There has been criticism of the high cost of providing each new bay where fines can be imposed. “It seems obscene, for a sign to be put there. There seems to be a lot of literature and boxes to be ticked.”
The British Parking Association said the Government should make Traffic Regulation Orders easier and cheaper to implement, and an advisory parking bay would achieve little.
But the idea was blasted by campaign group Disabled Motoring UK, which said advisory bays would be ignored by some drivers where parking space was scarce.
” It’s a free-for-all,” said a spokesman. “It’s not a dedicated space for a Blue Badge holder.”
With each new bay costing ₤ 750 for regulations, paint and a sign on a pole, council bosses say a cheaper approach is needed.
Cardiff has 17,000 Blue Badge holders, and the number is expected to rise. So far, only about 1,000 have parking slots marked on the road outside their houses. Disabled people not only drive cars but also disabled mobility scooters and it is unclear if these are affected at present.
Because nobody can be fined for misusing the new spaces, ideas to give numerous more disabled people in Cardiff a parking bay outside their homes have been criticised.
” In providing advisory bays, which have been tried and tested in other parts of the UK, we will be able to speed up the process of providing bays for those who qualify and help a great many more people in need to keep their independence and mobility.”
” Having a dedicated parking bay outside their home can be a tremendous asset for people with limited mobility,” he said.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “A request for authorisation to waive the requirement for signing has been received from Cardiff council and is currently being considered. We have not advised that the regulations could be overlooked in this case.”
Ralph Cook, the Cardiff councillor who oversees highways, said the advisory spaces would rely on the public’s goodwill.
But the Institute of Advanced Motorists backed the council’s plans. “It’s quite a sensible way of getting more bays into place, without the bureaucracy,” said Tim Shallcross, the IAM’s Wales officer.
The council aims to relax rules which now disqualify about half of the applications for disabled bays.
He warned of potential confusion over enforceable and advisory bays. “The motoring public need consistency. One of the major issues at the moment is that signage isn’t always clear. If there’s now a different system coming in, that’s going to create more confusion.”
Cardiff council needs special permission from the Welsh Government to override traffic-sign regulations.
New “advisory” bays will involve only paint on the road, omitting the sign and pole and the formal public consultation.
” The message to the public is, whether it’s enforceable or not, please be considerate if a disabled bay is marked on the ground and don’t park in it. Then you won’t run any risk of bring prosecuted.”
” Most people wouldn’t park in disabled bays if they’re not disabled, but you’ve always got a section of the community who will,” said Helen Dolphin, director of policy.
Until a few years ago, 85% of Scotland’s on-street disabled bays were advisory. They were misused so often that Scotland passed a law in 2009 banning advisory bays.