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When does parking become irresponsible?

When does parking become irresponsible?


Postby denfinella » Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:16 pm

OK, controversial post alert - I realise this is a sensitive subject for both landowners and walkers, particularly at the moment.

There's been lots of media coverage about irresponsible parking recently, often at popular walkers' car parks like Balmaha, Rowardennan, Ben A'an, Loch Muick etc. Most of the time, the parking examples that make it into news article photos are clearly illegal or irresponsible, such as parking on double yellow lines, in front of gates, in passing places or making a road too narrow for farm / emergency vehicle access. No-one can really argue that this shouldn't be happening, and I fully support these vehicles being ticketed etc.

However, I'm concerned that there has been a shift towards stigmatising parking in places that I would have deemed to be OK to park - by residents (understandable) but also by councils and the police. Here are a few examples - are these responsible parking or irresponsible?

1. Parking on verges

Up until now I have thought it is OK to park on verges as long as there is a suitable ground surface (often there is an obvious precedent set by previous visitors, but not always), a good view of oncoming traffic for pulling in / out, the verge is wide enough that you do not jut out into the road, and you do not block gates / turning areas etc.

But...

On repeated occasions I've seen Police Scotland saying, online, that it is illegal to park on verges. If this were the case, a great many walks - including many Walkhighlands routes - would be affected. Ben More is one example from this weekend; there were dozens of cars parked on the verge near Benmore Farm (the start point for the WH route) when we drove past at the end of the day. The road is fast, but visibility is excellent and the verge is wide enough to accommodate cars. I would've thought this was an acceptable place to park, but I'm no longer sure Police Scotland would take the same view.

2. Parking on the actual road (without marked bays)

This of course already happens in built up areas. Up until now I have thought this was also acceptable in areas where the road speed is low, the road wide enough and traffic light. A kerb might also indicate where parking is OK. What about if it only leaves space for one (wide) vehicle to pass? I would say that is OK on quiet roads - just like on residential streets.

But...

Social media is awash with photos of people parking "irresponsibly" on roads. Sometimes I'm not sure I agree the cars are parked irresponsibly. I also noticed that most of Callander High Street, except for pre-existing marked bays, now has double yellow lines and / or cones preventing parking. The section with pre-existing bays is the same width as the part with new lines, so why prevent parking on both sides of the rest of the road? The result is that cars are pushed out towards the fringes of the town, where I would argue that parking is actually less safe. The road has a 30mph speed limit, has pavements, and is wide enough to accommodate cars on at least one side of the road.

3. Parking near other people's houses

We were in Largs today to walk the hills behind the town. It was busy, but Largs often is on sunny weekends. We parked near the seafront in an unrestricted residential street, but an angry passer-by came and told us that parking was private and demanded we move. There were no signs and nothing to suggest the road was private, but we moved on, worrying that otherwise our car might end up scratched.

I also read a post on Facebook today where a walker parked near a house (beyond a hedge) and received a similarly rude response. The photo accompanying the post showed that there was space for several cars, and (if I recall correctly) the house had its own driveway. From the photo, parking there looked like it should be fine, and yet the comments section on Facebook was full of people saying the walker was wrong and that it was an obviously illegal to park there. Have I therefore got a poor understanding of the law, and / or poor morals?

I think my concern is that there is insufficient clarity over what is acceptable parking, and that if this continues to be the case, people will effectively be prevented from walking in areas where there is not an official car park.
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby denfinella » Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:35 pm

And just for fun, here's another example from this weekend:

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/drivers-slapped-fines-over-dangerous-23979500

Do you think that the parking in the first photo is so obviously irresponsible that a parking ticket is justified? Or would it be better for yellow lines to be painted for the avoidance of doubt? Obviously it's difficult to give a firm answer without knowing exactly what road it is. (The second photo is right next to a no stopping sign.)
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby al78 » Mon Apr 26, 2021 1:19 am

Yes. People who park on bends and reducing the width of the road by half causing conflict between opposing traffic are a pain in the arse and should be //Moderation: removed after complaints//

As for yellow lines on a high street, I can see why that would be justified. Parking in an urban area reduces the width of the road forcing negotiation between opposing traffic and reducing the capacity of the road. It also makes it more hazardous for pedestrians crossing the road, and cyclists using the road who have to worry about careless cockwombles throwing doors open without looking. If drivers put two wheels on the pavement, that causes damage to the pavement which someone (the local residents through taxes) has to pay to get repaired.
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby rob114 » Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:00 am

The Daily Record photo shows a road sign indicating the the road is a Clearway. No parking is allowed on a Clearway, except in marked parking places or bays,, similar to signage on a Dual Carriageway. The sign has the same meaning as double yellow lines.
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby AyrshireAlps » Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:13 am

We were in Largs today to walk the hills behind the town. It was busy, but Largs often is on sunny weekends. We parked near the seafront in an unrestricted residential street, but an angry passer-by came and told us that parking was private and demanded we move. There were no signs and nothing to suggest the road was private, but we moved on, worrying that otherwise our car might end up scratched.


