Inconsiderate parking stops us getting around our streets – but it’s not always unintentional says Lindsay Scott.
Imagine you’re on your mobility scooter, travelling the 500 metres or so to the nearest bus stop so that you can get the one bus for the next few hours that can accommodate your scooter and get you to the town centre where you need to do some urgent shopping.
You turn the corner and find a car parked right across the pavement leaving just enough room for a pedestrian to get by, and the kerb is too high and the road too busy for you to successfully negotiate your way round it. You miss the bus as a result.
That could be termed inconsiderate parking – but sometimes it’s more insidious than that.
Imagine you’ve got to your bus stop, which happens to have an ATM nearby. A large 4X4 pulls into the bus stop and the driver gets out and walks to the ATM just as your bus is about to arrive. You point out the signs saying Bus Stop and No Parking under any Circumstances but are ignored. You miss the bus as a result.
You approach the driver and politely ask why the blatantly ignored the signs prohibiting parking in the bus stop and are rebuffed by an “I’ll decide under what circumstances and where I park my vehicle.”
This sort of behaviour, accidental or deliberate, does not just force pedestrians onto the road and into the path of vehicles. It erects a major barrier for people with visual or mobility impairments, wheelchair or mobility scooter users, families with pushchairs and cyclists. It can also damage the pavement, creating additional costly obstacles.
It would seem to make sense that with an ageing, less mobile population, more cars on the road and less money for road and pavement maintenance, inconsiderate parking that blocks pavements, raised crossings, dropped kerbs and access to public transport is addressed as a matter of urgency, because it is clear that the current situation, in which we rely on police enforcement, isn’t working.
That’s why Age Scotland has teamed up with a host of other, concerned organisations including Barnardo’s Scotland, Capability Scotland, Guide Dogs Scotland, Leonard Cheshire Disability, the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, Quarriers, Ramblers Scotland and RNIB Scotland to push for Scottish legislation that enables local authorities to take action against inconsiderate parking.
Sandra White MSP is taking forward a Scottish Parliament Members’ Bill in this regard aimed at ensuring that everyone can get round our communities safely and easily. It was launched at the Parliament last December. After decades of inaction, Age Scotland and its partners want to see effective legislation on responsible parking delivered now.
Lindsay Scott is Age Scotland Communication and Campaigns Manager