Author Topic: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government  (Read 1179 times)

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« on: July 11, 2020, 02:35:05 pm »
A dear friend of mine, Doug Paulley is a named claimant in a fledgling legal case against the Westminster government about the crapness of laws around pavement parking (cars, vans) and other pavement obstructions (dockless hire bikes, A-boards, cafe tables). All of these cause significant problems for wheelchair users, visually impaired people, parents with buggies or trying to walk on pavements holding small children's hands, older people with poor mobility and more.   

I am helping with the 'behind the scenes' organising of this campaign as the named disabled people are low on spoons and technical-skills. I set up the Crowd Justice page to crowdfund the legal costs for example: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/pavement-parking-and-obstructi/ (the page is brief and focuses on disabled people as that's the strongest legal angle - it'll benefit everyone if we're successful).

Crowdjustice is a specialist crowd funding service for legal cases, the money only gets taken if the main target £3,000 is reached and the quids go directly to the law firm handling the work. In this case that is a newly established firm Rook Irwin Sweeney who focus on public law and disability work (they've worked at other firms). The lawyers are really good disability-activist humans as well as good at their legalling.

I figure people here would be supportive of this general cause where pavements are for pedestrians damnit and have a few quid they could chuck this way.  To keep the CrowdJustice page short enough we didn't go into lots of detail, but this will challenge things like bad shared-space and shared-use infrastructure and some of the Covid-19 temporary layouts and other 'easings' of the few existing rules.

Feel free to ask me any questions.

fd3

Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2020, 06:00:42 pm »
Theoretically I'm massively in favour of this because around here there are loads of cars parked 50% on the pavement or on the corner or blocking a dropped curb. 

However there are laws about this that aren't being policed, how will legal action change this?
[/I could be wrong]

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2020, 06:10:00 pm »
My understanding is that the current laws leave things in an ambiguous state between local authority and police enforcement. So each blames the other and buckpasses.

It's also not actually unlawful to pavement park unless there's specific traffic regulation orders (TROs) which are really really difficult to set up so most authorities don't bother.

The plan with this legal action is to explore the strength of a Judicial Review using the new Covid19 infra guidance as a hook (due to tight timescale regs) and show the government has consulted and consulted so they know what the issues are and strong support for no pavement parking, but not actually taken the reasonable steps needed. It's one of those things where it might not be a magic bullet but we're hoping we can force the government's hand and actually make them make it easier to enforce obstructions and then require authorities/police to actually DO that.

There's also concern that the new Covid19 infrastructure is going to worsen issues. In practice the closed off roads for pedestrians aren't working, people are reluctant to walk in blocked off roads and disabled people can't often get onto the temporary infra due to inaccessible design and infrastructure. One of the other issues is the government is about to worsen things further by allowing drink and food serving places to apply for rights to use more pavements than before. Government haven't done more than say "Equality Act still applies mmkay" rather than being more specific about what accessibility in the temporary/new infra should look like.

I realise that's kinda woolly, sadly that is the law, it's all about strengths of argument and getting government to consider people properly. Disabled people want clear enforcement, a way to do it and for it to actually happen.

I hope that's reasonably clear, let me know if you still have more questions.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2020, 12:02:26 pm »
Cor, that seems to be going rather well (>£3000 in less than 24 hours).    :thumbsup:
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2020, 12:51:16 pm »
I have a nasty feeling that £2k donation is a blind person typoing £20 tho...

Have looked online and donations can be retracted, so I hope if that person realises they can reverse the transaction.

I have also contacted Crowd Justice support and asked them to check and explained why. I wouldn't want a blind person to have £2k taken from their bank right now and end up in hardship. We fundraise ethically or not at all.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2020, 12:51:32 pm »
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Barakta. Wishing you and Doug Paulley many spoons, much lolly and good luck with it.

Also: untrimmed hedges and wheelie bins!
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2020, 01:20:13 pm »
One of the videos I'll be launching tomorrow has both hedges, wheeliebins AND stupid parked cars with Sarah the other named person in it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ek8U8fDtDHQ&feature=youtu.be

I got it all captioned late last night.


ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2020, 09:35:52 am »
When I lived in other countries, it was a local ordinance that you had to keep the sidewalk outside your property clean and clear, so you were expected to clear any overhanging vegetation in summer, shovel and grit in winter, keep your bins out of the way etc. You wouldn't park a car there because it was North America and they have actual places to park them. Anyway, they were pretty serious about it. Quite why we simply can't do the same in the UK, I'm unclear.
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2020, 09:56:28 am »
One of the videos I'll be launching tomorrow has both hedges, wheeliebins AND stupid parked cars with Sarah the other named person in it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ek8U8fDtDHQ&feature=youtu.be

I got it all captioned late last night.
I'd have put some of the line breaks in different places! ;)

I guess there might be some sort of balance between pavement parking and overgrown bushes; when the bushes get more overgrown (that one looked tame compared to many I see) there isn't room to park on the pavement.  :-\
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2020, 11:40:10 am »
I guess there might be some sort of balance between pavement parking and overgrown bushes;
Everybody knows that a pavement parker gets bonus points if they can park by an overgrown hedge; or better still - a lamp post or telegraph pole.

There must be an army of invisible cranes or fork lifts to put these cars on the footway since everybody knows it is illegal to drive (cycle) on the pavement.

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2020, 12:02:56 pm »
Here in Surrey, there are triple-headers, try and get the car with less than a half metre between wing and lamp post, and the rear bumper within a metre of a wheelie bin.

That video wasn't close to some of the streets around here (because of the steep hills, it's not easy to tarmac front gardens without excavating them, so there's a perpetual fight to fill the narrow roads with ever more, ever larger cars; plus the council has moved to wheelie bins rather than bags). Still, I was amused last year to read an article in the council magazine about ways to use your garage, not one of which was to store your car.

To be honest, most of the pavement-parked cars could be parked on the road, leaving a lane free. Yes, it would entail a bit more pressure on parking, but doing nothing (the council's preferred policy in everything*) will continue to exacerbate the problem. There's now quadruple-header, with power cables slung across the pavement to charge a car. Trimming back hedges and plants would be an hour of work once in a blue moon. Moving a bin, a few seconds (also, the rubbish people could be instructed not to leave them in the middle of the pavement after they've collected. If there's no space for a bin, you can't have one, contact the council, they will still collect bags.

None of these things are huge, they're all doable, but would have a significant impact on our urban environment. And yeah, we might have to think a bit more about our cars and where we keep them.

*having learned that outsourcing parking control to Reigate and Banstead resulted in no parking control (they took the money and spent it on themselves), they've now done the same deal with their Tory mates in Sevenoaks.
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Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2020, 12:07:10 pm »
That video wasn't close to some of the streets around here

There are inherent difficulties in obtaining decent example material of disabled people struggling with this sort of thing:  Not least that blind people are in general pretty terrible at operating cameras and wheelchair users tend to be limited to a very first-person perspective that doesn't show their own wheels, but also that it's hard to get to the places that you can't get to.  Plus disabled people are the ones taking the pandemic seriously.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2020, 12:18:25 pm »
It's also sadly self-selecting, if you've got any kind of disability, you simply won't bother trying to navigate the pavements around here because it's not possible. You'd not bother with a baby buggy either, because you'll be forced out into the narrow road. No one wants to meet a boy racer rifling along at some multiple of the speed limit in the hope they'll stop. So, like everyone else, they'll drive.
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ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2020, 01:40:59 pm »
Just by-the-by reading the objections to the most recent round of TROs (not normally something I'd read other than we were pitching – successfully after 3.5 years – for double-yellow near us) and good god, it's a risible series of entitled whines about people not being able to park outside their houses and that the 'council should do something' (to the space-time continuum, I guess, in order to magically conjure space from as yet unparked dimensions - indeed, they won't just be parking on the pavements, they'll be parking in, as yet, the purely theoretical dimensions of string theory).

I HAVE A SMALL CHILD!!!!!!! seems to be a popular one. I'm sure they have legs or can be carried or pushed if they've yet to figure out how they work.
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barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2020, 10:50:27 pm »
CrowdJustice have reversed the £2000 donation and are checking up with the donor, we're 99% sure it was a blind person adding the pence and turning £20 into £2000 - so we might feed that back as a tweak to the crowdjustice web design.

The video footage I have from the blind lady Sarah is very variable, a lot of it is unusable or not quite on topic. One is a video of a news article playing on her telly filmed externally from her iPhone which of course looks terrible but is indicative of her general technical level. Tonight I have an email where she's put her ENTIRE reply in the subject line of the email... Assistive tech if you rely on voice is BLOODY HARD and I have huge respect for anyone who tries despite the challenges.

And yes, it's largely pre-Covid content, although I know of some recent stuff I'm going to retweet.

