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Let's hope legislation will return the pavement to the pedestrian

As a retired civil engineer who worked in traffic management, it is interesting to recall the history of pavement parking ("MSPs to back law banning parking on pavements", The Herald, December 12).

I also, for a period, had to push a wheelchair, making me sensitive to pavement obstruction problems.

In 1973, under Construction and Use Regulations it was an instant offence for a heavy vehicle to park on the footway. I don't think drivers or police officers know that. This law was introduced largely to protect underground services that hadn't been laid deeply.

In 1974 there was a section in the Road Traffic Regulation Act to extend the restriction to all other vehicles. As with the current Scottish Government proposals, there was a period for local roads authorities to make traffic orders excluding suitable, wide pavements. This vesting date was extended to October 1979, after which the ban would apply.

In the September 1979 General Election there was a change of government and one of its first acts was to cancel this section of the Act. This has led to the current position where it appears to be "mandatory" to park on the pavement, no matter how narrow, and with all four wheels if possible, and not even to fold the wing mirrors.

Historically also, a charge, not even a conviction, for obstruction only occurs when a pedestrian, pram pusher or wheelchair user is actually obstructed and this is witnessed by police. It is an offence to drive on the footway, but again only when witnessed.

Of course, while legislation may in due course return the pavement to the pedestrian, local authorities do their best to block the way with countless wheelie bins, no matter how narrow the way is. When working I tried to ensure only pavements wider than 1.5 metres were used. Look at the situation now.

JA Taylor,

19 The Fieldings, Dunlop, Ayrshire.

One has to be aware of the law of unintended consequences when it comes to legislating about parking on pavements.

Yes, blocking a pavement by parking inconsiderately on it is totally unacceptable ("Tougher parking laws get residents' support", The Herald, December 13), but in many residential areas, for example Broomhill or Bearsden, the only way for families to park their cars and not reduce the road width so that traffic, including emergency vehicles, can flow is by putting two wheels over the kerb. This does not obstruct pedestrians, baby buggies or wheelchairs, is not dangerous and is a sensible solution.

A blanket ban on parking or partially parking on pavements would effectively halve the number of family cars that could be accommodated safely.

Peter Jensen,

Douglas Park Crescent, Bearsden.

While the topic of pavement parking is relevant, perhaps the pavement parking by shopkeepers could also be addressed. In the suburbs of Glasgow, notably Govanhill, Shawlands and Partick, the amount of space left for pedestrians is deplorable.

I'm sure there must be a by-law regarding this, so why is it not being implemented?

Mona McBroom,

131 Braidcraft Road, Glasgow.

I know I often seem to be critical of our politicians but I am writing here in unreserved congratulation. The economy in crisis, public finances in a total mess, failing growth, deprivation and poverty – it takes courage to realise these are not the main issues facing our country. It is, of course, that scourge: double and pavement parking.

I am proud that all four parties have stood tall on this issue, proud that legislative time has been devoted to what the naive might think was a minor matter of municipal by-law. Scotland, thanks to our legislators, will have a parking policy that will be at the cutting edge of European thinking. Certainly one in the eye for Jose Manuel Barroso.

No doubt, too, proper bureaucracy and enforcement must be set up to make sure the new regime is put into practice and it will be good to see unemployment being cut at this time of economic stress by more public sector workers. We simply cannot have enough of them, can we?

I invite the Parliament to move on to another issue that has troubled me and many others for years. I refer, of course, to noisy seagulls in our towns and the mess they make. Action must be taken and I can think of no finer bunch of people to take it.

Hugh Andrew,

West Newington House,

10 Newington Road, Edinburgh.

Your leader article is headlined: "Pavements should be for pedestrians, not cars" (December 12). Pity you didn't add at the end "or cyclists".

Andrew A Reid,

75 Glencairn Drive,

Glasgow.

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