It is high time that the Parliament debated at responsible parking and I have signed up to support the Proposed Responsible Parking (Scotland) Bill which is currently being put forward by Sandra White MSP.
I am acutely aware of the problems and risks associated with irresponsible parking: which includes vehicles obstructing pavements, double parking in streets and dropped kerb parking.
I have received numerous representations from constituents across the Lothians and it is clear that action needs to be taken. Pavement parking is not just an inconvenience for pedestrians, but it is also potentially hazardous, especially for people such as the elderly, disabled persons with visual or mobility impairments and families with buggies who are forced onto the road in order to continue their path. Double parking is also a problem particularly if it blocks ambulances and or fire engines from accessing a street in an emergency.
I am also in agreement with the Responsible Parking Alliance that irresponsible parking is costly due to the damage that it causes to pavements. This creates further barriers for people who are left having to use an uneven, damaged surface. I well remember research that I came across while working as a town planner years ago. The impact of hospitalisation following a bad fall whether caused by uneven or icy pavements can be profound for older people. Apart from the physical impact which can be devastating it can lead to a loss of independence.
I hope that the debate on this Bill will focus attention on the importance of accessibility in our built environment particularly for older people and people with disabilities.