We live in a hugely car-centric society to the great detriment for many people. It's only boneheads like Doug (said with extreme love for him) who are literally willing to not-so-mystery shop access-fail and record it on video repeatedly for YEARS despite people doxxing and hate criming him and indeed service provider staff hassling him for his efforts.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2020, 10:59:15 pm »
Tonight I have an email where she's put her ENTIRE reply in the subject line of the email...

Does that even work?

*skims RFC*

Must be no more than 998 characters, should be no more then 78 characters, but don't count on that either.

Every day's a school day.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2020, 12:13:24 pm »
Non scientifically scanning down that list of objections (mostly to double-yellows in places were existing parking is a problem, roads and pavements obstructed, or a clear and present hazard), it's quite an insight (ok, maybe an exercise in obviousness) to the car owners' minds.

Top objection by far is that 'there are not enough places to park.' Fair enough. The blame however always accrues to someone else: visitors, other residents, local businesses, etc. There are several demands that the council somehow increase the number of parking spaces. One or two of them helpfully identify places that they think should be converted into parking for them, which the council should arrange on their behalf. There's not a single acknowledgement that the roads they're parking on are public property, not designated for their personal convenience.

Second up is the need for parking outside their houses, this seems a default assumption to be a right. Several people would be forced to park 'several streets away' which seems implausible. The 'I have small children!' defence comes up often. If you have small children, you must, you must absolutely park directly outside your house. No, no, you don't understand: 'I HAVE SMALL CHILDREN!' Someone specifically worried that if they were forced to leave their child in the car, the child might be kidnapped.

A couple of the more enlightened moot that perhaps we should have parking permits (a phenomenon that has yet to reach this part of Surrey) but that they, of course, shouldn't be forced to pay to park outside their own houses.

One of the sadder objections was from someone who objected because they were 'forced to stay indoors' for fear of losing their parking space and extended double-yellow lines would mean they could 'never leave.'

It's a very entitled mindset where their parking trumps everyone else's rights and there's zero acknowledgement of the root cause of the problem.
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fd3

Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2020, 02:25:00 pm »
Kim, I have had colleagues at work write entire emails in the subject line.  Their only excuse was not being tech savvy.

ian, it's odd because I HAVE SMALL CHILDREN!!! is the reason I use to demand cars get off the pavement and stop parking on corners and double yellows.  It is a problem that more and more kids don't leave home because they "can't afford to"* and therefore you end up with 3-4 cars per terraced house.  It is very much the BUILD MORE PARKING, BUILD MORE ROADS - one day we will have built enough for everyone.

* In quotes because I don't believe this.  What they mean is "can't afford to move into a home right off the bat that is as nice as the one my parents spent 40 years affording but also in a nice neighbourhood ... oh, but also must have pubs"
[/I could be wrong]

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2020, 02:46:14 pm »
Realistically, in this Surrey town there is no more room for public parking, every road is effectively full, and to manage this peak capacity, people park on the pavements in an effort – mostly pointless – to keep the roads clear (there's never two lanes left, so really it wouldn't make much difference if they parked fully on the road). Yet people keep complaining that the 'council isn't doing anything about it' but suggest any kind of parking control and they're up in arms.

There's the odd thing were people, upon knowing this fact, don't just buy another car, but sometimes they go out and buy a big vanity pickup truck or the latest Range Rover. I'm sure the latter will complain that they can't afford a house with a driveway. They possibly can't, but perhaps they should review their vehicle choice.

The best example of this phenomenon was one I saw down towards Purley the other week, basically a terraced house where they'd managed to just park a big pickup truck between the fences that demarcated their front garden. This left no space to open the doors. They were extricating a child through the passenger door window via the neighbour's garden.
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2020, 11:40:38 am »
Quote
For those who wonder what a vision for walking might look like, the Bristol Transport Strategy devotes a section to walking based on joint work between transport officers at Bristol City Council and public health researchers at the University of Bristol.

Ten actions are proposed for walking to be safe, pleasant, accessible, the first choice for local journeys and combined with public transport for longer journeys.

Deliver a strategic walking network: Rather than assuming there is an adequate network of footways requiring minimal intervention, it is important to identify and enhance key walking routes.

Adopt design standards for inclusive walking infrastructure: Consideration of people with visual, mobility and cognitive impairments should be integral to the pedestrian environment so that the most vulnerable users can get around in safety and comfort.

Develop walkable communities through planning and development: The health, social and economic benefits of neighbourhoods, where shops and facilities are within walking distance, should be prioritised in the planning process.