Aye, plenty of busybodies in towns with nothing better to do with their time.

In answer to the greater question, it's time for a bigger infrastructure discussion on this. Public transport is the oft trotted out solution, but without massive subsidies and a massive increase in the amount of (empty) buses on the road, it's not happening.

The cat is out of the bag, traipsing up a hill is popular, which is brilliant - I hope all these new walkers keep it going, learn and improve and enjoy the mountains as we all do. The only way - as we all do - to get around is by car, even when car sharing is acceptable again, there will still be too many cars for the limited parking available. More parking and infrastructure is the only answer I can see.
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby weedavie » Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:59 am

AyrshireAlps wrote:[. The only way - as we all do - to get around is by car, even when car sharing is acceptable again, there will still be too many cars for the limited parking available. More parking and infrastructure is the only answer I can see.


You've just got to get out of a car mindset. About five years ago I proved to myself that I wasn't safe to do a two hour drive, a seven hour walk and a two hour return drive safely. Since then I've used public transport and bike to reach a considerable number of Southern Munros, including ones as unlikely as Carn Bhac and Beinn a' Chlachair. The only real disaster was Schiehallion on a short miserable winter's day.

It's a bit trickier, it's certainly more expensive but it's fun and it's greener. Over the years, well before the current crisis, it's amused me the attitude of this discussion group to parking. Echoing the Dead Kennedys, it's Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death.
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby denfinella » Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:35 am

I somewhat regret posting the topic now - I fear I might have come across as suggesting that people should be able to park wherever they like, which definitely wasn't the intention. But I'll plough on...

al78 wrote:Yes. People who park on bends and reducing the width of the road by half causing conflict between opposing traffic are a pain in the arse


I you are referring to the first photo in the newspaper article, I disagree that those cars are reducing the width of the road by half. As for encouraging violence, I'm surprised that you think it is OK to post something like that. Perhaps you were joking, but I don't find joking about assault funny at all.

al78 wrote:As for yellow lines on a high street, I can see why that would be justified. Parking in an urban area reduces the width of the road forcing negotiation between opposing traffic and reducing the capacity of the road. It also makes it more hazardous for pedestrians crossing the road, and cyclists using the road who have to worry about careless cockwombles throwing doors open without looking. If drivers put two wheels on the pavement, that causes damage to the pavement which someone (the local residents through taxes) has to pay to get repaired.


I agree with most of your points here, but just to be clear, I didn't ever say anything about parking on the pavement - I was talking about parking on the road next to the pavement, not on it.

For the part about the width of the road - I mentioned in the earlier post that the road is equally wide further along, where parking is encouraged with marked bays, and cyclist / pedestrian traffic is greater. So I find the discrepancy strange.

rob114 wrote:The Daily Record photo shows a road sign indicating the the road is a Clearway. No parking is allowed on a Clearway, except in marked parking places or bays,, similar to signage on a Dual Carriageway. The sign has the same meaning as double yellow lines.


The second photo - yes. However I'm referring to the first photo, which I think is taken in a completely different location.

AyrshireAlps wrote:
In answer to the greater question, it's time for a bigger infrastructure discussion on this. Public transport is the oft trotted out solution, but without massive subsidies and a massive increase in the amount of (empty) buses on the road, it's not happening.

The cat is out of the bag, traipsing up a hill is popular, which is brilliant - I hope all these new walkers keep it going, learn and improve and enjoy the mountains as we all do. The only way - as we all do - to get around is by car, even when car sharing is acceptable again, there will still be too many cars for the limited parking available. More parking and infrastructure is the only answer I can see.


I agree. Although I currently use a car heavily, I would support a bigger tax on cars (or fuel, or mileage over a certain limit) to fund better transport and fare subsidies. At the moment, it is much easier and cheaper for most people to use a car over public transport, and mass behaviour is unlikely to change until the difference becomes less.

More parking would also be welcome, if the increase in numbers is sustained.

weedavie wrote:
You've just got to get out of a car mindset. About five years ago I proved to myself that I wasn't safe to do a two hour drive, a seven hour walk and a two hour return drive safely. Since then I've used public transport and bike to reach a considerable number of Southern Munros, including ones as unlikely as Carn Bhac and Beinn a' Chlachair. The only real disaster was Schiehallion on a short miserable winter's day.

It's a bit trickier, it's certainly more expensive but it's fun and it's greener. Over the years, well before the current crisis, it's amused me the attitude of this discussion group to parking. Echoing the Dead Kennedys, it's Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death.


I generally agree - again, to facilitate this, I'd like to see a reduction in the disparity in convenience and (especially) cost between driving and using public transport.

