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The charity Guide Dogs names Manchester worst city for pavement parking

01 Dec 2015

  • Guide Dogs reveals league table of Britain’s worst cities for pavement parking
  • Guide Dogs call for a change to the law to prevent danger to pedestrians
  • 76% of city residents who took part in a YouGov poll support change to the law

New research released today by the charity Guide Dogs identifies Manchester as the worst city in Britain for pavement parking. The charity is calling for dangerous pavement parking to be outlawed and the research is released ahead of a key debate on the Pavement Parking Bill on Friday 4 December.

Badly parked cars are creating no-go zones for people living with sight loss, as they are often forced to step out into the road without being able to see oncoming traffic. Guide Dogs is calling on MPs to do the right thing and support the campaign to make our streets safer for all pedestrians. The charity has been campaigning for dangerous pavement parking to be outlawed since 2013 and the Bill has won support from MPs across all parties.

Sixty-one percent of Manchester residents who took part in the poll said that they come across parked cars on the pavement often or always on the street where they live, and 39% say they experience the problem often or always in the city centre.

Southampton came bottom of the league table with the clearest pavements of the cities polled. However there is still much room for improvement, with 37% of people who took part in the poll indicating that they often or always find cars parked on the pavement of their street, and 27% indicating that they come across the problem often or always in the city centre.

James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs said:

“Today, there are almost two million people in the UK living with sight loss and we want our streets to be safe for everyone. Badly parked cars are forcing people living with sight loss to step out into the road and putting them in danger just because people park on pavements. We want to see an end to problem pavement parking, reclaiming the streets for pedestrians.”

Conservative MP Simon Hoare, who has tabled the Bill said:

"This new research shows just how widespread the problem of pavement parking is across the UK. No one should be forced to step out into the road by an inconsiderately parked vehicle, but it's a particular issue for pedestrians such as people living with sight loss, parents with children in buggies and older people. It's time to change drivers' attitudes towards pavement parking."

Pavement Parking League Table 

The poll asked residents in ten cities how frequently they come across cars parked on pavements. Guide Dogs then used the results to create the following league table:

Pavement parking league table

Rank  City
1.  Manchester
2.  Liverpool
3.  Cambridge
4.  Cardiff
5.  Birmingham
6.  Sheffield
7.  Newcastle 
8.  Bristol
9.  Leeds
10.  Southampton

Public support for new regulations

The poll demonstrates that there is wide-spread support for a new law that would prevent dangerous pavement parking in areas where it had been identified as a problem, with 76% of respondents across the 10 cities polled saying they would support such as law.

Drivers are unlikely to consider pedestrians when parking

The poll also showed that when considering where to park, drivers admit that the pedestrian safety can be a low priority compared to other considerations such as legality or convenience. Two thirds of all adults surveyed in the ten cities (66%) considered legality to be very important when deciding where to park, but four out of ten people polled (44%) considering the ability of pedestrians to pass their vehicle to be very important.

Pavement Parking already regulated in London

Pavement parking has not been allowed in London for over 40 years, although the regulations include exemptions for businesses loading goods and specific exemptions granted by individual councils. Guide Dogs believes this approach works well and is leading calls for a new law that would implement a London-style system across England and Wales. To date, 37 other organisations have signed up to support the campaign.