Connect walking to public transport: Improving walking routes and providing clear signage to rail stations and bus stops should make it easier to combine walking with public transport.

Count walking: We need to count, monitor, and set separate targets for walking if it is to be taken seriously as a separate mode of transport.

Reduce obstructions to walking: The proliferation of bins, parking on pavements and across access points, overhanging vegetation, street clutter, litter and dog fouling require clear policies and better enforcement to make the pedestrian environment accessible and pleasant, especially for those with mobility, visual or cognitive impairments.

Make walking safe: Being safe, and feeling safe, are influenced by the condition of footways, lighting, pedestrian crossings, the potential for conflict with other modes of transport, levels of noise, and air pollution.

Make walking pleasant and comfortable: the pedestrian environment requires access to toilets, drinking water, benches as resting places, shaded areas, and places to shelter.

Provide walking information: Details of routes, distances and facilities should be available online and in local maps, as well as through the Bristol Legible City on street information panels.

Support walking through travel planning and enabling behaviour change: The transport plans of organisations such as workplaces, schools, universities and colleges, shopping centres and leisure facilities should include walking routes and distances to key landmarks, bus stops and train stations.
https://www.bristol247.com/opinion/your-say/we-need-to-admit-that-cycling-and-walking-are-completely-different-activities/
I think all ten of those points are in some way relevant but the three I've bolded especially.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2020, 01:05:43 pm »
That looks great! I have a new online friend who is a Bristol Councillor who bangs on about disability access a lot until people hate her.


barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2020, 01:06:27 pm »
We hit our target the other day for the Crowd Funder: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/pavement-parking-and-obstructi/

Lawyers now doing pre-legal correspondence and research. Hoping this time critical opportunity is effective more nationally than local authority by local authority.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2020, 02:32:10 pm »
That looks great! I have a new online friend who is a Bristol Councillor who bangs on about disability access a lot until people hate her.
Ooh, what's her name? I'm making guesses in my head... (pm it if you prefer)
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Regulator

  • That's Councillor Regulator to you...
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2020, 03:02:32 pm »
My understanding is that the current laws leave things in an ambiguous state between local authority and police enforcement. So each blames the other and buckpasses.

It's also not actually unlawful to pavement park unless there's specific traffic regulation orders (TROs) which are really really difficult to set up so most authorities don't bother.

The plan with this legal action is to explore the strength of a Judicial Review using the new Covid19 infra guidance as a hook (due to tight timescale regs) and show the government has consulted and consulted so they know what the issues are and strong support for no pavement parking, but not actually taken the reasonable steps needed. It's one of those things where it might not be a magic bullet but we're hoping we can force the government's hand and actually make them make it easier to enforce obstructions and then require authorities/police to actually DO that.

There's also concern that the new Covid19 infrastructure is going to worsen issues. In practice the closed off roads for pedestrians aren't working, people are reluctant to walk in blocked off roads and disabled people can't often get onto the temporary infra due to inaccessible design and infrastructure. One of the other issues is the government is about to worsen things further by allowing drink and food serving places to apply for rights to use more pavements than before. Government haven't done more than say "Equality Act still applies mmkay" rather than being more specific about what accessibility in the temporary/new infra should look like.

I realise that's kinda woolly, sadly that is the law, it's all about strengths of argument and getting government to consider people properly. Disabled people want clear enforcement, a way to do it and for it to actually happen.

I hope that's reasonably clear, let me know if you still have more questions.


Can I just point out that parking on the pavement is specifically banned in London, under the Greater London (General Purposes) Act 1974, unless there is a TRO permitting it?  I.e. the complete opposite to the position elsewhere in the country.

We have real problems locally as the district council will not pass the requisite TROs as the police won't enforce the existing parking restrictions anyway.  We've asked to have parking enforcement passed to the local authorities but the police are refusing to hand it over and the local Police & Crime Commissioner is backing them.

I have recently had success with enforcement action against a local garage, which parks cars for sale on the pavement.  But I've only been able to do that because there is a specific offence in relation to businesses offering vehicles for sale on the highway.
Quote from: clarion
I completely agree with Reg.

Green Party Councillor

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Pavement Obstructions - challenging the government
« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2020, 09:10:45 pm »
Yes, I should have been clearer that London has the pavement parking ban we'd like to see more widespreadly.

Londoners still have issues with other street obstructions and occasional parking nonsense, but the parking is much less overall.