Walkway parking - a problem almost everywhere?

Parked vehicles on pedestrian facilities are a serious problem in many cities around the world. Are they a problem where you live?

This post will not be a carefully thought-out treatise on this subject. I will merely offer a series of brief examples and photographs. This post is about highlighting the issue and showing that it afflicts several continents. Today I am not trying to analyse or solve it. Those tasks will have to wait.

Seoul has not cracked this problem.

A quick search in various world languages (using Google Translate) suggests this is an issue in many countries! Try clicking one of the searches below.
Translated results for sidewalk parking
Translated query

acera de aparcamiento

stationnement trottoir
1,110,000 results
وقوف السيارات على الرصيف

Chinese (Simplified)  

Estacionamento calçada

[Update: Fixed the French language search term]

Many Chinese cities have rampant parking on walkways. This was a key issue highlighted by ITDP's report on parking in the Daoli district of Harbin in China.

Pavement parking is common in many of China's cities. This is in Guangzhou, which is actually better than most.

San Francisco's problem with sidewalk parking has prompted a wonderful blog: the San Francisco Department of Sidewalk Parking. The last post was from January 2010 but the site has numerous examples and some interesting analysis of the problem.

An example snapped by Commissioner Concrete at the SFDSP.

The UK is not immune either, as Peter Guest at Parking World blog writes:
Footways are for people and carriageways are for cars, there's a clue in the names. And yet it seems that this is all too difficult for the Council in Stroud in Gloucestershire. Parking on the footway can mean that mothers with children and people in wheelchairs have to walk/wheel in traffic to get by and if you're in a wheelchair you may have to backtrack several hundred yards to find somewhere where the kerb is low enough to get down. Residents have formed a group called POP (People On Pavements) to campaign against this anti-social behaviour. They are mounting a campaign asking locals to photograph offenders; these will be put on display and people will be asked to vote for the worst offender who will be given a "Biggest Plonker" award.

Parking in driveways across the footway is common in Singapore's private housing estates.

The Pedestrian Council of Australia (a non-profit organisation) campaigns against footpath parking. It's press clippings include numerous examples.
  • Here is one from Sydney's North Shore about cars parked in suburban driveways but blocking the footway and a local council's failure to enforce the law against it.
  • Here is a 2009 article with a good overview of the situation for New South Wales. 

Pavements for motorcycle parking and roadways for walking in old Hanoi.

Motorcycle parking on footpaths is also a serious issue in many parts of Asia, both rich and poor. Japan's domestic sales of motorcycles were reportedly dampened in recent years, due in part to improved enforcement since 2006 against parking of motorcycles on footways.

Legal or illegal?
In this post I didn't always distinguish illegal from legal parking. Sadly, parking on footpaths/pavements/sidewalks is sometimes institutionalized. Although it is rare for such parking to be completely legal, it can be difficult to draw a clear line between legal parking in a building frontage area and illegal parking on the walkway, especially if the boundary between the two is not obvious. I will write more on that some other time.

This example from Seoul is probably legal in fact.

UPDATE: Karl from ITDP tells me they have a special ITDP photo-library on vehicles on walkways. There are photos from many countries but most are from Chinese cities.  


  1. Very nice article. I always get mad at cars that park on sidewalks. Its a problem here in SA too.

  2. Paul,

    You can add Los Angeles to you list of cities with cars parked on the sidewalks. Here are some links to the problem:




  3. This is a big problem in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We have plenty of photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/uwabadar and http://s373.photobucket.com/albums/oo180/uwabadar/

    Our campaign group is always complaining about this issue but we don't get listened to.

    UWABA (www.uwaba.or.tz/index-en.htm)

  4. Thank you very much Elaine, Donald and 'googling' for the comments and for the extra links to examples.


Post a Comment