[Any of the images can be clicked to enlarge.]
BackgroundHuntly Street, Inverness is a restricted zone. The road is single lane one-way with a shared-use pavement on the river side and a pedestrian pavement on the other. Contra-flow cycling on the road is legal. Being a restricted zone, there are no yellow lines on the road but there are signs on lampposts at entry points and along the length of the road.
The shared-use pavement has a kerb flush with the road to give a pedestrianised feel but this unfortunately makes it too easy and inviting for drivers to drive onto and park their vehicles.
EnforcementThe Highland Council are preparing to take over parking enforcement (expected in November). Currently it remains the responsibility of Police Scotland. This usually means Traffic Wardens of which there used to be two for the whole of the Highland area (11,838 sq miles or 30,659 km2) but I believe there is now only one.
LawI'm no legal expert but here are several key facts.
A pavement along the side of a road is legally referred to as a footway.
In Scotland, it is an offence (with certain exceptions) to drive on a footway but parking is not so clear.
Sandra White MSP (Glasgow Kelvin) has proposed legislation, The Footway Parking and Double Parking (Scotland) Bill, which has been agreed in principle by the Scottish Parliament.
However, a shared-use pavement (walking and cycling) is legally a cycle track.
Parking a motor vehicle on a cycle track is a definite offence under the Scotland (Roads) Act 1984
Part XI Offences 129 (6) - [Page 85]
"A person who parks a motor vehicle (...) wholly or partly on a cycle track commits an offence."
Parking SpaceThere is ongoing discussion about whether or not Inverness has adequate parking space provision. This will not be discussed here. This blog accepts the signage and law as it presently exists.
Focus here is on the section of Huntly Street shared-use pavement between Greig Street Bridge and the main Ness Bridge which includes a Loading Bay (which is a Parking Bay on Sunday) and a Disabled Bay.
As well as the motor traffic, Huntly Street is popular with people of all ages and (dis)abilities, with buggies, bikes and mobility scooters. It should provide an enjoyable walk/ride along the riverside.
Since the completion of the new flood wall [Huntly Street Uncovered] almost a year ago, the shared-use pavement has been frequently occupied with parked motor vehicles.
ExperimentOn Sunday morning 08 May 2016 between 10am and 11am I approached drivers who had newly parked their car and asked them if they knew that that they had parked on a pavement or in a disabled bay (as appropriate).
Based on previous observation, I'd expected more vehicles to be parking but was pleasantly surprised to find there weren't too many so I was able to approach almost all the drivers directly and speak with them.
ResultsMany drivers seemed genuinely surprised that parking on the shared-use pavement (cycle track) is an offence. Common responses were:
- It's OK on a Sunday.
- The Police have given us permission.
- Everyone else is doing it.
- I've parked here before.
- Where does it say that?
The attitude to parking in a Disabled Bay without displaying a Badge was similarly casual (although the responses were more apologetic and cooperative):
- I didn't see the sign.
Out of 6 cars, 1 displayed a badge, 4 moved on when informed, and 1 was briefly dropping off a passenger. Another 2 stayed on the road to drop passengers off.
Activity on the pavement near the Premier Inn seemed to be visitors leaving who had either parked on the pavement overnight or were being picked up by a taxi. There is a lot of pavement parking there at other times and may be the subject of a future study.
Activity nearer Greig Street was obviously related to church attendance, particularly at St Mary's.
Out of 8 drivers who parked on the pavement near the Greig Street Bridge, 1 already there moved away, 3 moved away after being informed, 1 walked over the bridge, 3 listened/discussed but stayed parked.
These latter four cars can be seen in the photo. Also in the picture is the 'Shared-Use' sign and a 'No Waiting At Any Time' sign. I purposely avoided photographing people but there were a lot around. To pass the parked cars, pedestrians would have to squeeze through the gap beside the wall or transfer onto the roadway.