Tougher enforcement action to stop thoughtless drivers parking on pavements could soon be introduced.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council ’s governance, resources and strategy committee has recommended the local authority supports tougher measures on inconsiderate parking.
At a meeting of the committee on Thursday, January 13, members were advised the Department for Infrastructure (DFI) is seeking views on how best to tackle inconsiderate pavement parking.
Welcoming views on the subject, DfI has set out three options for how best to tackle the problem.
Option one is to introduce individual bans using the department’s existing powers and option two is introduce an outright ban on pavement parking with the possibility of some exceptions.
Option three is to introduce powers that would allow the department’s traffic attendants to enforce against vehicles found to be parked on pavements and causing a disruption.
Commenting on the consultation, Councillor Julie Flaherty said she is regularly contacted about this issue and said she was happy with what DfI is proposing.
“I live near a school and would be door-stepped about this particular issue and contacted about it on a regular basis,” said Cllr Flaherty.
“We have a number of very busy high streets and village centres within this borough and this is a very important piece of exploratory work being undertaken by DfI.
“The options are pretty strong and I am happy with what is being proposed. It really is important, ‘inconsiderate’ is a polite way of putting of it.
“We all know the problems it causes for people with buggies, wheelchairs, prams and people with mobility issues, it really is a big inconvenience to a lot of people.”
Councillor Darryn Causby also welcomed DfI’s desire to tackle the issue and said Council should be making it clear it supports using enforcement to deter such parking.
“As someone with a mother who requires wheelchair use on a fairly regular basis and as someone who is regularly pushing a double pram, it is frustrating and at times quite dangerous when you have to move out onto the road to get around vehicles parked on footpaths with small children or a mother who needs a wheelchair,” he said.
“There have a been a couple of near misses and every councillor has them in our own patches. I think considerate parking would not need to be enforced if people who were parking where actually considerate in the first place.
“I don’t know if I have a preference on the options but I do think, as a council, we should be issuing a response to say we would support enforcement and are open to seeing what the options look like in practice.”
He continued: “The easiest way to stop it is to issue people with a fixed penalty notice. Maybe that is the best option but at the same time, we need to be making sure the department take robust action on this.
“A constituent who is registered blind almost takes their life in their hands at times when they cannot get past a vehicle parked on the footpath without stepping onto the road.”
With committee member in support of this approach to Council’s response to the consultation, the matter will be ratified by fully council at the end of January before council officers submit a response ahead of the consultation deadline of March 18.