkopedia

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So your friends and family have come up short. What do you do? Thankfully, the world’s biggest brain, the internet, has your back. As its name suggests, Parkopedia is the Wikipedia of the parking world.

The website claims to cover 89 countries and over 15,000 cities, giving you access to over 70 million parking spaces. This number is rising all the time, as demonstrated by the ever-increasing figure on the homepage.

It’s all rather easy: you simply search for your desired location and Parkopedia displays a map of the car parks within the immediate vicinity. You can check out the prices and opening hours, as well as any restrictions or items of note.

The map also features a handy ‘traffic light’ system, enabling you to locate the cheapest car parks.

There’s also a smartphone app, while some car parks give you the opportunity to book ahead. Whether you commute to work or are visiting a city for the first time, the Parkopedia website could save you enough to pay for a good lunch.

Connected cars – the future of parking?

Connected cars create a variety of opportunities to streamline motoring life. Wejo is an app in development that uses this technology to, among other things, help you find free car parking spaces quickly and easily.

Being connected to other cars, means those cars can ‘tell’ your car when they’re leaving a parking space. The car park ballet dance could become a thing of the past. 

Book ahead

This is especially important if you intend to leave your car at an airport. Use the official Heathrow Airport website to book seven days of parking and the savings are significant. 

The prices will vary depending on availability and how early you book, but you will benefit from booking in advance, even if it’s on the day of travel.

Long stay, not short stay

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Sticking with airports, there are obvious benefits associated with short stay car parks. Take Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 – it’s a 2-4 minute walk to the short stay car park, compared with a 5-7 minute bus ride to the long stay.

In some airports it feels like the long stay car park is located in an entirely different continent, so you might argue the convenience of being closer to the terminal outweighs the pain associated with the 20-minute ride in a minibus.

Use a price comparison website

There seems to be a price comparison website for just about everything these days, including airport parking. Holiday Extras is one of the biggest and the most established of all the sites, and the savings can be significant.

The website claims you could save up to 60 percent versus the price you’d pay on the day. Holiday Extras also offers a best price guarantee, meaning they’ll refund the money if you find the same airport parking cheaper elsewhere.

It’s important to do your homework, because not all price comparison sites are as reputable as the market leaders. It’s also worth remembering that cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better. Research your options before you book.

Hotel package deals

If you’ve booked a room the night before your flight, ask if it’s possible to leave your car at the hotel for the duration of your trip. Some hotel operators offer a hotel+parking package deal, so ask about this when booking your accommodation.

This also applies to city centre breaks. Ask the receptionist if the hotel offers on-site parking, as this could save you tens of pounds over the course of a long weekend. Some hotels will offer free parking on a first come first served basis, while others will expect a small fee. Check to see if the local pay and display is cheaper.

Park on the edge of the city

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In basic terms, the closer you get to the city centre, the more expensive the cost of parking. You’ll also have to do battle with the inevitable congestion and fight for that single elusive free parking bay.

Do yourself a favour and find a car park on the edge of the town or city. In some cases, the parking might be free, but it will almost certainly be cheaper. If you’re worried about the walk, take the bus into the city centre.

In our own experience, we recently mored up in St Albans from Saturday to Monday, for free, and got the train into London. That’s three days of free parking. Lord knows what that would have cost in the city itself, and whether it would have even been available.

Park and ride

Speaking of which, using a park and ride facilities are the industrialisation of this tactic. They do tend to work out cheaper than parking in a city. Using Plymouth as an example, you’ll pay £3.40 for an adult return ticket from the George Junction park and ride.

Hire a driveway

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When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. During working hours, your driveway is likely to be empty, so why not invite somebody else to park there?

There are a number of websites offering a search facility, including yourparkingspace.co.uk, which includes well over 250,000 hourly, daily and monthly parking spaces across the country.

We searched for driveways for a Saturday visit to London. Over 2,300 results came back in a variety of locations, offering parking for over 24 hours.

Booking is easy: you simply select your arrival and departure times, key in your details, pay online, and the website provides the full address of the space along with the contact details of the owner.

Buy an electric vehicle

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Buying a new car to save money on car park costs might be a tad excessive, but driving an electric vehicle will reduce the amount of cash you spend at car parks.

Many car parks offer free parking while your EV is being recharged, while some will allow you to park for free, regardless of whether you’re charging or not. Assuming you pay £2 per day to park at work, you might save over £400 a year by driving an electric car.

Look for cashback options

To encourage people back into towns and city centres, some local authorities and business groups offer incentivised parking. In other words, whilst you’ll still be asked to pay and display, the cost is refunded if you spend a certain amount in a participating shop.

Similarly, a supermarket situated in a town or city centre might offer a refund if you happen to shop in store. As one supermarket might say: every little helps, right?

Car park season ticket

If you park in the same car park on a daily basis, it might be worth considering a season ticket. NCP claims a season ticket could save up to 70% on the cost of parking, with the added benefit of not having to search for loose change.

On a similar note, it can pay to be a member of the National Trust. Spend a week on holiday in somewhere like Cornwall and you could spend a small fortune on parking at one of the many National Trust car parks. Membership starts from £6.40 a month – a cost you could recoup on car park fees alone.

Use the correct change

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Those cheeky car park operators want to extract every last penny from your wallet and you’ll often see a ‘no change given’ notice stuck to the pay and display machine. It’s a simple thing, but make sure you use the correct change.

Alternatively, pay by card or use one of the parking apps, such as RingGo. This cashless solution allows you to pay via your smartphone and will provide an alert when your time is running out.

Look for alternatives to the car

Whilst we appreciate that you’re hardly going to take the bus to a famous Swedish furniture store to collect a new wardrobe, or cycle into town to pick up your groceries, you have to ask yourself: do I really need to take the car?

Would it be cheaper to take the bus? Could you walk into town? Would it be easier to cycle into work? Could you share a car with somebody else, going Dutch on the cost of the car park?

Railway stations are notoriously expensive places to park, so have you considered cycling to the station? The rail fares are expensive enough without the cost of moring up lumped on top.

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Buy a car park space

Sounds extravagant? That’s because it most probably is. Parking is an expensive business, so you could consider buying a car park space. Not that this is the cheapest option. Spaces in London can stretch into six figures – enough to buy a house elsewhere in the country…

Don’t park in a hurry

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If you’ve followed our advice, you’ll never have to park in a hurry again. If you’re forced into a corner, either through lateness or a lack of planning, you’ll choose the wrong and often most expensive car park.

A little forward planning goes a long way.