Council chief pledges action on pavement parkers after removing cycle lane

The man in charge of Bristol’s roads has agreed to send more traffic wardens to ticket drivers parking on the pavement in one spot in Bristol after a concerted social media campaign by local councillors.

Cllr Don Alexander, the Labour councillor who is the cabinet member for transport, had initially told other councillors who were posting pictures and videos of pavement parking from Cheltenham Road in Montpelier to report it properly, because the council’s parking services team ‘don’t sit and play on Twitter all day’.

Cyclists and local residents began complaining about the pavement parking on Cheltenham Road after a cycle lane along that stretch of the A38 was removed and the pavement was made wider, earlier this month.

Read more: Locals fume over ‘lack of response’ to pavement parking campaign

But local councillor Mohamed Makawi and fellow Green Party councillor David Wilcox complained about the loss of the cycle lane, and then recorded evidence that the newly-widened pavement had simply made it easier for drivers to park their cars on the side of the road across the pavement instead.

The change in the road layout to remove the cycle lane was completed recently, but local cyclists and pedestrians said it had exacerbated an already long-standing problem of people parking their cars illegally along this stretch of the busy main road.

Instead of parking across the cycle lane, now drivers were parking across the widened pavement – so the change in road layout, which Cllr Alexander described as ‘excellent’, had made it easier for people to park there.

Cllr Makawi tweeted a video of a walk up the stretch of road, just north of the Ashley Road junction, while Cllr Wilcox ‘live-tweeted’ the time he spent sitting at a cafe opposite the illegally-parked cars, monitoring how long they were there for. In half an hour, only one was moved, and the councillor for Lockleaze said he saw no traffic wardens or enforcement of any kind.

Pavement parking has long been an issue in Bristol, with local residents in nearby St Andrews, Bishopston, Redland and Cotham even going as far as covering cars that have been parked on the pavements in their streets with mock double yellow lines.

Those complaining about the issue say the city council and the police often say the other is responsible for enforcing it, but in the end, yesterday (Tuesday), Cllr Alexander bowed to the pressure of a Twitter backlash, and announced there would be enforcement on Cheltenham Road.

“In the light of the continuing disrespect of some drivers for the parking restrictions on Cheltenham Road near our excellent new junction,” he wrote. “I have prioritised this area for extra visits from our Enforcement Officers. PCN’s will be issued immediately.”

That news didn’t exactly satisfy those pointing out the problem – the local councillors and environmental travel advocates said this wasn’t a long-term solution.

Extinction Rebellion Bristol replied: “You could quadruple the number of enforcement visits and it still wouldn’t scratch the surface of the problem.

“You should have upgraded the cycle lane to make it segregated, thereby encouraging sustainable travel and preventing pavement parking in one fell swoop!” they added.

When someone inquired whether there would be more traffic wardens employed by the council, Cllr Alexander admitted: “It is very very difficult to recruit now along with many other areas in transport.”

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