PLANS have been revealed today to introduce a new law banning drivers from parking on pavements or alongside other parked vehicles.
If the proposed plans get the go ahead it would stop pedestrian and road access being blocked by parked cars.
Charities representing older people, wheelchair users, vulnerable groups and emergency services are all in support of the new proposal.
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said the plans were welcomed because double-parked vehicles can be a “matter of life or death” if they obstruct the engines.
David Goodhew, director of operations at Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, said: “Anything that frees up our streets to allow a swift passage of our appliances has got to be a good thing.
“Delays caused by double parking or parking on tight corners or street ends can be a matter of life or death.”
A final draft of the bill will be unveiled today at Holyrood and has already been backed by 34 MSPs from four parties- meaning there is enough support to ensure it progresses to the formal bill stage.
Sandra White, Glasgow MSP, explained the proposal was about “justice and fairness” for pedestrians.
She said: “There are a lot of people using wheelchairs or with toddlers in buggies who cannot get on to pavements because of inconsiderate parking.
“It’s not unusual to see cars parked with all four wheels on the pavement, which isn’t right.
“Pavements are for people and roads are for cars.”
However, some councils, including Glasgow, fear the proposed measures could be impractical in some areas where there is not enough road space for resident parking.
Current laws show that driving on or obstructing access to pavements is illegal but despite the law, campaigners claim drivers still do it and rarely get prosecuted.
A spokeswoman for Guide Dogs Scotland, a charity in support of the bill, said that parked cars were the second largest obstacle after tree branches for people with visual impairment.
Under this new bill, a blanket ban on parking on pavements would exist unless councils made exemptions for certain areas using a traffic regulation order.
However, criticism has risen over how widely these exemptions would be applied.
Ms White said they would only be used in exceptional circumstances such as in cul-de-sacs or in areas that could restrict emergency service access.
However the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities claimed this would result in thousands of exemptions being issued where it was not appropriate to place a ban.
Natalie Barrett, from Edinburgh, has suffered problems with motorists parking on pavements since she had a baby six months ago.
Inconsiderate parking forces her to take her pram into the road.
She said of the street where she lives, Brunstane Road: “I would say it’s particularly bad on bin days.
“When the bins are out and the cars are on the pavements it’s bad. I’ve occasionally had to go out on the road with the pram.
“Or when building work is on the street I’ve had to ask vans to move so I can get the pram past. It’s really inconvenient.
“If I was trying to go with a wheelchair, I definitely couldn’t you the pavement. You’d have to use the road.
“I suspect it’s been a long standing problem but I’ve just noticed it since I had my baby and started using a pram.”
When asked about the possible introduction of the new law, Mrs Barrett said: “I think I agree with the law but particularly on this street it would be difficult.
“I wouldn’t want people to not be able to park outside their houses.
“I have mixed feelings about it though.
“Personally I feel it’s dangerous. Especially if you are having to push a pram or wheelchair out onto the road.
Edinburgh City Council has welcomed the proposal which has recently seen the legality of hundreds of fines issued to drivers since February come under fire after a successful
challenge from one motorist.
A Private Members’ Bill was proposed in the last Scottish Parliament by the then LibDem MSP Ross Finnie which aimed to give councils greater powers to ban parking on pavements.
However it was not successful and had to be relaunched by Joe FitzPatrick, the SNP MSP for Dundee City West in March, and then taken over by Sandra White, Glasgow MSP, in the summer.