New report calls for government action to give pavements back to people

A new report, written by Sustrans together with ARUP and Living Streets, calls for Government action to stop cars, cycles and e-scooters encroaching on pavement space.  

The ‘Walking For everyone’ report, produced by Arup, Living Streets and Sustrans makes a series of recommendations that would ensure pavement space is reserved and maintained for people walking and wheeling.

The report is published as the transport industry awaits a Government response to the consultation on pavement parking in England and industry awaits guidance around electric vehicle charging points and for cycle and e-scooter parking, which has resulted in them taking up pavement space.

The report recommends national governments should prohibit pavement parking across the UK.

It also recommends that standards are developed where all cycle and e-scooter parking, and electric vehicle charging points are accessible but located on the carriageway.

There is guidance for local authorities to help make the walking and wheeling environment more accessible and attractive for everyone.

Research from Living Streets has found that 87% of parents with children aged 4 to 11 have had to step into the carriageway because of vehicles parked on the pavement.

Forthcoming research from Sustrans found 72% of disabled people would find fewer cars parked on the pavement useful to walk or wheel more.

Stephen Edwards, Interim CEO, Living Streets said: “Pavement parking is an urgent problem and discriminates against people walking or wheeling, especially those with young children, older people and people with visual or mobility access requirements. As well as endangering lives, it’s enough to cause many to not leave the house altogether.

“Outdoor eating areas, advertising boards, parked cycles and scooters can also be problematic and need to be better managed. Pavements are for people, and we need action and guidance to ensure they are accessible for all.”

Susan Claris, Active Travel leader at Arup said: “Taking the report recommendations on board will help the UK meet its transport decarbonisation and levelling up goals.

“Swapping driving for more sustainable ways to travel is the best way to tackle congestion and air pollution, but we can only expect people to walk and wheel more if our streets enable it.

“We need to prioritise improvement schemes for areas where the provision of local services and public transport are poorer, especially where this coincides with multiple deprivations.”

Sally Copley, Executive Director for External Affairs at Sustrans, said:

“While many policy documents often place walking and wheeling at the top of the transport hierarchy, this is not reflected in funding allocations and scheme delivery.

“As this report demonstrates, a step change is necessary to ensure the environments in which people walk and wheel are as desirable and accessible as possible.”

The report launched this week at Living Streets’ National Walking Summit.

Katie Pennick, Campaigns Lead at Transport for All, added: “Many disabled people can and want to make more journeys by walking or wheeling, but face barriers in doing so. Pavements are often cluttered with bollards, bins, A-boards and lampposts.

“Sometimes e-scooters and dockless bikes are strewn on the ground, or a car is parked over the pavement. Tactile pacing – a vital safety feature for blind and visually impaired pedestrians – is often missing, poorly maintained or inconsistent.

“Other times the paving tiles are uneven or bumpy and present a trip hazard, or the pavement is simply too narrow for those with mobility aids or assistance dogs.

“The sensory environment can pose barriers too, with bright colours, loud noises or overcrowding creating discomfort or disorientation.

“Transforming the pedestrian environment to be accessible to disabled people would have a dramatic impact, enabling so many to enjoy positive impacts to mental and physical health, feeling a part of one’s community, and perhaps stumbling across a new favourite spot.

“That’s what Transport for All campaigns hard to achieve.”



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