Pavements are for pedestrians


Is it my imagination but is parking getting even worse in Rye? Specifically people parking on pavements?

On a short 90-second walk down West Street on the afternoon of Sunday September 24 I came across not one but three cars parked on the pavement. Parking on the pavement seems to be endemic around town. It causes an obstruction and inhibits people walking, especially vulnerable people such as older or disabled people with visual or mobility impairments.

On this occasion an older man in a wheelchair had to be helped across the road from one pavement to another because a large car had parked right across the pavement. When did parking on pavements become an acceptable thing to do?

The Highway Code is explicit on the subject: ‘You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.’ (Rule 244).

Parking on pavements has been illegal in London since 1974. A number of local authorities have followed suit and last year the government promised to review current legislation and assess the implications of changing it. In April 2017 they went on to commit to undertake a review of traffic regulation orders during the summer. Lets see what they come up with.

What the government seems to have overlooked is that the legislation already exists in the form of the Highways Act of 1835 which banned driving onto a pavement.

The issue seems to be that because this is a criminal offence it is a police matter and not a local authority matter. With police thin on the ground, and Rother District Council prevaricating over hiring parking enforcement offices, it means the situation continues to get worse in Rye.

But legalisation and local authority aside, when did drivers become so selfish that they think it’s acceptable to park on the pavement and force an older man in a wheelchair struggle to cross Rye’s cobbled roads?

Photo: Kevin McCarthy

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  1. I did once hear of a gentleman who frustrated at being prevented from walking down a pavement by vehicles parked on them, walked over the bonnet of a car, across it’s roof and down over the boot. Seems justifiable to me but of course he was arrested! Tempting but not advisable.

  2. I am afraid the modern attitude of the motorist is one of self-entitlement and it appears the bigger or more expensive the car the greater this sense grows.
    Pedestrianisation would seem to be the only answer to preserve the safety of the streets in Rye.

  3. I would like to point out that parking across dropped kerbs is very common, making life very difficult for people with wheelchairs,pushchairs etc. This frequentlly occurs at the junction of North Salts with Military Road. When we had a traffic warden he visited this junction often and issued many tickets!

  4. I can’t understand why the people of Rye haven’t taken matters into their own hands concerning parking on pavements in the town. Their are many ways both legal and illegal to deter motorists from parking on the pavement. Someone should get some large notices prepared that can be fitted over the windscreen using the wiper blades informing the motorist that they are being inconsiderate and and parking illegally. It’s no good waiting for the police or councillors to do anything. They all drive cars and couldn’t care less about the poor pedestrians

  5. I completely agree with David Clarke. Our historic little town cannot cope with large amounts of traffic, it’s very fabric is being eroded. So it would be sensible to keep cars out of the citadel with appropriate public transport facilities for pedestrians.To allow the increasingly selfish behaviour of some drivers is almost criminal. But, is there anyone out there who cares enough to change things ? We residents are the losers .

  6. We were only in town for “The Gathering” earlier this month from Philadelphia, USA, and I observed this was a problem. People have no regard for their fellows on either side of the Atlantic 🙁

  7. Quite agree with all comments. Absolutely reasonable to take action to forbid this as necessary. Rye is being spoilt because of this.

  8. The answer is enforcement of parking regulations. We were told in the Spring by our District and County Councillors that a solution was almost there – what has happened? How much time does it take to get parking decriminalised and a warden(s) appointed? They have had over 18 months since the public meeting on parking in March 2016.

  9. Daniel Carrick is right – unless the area is restricted which is the case for Rye’s citadel. As for notices on cars, those who have applied them have been subjected to abuse, which is a powerful deterrent to continuing. Of course the most troublesome parkers are not visitors but residents who should know better.

  10. I watched a Tesco delivery van on Thursday as it drove onto the theoretically parking-free side of the pavement on the High Street, taking up most of it, and then compounded the offence by reversing a few feet. A few minutes earlier a van simply blocked the street while the driver made his delivery, a sight that can be seen dozens of times every day. I suppose opinions will differ as to which method is the best (given that delivery drivers must deliver in order to justify their existence) but the result is chaos every single hour of the day, considerable danger to pedestrians, a less than welcoming environment for visitors, and a hindrance to emergency vehicles and community buses. Not to mention the damage to pavements and buildings which is a cost to us all. There’s no easy solution and some serious planning will have to be done, but the effort will pay off in the long run. My thanks go out to those who are campaigning for change.

  11. Pedestrianise Rye High Street. Allow access only to deliveries, disabled and residents. Mobility scooters would then be able to access the shops which is very difficult at the moment. It would be much safer for pedestrians and more pleasant for tourists.


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