The pavement is for cars

Watch out if you are shopping

I suspect I may be in a minority, but I am one of those who can not wait to see the first traffic warden striding through Rye to ticket motorists – given my experiences this Thursday, market day.

On four occasions I was forced into the road because of motorists parked on the pavement and preventing me getting through.

“Oh surely you could wriggle through” comes the cry, but I am not an athletic teenager.
I am getting on for 80, with severe breathing problems, and (it being market day) I had a fully loaded shopping trolley which presented more than enough problems simply lifting it up to the pavement from the road level.

And, surely, as cars seem to get bigger and bigger, a ban (or limitation) must be placed soon on vehicles turning right from the High Street into Market Road.

When there is parking outside the shop opposite the junction, cars end up with their wheels on the pavement on both sides of the junction as they attempt to turn and (thankfully) many, fearing their bonnet may end up inside the jewellers, carry on down down The Mint to the to the delights of the multi-direction junction at the bottom of Mermaid Street.

However the offenders include vans as well, with the usual hazards in Lion Street with vans delivering to The George (and I thought there was a special marked delivery bay in the High Street !)

Peering round the front of the van to see if it was safe to cross and use the pavement opposite I nearly got hit – but did eventually arrive safe at St Mary’s. On my return journey though the same delivery van moved on to the pavement opposite The George (and its delivery bay) and I was again forced into the road.

The County Council will have to consult on its plans for parking enforcement (ie wardens) before they go for Parliamentary approval and I suggest everyone looks at them very closely.

I am not sure the town’s Highways Forum or the Town Council were consulted that much about the parking plans put to the county council by Rother District Council – though I think RDC minutes may have mentioned a proposed loading bay near the (now closed)  warehouse club by the level crossing – and the devil may be in the detail.

And certainly the right turn into Market Road may need attention – and possibly it should even be closed to some vehicles.

In the meantime shopping can be dangerous

Image Credits: Rye News library .


  1. Charlie is right in every respect, especially for those with additional vision problems.
    Two quick anecdotes:-
    The ESCC visual difficulties officer, taking my wife on a trial walk around town to road test her new white stick, was horrified by the cobbles, narrow pavements, uneven kerbs and illegal parking.
    When I plucked up courage to speak to the traffic warden (in the old days) about numerous vans parked on pavements, some almost touching the shopfronts, he said ‘the van drivers have very tight schedules.’ In other words ‘my sympathy is with the van drivers, not your wife!’
    Her latest sprawl was at Bannisters Corner, where fast traffic, a difficult curved kerb and steep paving slopes, make safe navigation almost impossible.

  2. Cars (and especially vans) parking on the pavement also results in cracks in the pavement, making it more dangerous for pedestrians as a whole and especially for those with sight impairment, mobility problems, balance problems, etc.

    The trouble is, there’s no straightforward solution. Deliveries have to be made, people need to get to the town centre, and those cars and vans have to go somewhere. Any parking in Rye that’s easy to access and out of the way of pedestrians currently has to be paid for, and then you still have to walk up a hill–I’ve often seen people with reduced mobility struggle up Market Street. Combined with lax or no enforcement, it’s not surprising that drivers see parking on the pavement or on a double yellow for a few minutes as the best solution. Residents of the many streets built long before cars existed have a real problem, and there’s just not enough public transport to encourage people to give up their cars.

    The whole issue of mobility and access around Rye needs to be looked at in a coordinated fashion. We need far better peripheral parking (with a low-cost permit for residents and sufficient free short-stay bays), traffic access to the High Street restricted to those who really need to use a vehicle, and a free and frequent shuttle bus service. Enforcement of parking regulations isn’t enough on its own.

  3. I hope someone found out who was driving the white van on the pavement and gave them a Good telling off. It’s disgraceful that drivers think they can park on the pavements and force pedestrians to walk on the road.

  4. Well said Charles, couldn’t agree more. You could add that on market days all traffic should be restricted between 9 am – 4pm. I.E. no parking except for delivery vehicles only. But then the danger is, this might project such a pleasant atmosphere in the high street that it could catch on with demands for more days of the same. Perhaps emulating other towns of antiquity throughout our pleasant land.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with the comments made by Charles and all of the other contributors. I have a degree of sympathy with delivery drivers, especially when the designated bay outside The George is usually full of cars that shouldn’t be there. The sooner this anti-social scourge of vehicles blocking pavements is addressed and the pavements are reclaimed for pedestrians the better. This happens, not only in the centre of town where the shops are, but also all around the town on the residential streets. I have even seen prams and wheelchairs being pushed along the middle of the trunk road in South Undercliff with lorries bearing down on them because of illegally parked vehicles blocking the pavement. Presumably the drivers of the offending vehicles think it is more acceptable for pedestrians to get hit by oncoming traffic than their cars and vans. I did once try to speak to a builder from Hastings about his van causing an obstruction. Needless to say he was aggressive and threatening in response, as are most of the offenders who know that they are in the wrong but simply don’t care about the safety of others.

  6. If the one hour restriction was enforced there would be a regular turnover of spaces becoming available. We all know that most of the cars parking in the town centre nowadays are there for many hours – a shopkeeper commented to me recently that lots of shop owners/workers park in the High Street all day.
    So this results in van drivers choosing to block pavements and endanger pedestrians rather than stopping in the road and inconveniencing fellow drivers instead.
    It has also become impossible for community nurses/carers/GP’s who are visiting the housebound to park anywhere near their client/patient. A few years ago the traffic warden would turn a blind eye to the District Nurses car parked on yellow lines for a short time. Nowadays even the double yellow lines are parked on all day.
    The answer isn’t rocket science, it doesn’t involve unsightly ticket machines and the requirement to have the correct change or a mobile phone with the correct app to pay online. All it needs is a person enforcing the rules. Knowing that overstaying can (and will) result in a fine would quickly reverse the habits of those selfish motorists who will only act fairly if forced to.

  7. How long was the van there for? A minute an hour or a day? I can see a van parked on the pavement so as not to block the street whilst delivering goods to a shop. Here is the rub how does one deliver goods to the shops, if you cant get them there there will be no shops so perhaps a little give and take is required by all.

    A solution would be to ban all parking in the citadel including residents as they contribute to the parking issues and just have loading/unloading bays for the benefit of the traders and that is unlikely so unless you want lots of empty shops with no stock then l accept that from time to time these incidents will occur and there are 2 sides to the street.


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