Parking difficulties and issues
Parking difficulties and issues come under, in the United Kingdom at any rate, under two clear and separate headings:
- Public (usually on-street) parking
- Private parking, usually on business and private property
We are taking the first group of parking difficulties and issues first:
First and foremost, parking on public space is for the use of the general public. This is usually on-street parking; it can also be parking on municipal car parks and, less frequently, on car parks of central governmental car parks. With regard to on-street parking, from first principles we can assess that the streets are for the passage of people and their vehicles on lawful business. To the end that the proverbial Joe Bloggs can still walk along and drive along the streets, roads and lanes of the country, parking can and should be permitted.
There are situations where parking on-street is anti-social because:
- The narrowness of the roadway makes all parking antisocial
- The characteristics of the roadway and its use in the community make prolonged parking anti-social
- Parking is done in a manner that makes it anti-social
This writer has seen while walking along that many roadways are such that anybody putting a stationary vehicle anywhere thereabouts in any manner whatsoever blocks the highway. Most usually, local authorities communicate this by means of written forbiddings on pain of penalties if flouted.
The authorities recognize (or should recognize if they don"t) that parking in certain places is anti-social but needs and requirements have to be met, for example, for loading and unloading lorries for retail shops etc. To address this realistic problem, they permit parking under strict time and purpose conditions. Flouters get some kind of penalty provided enforcers of rules and regulations are at hand and active in their duties
Unfortunately, in the United Kingdom, there are drivers who think that good driving and good parking are mostly for passing the driving test and afterwards can be disregarded. Parking in such a way that it creates a public nuisance, for example, by placing the vehicle at an angle to the edge of the pavement harms passing traffic and might impede the passage of pedestrians.
In most districts of the UK local authorities employ staff to see to it that motorists follow parking rules and regulations on pain of negative conditioning. In some places it is the local police that undertake this job.
Parking on central government car parks is a special case and the government establishment in question sees to it that people do not just turn up at, say, Ministry of Defence establishments, and park without fear of official penalties. They can use the law courts and procedures unlawful for private people are lawful for Central and Local government on occasion, such as clamping and towing.
A quick trawl through the Internet shows that there are heaps of angry people wanting more traffic wardens or more traffic police to deal with anti-social parkers; this is sometimes a heated subject.
The other great division in parking difficulties and issues is parking on private grounds. We address this now:
The undefended right to private ownership of property leads slowly and by stages to the loss of ownership. The harsh light of history reveals that too much niceness and laxity in general leads to property loss, not immediately, but in the long pull.
The advantage taking motorist is indeed a problem for private property owners. Regrettably, the property owner and/or his agents can be roaring lions too. There are parallels in, of all things, landlord and tenant situations and the corresponding law for them.
British recent social history abounds with horror stories about "cowboy clampers" and heartless people who towed away vehicles, apparently to get release fees.
The private parking industry had a terrible name before Section 54 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 moved in to deal with this on 1st October, 2012. That made private clamping and towing away illegal.
Essentially, action against problem unpermitted parking on private premises is classed under "breach of contract" which is different from the situation governing public parking that government (central and local) deals with.
The activities of PPCs (Private Parking Companies) are becoming more and more tightly regulated.
We are sure that Section 54 is only the thin edge of the wedge and the PPCs of the UK will be strictly licensed under statutory provisions that will become tighter and tighter than ever known before.
We have discussed parking difficulties and problems in a summary fashion. The truth is that this is a subject of near-infinite extent and worthy of a lifetime"s study.