Motorists set to be banned from parking on pavements
MOTORISTS in Scotland are to be banned from parking on pavements after a long running campaign by disability groups.
It was hailed as “fantastic” by Sandra White, the backbench SNP MSP who has been campaigning at Holyrood on behalf of a range of groups including Guide Dogs for the Blind, disability and pensioners’ organisations and Living Streets, the “everyday walking” charity.
That’s the headline. You might think it’s a great step forward. You’d be wrong.
[Transport Minister Derek] Mackay said discussions with local councils and members of the public were required to identify zones that might be exempt from the ban.
He told Holyrood’s local government committee: “People don’t need to be alarmed that suddenly they cannot park near their homes.
“This will not be like setting a national speed limit that applies universally.”
That’s right – the Motorists are the top priority in all of this. Derek knows that his voters wish to minimise the amount of time they spend walking from their houses to their cars, and it’s apparently imperative that this be accommodated. If that means footways are appropriated for car parking, so be it.
As ever, the agenda is set by the car lobby:
Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, said: “It is downright selfish sometimes to park on the pavement.
“But the problem with a blanket ban is there are some locations where people do that to make the road accessible.
“It can be a sensible measure that residents adopt.
“If a blanket ban were enforced rigorously in all places it would be embarrassing.
“If it were tailored to place where people are being selfish, I don’t think anyone would have any problems with that.
“Someone with a pushchair or a wheelchair has a right to go out and about.”
We’re allowed to exist, as long as we don’t go around asking for too much. So says a man from the AA. Isn’t that nice of him?
The example of London, where pavement parking has been nominally banned since 1985, is instructive. Like the shambolic SNP Bill, the London legislation allows the creation of exempted areas. All that is required is the painting of some markings on the footway to indicate the area that drivers may park on. There is no minimum footway width that must remain exclusively for pedestrians:
(Source: Crap Waltham Forest)
This is the kind of barbaric, anti-pedestrian, anti-wheelchair, anti-pushchair streetscape that Derek Mackay wishes to formalise. He’s part of the cosy clique of hardline car-mongers who dominate the Scottish Government. Their commitment to maintaining the iniquity of a driver-centric transport system is unwavering. Even the more moderate elements of this clique, such as Sandra White, are quite clear that any dissenting views they may have – like a belief that footways should be for walking on – are not fundamental. Though, to be fair, I’m not aware of any of the opposition parties raising the issue of the exemption clause.
I oppose this rotten piece of legislation. It’s clear that it will be used to legitimise the oppression of pedestrians. Exemptions will be created wherever drivers demand them. They’ll whine and screech about their “needs”, and councils will roll over every time.
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