We currently have a rough 2-hour limit for the maximum distance we will travel for a day trip. That's not because of safety, but it does help cover that side too. My partner and I are also always both in the car, which means we can swap if one of us feels tired.

The green comparison depends. For a single person, it's greener in almost all cases to use public transport. For a family of four, it can be greener to all use one car than use public transport. For a couple, public transport is usually greener but the difference is not always enormous - it depends on the mode of transport, type of car, how often a new is purchased and the relative distances travelled between the public transport route and the driving route.
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby Giant Stoneater » Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:56 am

1. Parking on verges

With parking on verges they eventually get badly worn over time and cars start parking on the verge further along the road that is not worn and it goes on and on.
In winter time or when it has been very wet i have seen cars stuck in well worn verges.

A lot of the so called parking issues is because people have not planned for a Plan B or C or quieter alternative route and are determined to go the baggers route without a thought for other road users.
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby denfinella » Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:08 am

Giant Stoneater wrote:1. Parking on verges

With parking on verges they eventually get badly worn over time and cars start parking on the verge further along the road that is not worn and it goes on and on.
In winter time or when it has been very wet i have seen cars stuck in well worn verges.

A lot of the so called parking issues is because people have not planned for a Plan B or C or quieter alternative route and are determined to go the baggers route without a thought for other road users.


I agree that there are many places were verge parking is not OK, including where the ground is soft. And yes, I agree it would be better if people tried to aim for quieter hills. I certainly wouldn't have even dreamt of going to Balmaha / Rowardennan over the last two weekends! However, there has been such an explosion in popularity that even relatively quiet places are getting full, which does make it more difficult to plan effectively, especially for those who haven't been walking in the Highlands for long.

Many walks start from places where the verge is the main place to park, however. Should this be discouraged? I genuinely don't know. Again, I'll use the Walkhighlands route up Ben More as a well-known example, but there are many others.
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby Paul Webster » Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:00 pm

The second photo - yes. However I'm referring to the first photo, which I think is taken in a completely different location.


I think the first photo has been removed from the article since you posted it (quite possibly as the parking might have been fine). The only photo on the link now shows the clearway, which has probably led to confusion in this thread.

There are a great many of the quieter hills (and other walks) in Scotland that have no parking at all other than verge or roadside. If they are all declared out of bounds, the problems will full car parks / not enough capacity elsewhere will become far worse than it is currently. This isn't to say there isn't a problem with people who park terribly / irresponsibly.

Only a very small minority of - usually, the most popular - walks have official car parks.
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby Moriarty » Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:17 pm

Unfortunately responsible parking isn't the same everywhere...it depends on how busy somewhere is. So a car on a verge on a quiet, remote road is likely to be fine, but a car on a stretch of road where many vehicles are mulching the verge day by day and obstructing traffic isn't.

There are always 2 sides to conflict, but you only need to look to parts of Perthshire to see the potent impact of verge management in heavily limiting options for walkers.

I wouldn't want to voluntarily approach a mindset that looked for parking only in "permitted" or "authorised" areas.
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby denfinella » Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:49 pm

Paul Webster wrote:
The second photo - yes. However I'm referring to the first photo, which I think is taken in a completely different location.


I think the first photo has been removed from the article since you posted it (quite possibly as the parking might have been fine). The only photo on the link now shows the clearway, which has probably led to confusion in this thread.


You're right - the first photo has been removed. That explains a lot! Would it be possible to edit my second post to indicate that this is the case, please?

Moriarty wrote:Unfortunately responsible parking isn't the same everywhere...it depends on how busy somewhere is. So a car on a verge on a quiet, remote road is likely to be fine, but a car on a stretch of road where many vehicles are mulching the verge day by day and obstructing traffic isn't.


I agree. Similarly, many verge start points in previous years may only have had a couple of cars there each day, whereas now they may have a dozen or more - so the risk of obstructing traffic becomes greater.

If you are the first car to park there, you may risk returning later to find that 20 other cars have joined you, leading to access bring impeded and a ticket on the windscreen - even if the parking spot had seemed safe to start with.
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby gaffr » Mon Apr 26, 2021 1:03 pm

Agree that the al78 suggestions that violence should be employed...deserved to be removed from the Forum. Sin bin for you lad and I would give you a months penalty from Posting here.
Surprising from him and he should stick to his long distance journeys and using the railway system for getting to and fro.
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby simon-b » Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:54 pm

This applies to Scotland, England and Wales:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/waiting-and-parking-238-to-252

Should help clear some of the points made. For one thing, nothing wrong with on road parking if it conforms with the rules stated.
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Re: When does parking become irresponsible?

Postby davekeiller » Mon Apr 26, 2021 6:05 pm

As a general rule, parking becomes irresponsible when it causes a hazard to other road users, blocks the road, obstructs a junction, damages property or blocks access to someone's property.
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