Footway parking is common place these days, on the school-run, at the doctors, visiting the shops or simply parking outside the home. You see it everywhere.
However, the practice of parking your vehicle on the footway could not only be an inconvenience to other highway users, but could land you with an enforcement ticket and penalty.
This rarely happens of course, more often due to a lack of resource to manage parking restrictions, given the thousands of miles of footway network to patrol.
In Colchester, North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) are responsible for enforcing parking infringements, but only where restrictions -that is yellow lines for example- are in place.
A spokesperson for NEPP said: “NEPP will patrol where there are restrictions on the carriageway, these restrictions will also apply to the footway where a penalty may be issued after a short observation.
“In some cases, this will be further restricted and an immediate penalty may apply.”
Management of general footway obstruction, where no restrictions are in place, is in the remit of the Police.
Parking your vehicle on the footway has the potential to block access to wheelchair and buggy users, as well as pedestrians.
It may also cause serious congestion at junctions, and cause delays for larger vehicles, such as buses and emergency vehicles. However, there are social implications to also consider, those lives of local residents who are affected daily in ways we may not be aware.
Colchester cycling campaigner, Will Bramhill, spoke of his experiences faced with vehicles parking on footways: “We’re seeing far more parking on footways, especially in residential areas. Not only does this cause damage to footways, which don’t have the strong foundations that roads have, but it can have additional long-term effects.
“An elderly relative of mine used to ride a mobility scooter but found the footway on the way to the village hall for coffee mornings was often blocked by parked cars. The result? She stopped going to coffee mornings, stopped seeing her friends, and sadly went into decline.
“Parking on footways also inconveniences the disabled and parents with buggies. The message has to be that if you can’t park on the road, don’t park on the footway, park elsewhere.”
Do we owe it to ourselves to start becoming more courteous when we park our vehicles, by staying off the footway? Would a few extra steps walk around the corner be too much of an effort?
Maybe we should all try it for a week and see – it could be that simple to change a habit.