Pavement parking 'puts lives in peril'

March 05 2019

A FISHPONDS resident is calling for action to stop inconsiderate drivers parking on pavements and putting people's lives at risk.

Conan, pictured at Stonebridge Park, with an offending vehicle
Conan Connolly says thoughtless vehicle owners should not be allowed to get away with it as they make it dangerous for pedestrians, particularly parents with buggies and wheelchair users.
“Everyone should be able to walk on pavements without worrying about vehicles blocking their way,” he said.
“Cars parked on pavements force people into the road, which is particularly dangerous for many, including blind and partially sighted people, parents with pushchairs and young children, wheelchair users and others who use mobility aids.
“Pavement surfaces are not designed to carry the weight of vehicles, and the added maintenance cost of repairing cracked and damaged paving adds an unnecessary financial burden to our already cash-strapped council.”
Conan says there a several blackspots in Fishponds and Eastville which cause problems. These include the paths on Halstock Avenue, which Conan says are “unusable” after dark as cars and vans are parked “all over the place”.
Other hazard spots include Shamrock Road, Stonebridge Park, Lodge Causeway, the side streets off Lower Fishponds Road and Gloucester Street as well as further down by Gordon Avenue, off Whitehall Road.
Conan said: “I lived in Dublin for many years where they regulate and charge for parking and it I think it needs to happen here. Dublin residents have parking permits for their own areas and pay to park in other people's neighbourhoods. It works really well.
“It's been annoying me since I moved to Bristol a few years ago how people here just put up with cars everywhere.”
Parking on pavements is not illegal outside of London but drivers can still be fined in the form of a Fixed Penalty Notice if their car is judged to be in a dangerous position or causing an unnecessary obstruction.
But Conan argues this rarely gets enforced as police fear a backlash from the public.
“Unfortunately this appears to be little used and I believe it won’t be until the general population consider pavement parking to be socially unacceptable in the same way they most people now consider smoking in a restaurant or letting your dog mess the pavement to be unacceptable.
“Only then will the  police feel confident that they have public support for acting. It would be interesting to see parents hanging around outside a school with their kids waiting for the police officer to disappear before getting into their cars to drive off.”
Conan is urging people who share his view to write to Avon and Somerset's police commissioner Sue Mountstevens.
“I believe the best way in the short term to make the place nicer for people and to stop the littering of cars everywhere would be if people wrote to the police commissioner to get them to enforce the law which already exits against pavement parking.”
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