Overspill parking

Overspill parking is the parking of vehicles beyond a defined area specifically designed for this purpose. It can occur because provided parking spaces are insufficient for demand or considered unsatisfactory, and may have unintended consequences on its surroundings. Additional official parking may be provided for an event, or at some distance from the intended destination.

Overspill car parking may simply be parking further away from a place than desirable. In some circumstances it may involve parking violations or other unauthorised or anti-social parking such as double parking, parking on verges or on sidewalks and can on occasions create difficulties for others.

Available parking may be insufficient, unsuitable, expensive or otherwise undesirable. Parking may be limited because the urban form historically made little provision for the parking of private vehicles, or because the transport authority zoning policies consciously limit the provision of parking spaces to discourage car use. Overspill parking is commonplace near shops, schools, hospitals, sports grounds and train/metro stations and at other locations that attract people and vehicles. Commuters prevented from parking for the day close to train stations may resort to parking elsewhere, for example on side streets, verges or other locations.

Overspill parking may conflict with other road users including other motorists, emergency vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and members of various vulnerable groups including the blind, wheel-chair users and people with small children. Vehicles parked on grass, authorised or not, can turn the area to mud in wet weather and parking on sidewalks can cause damage and additional maintenance/repair costs. Such cases may prompt preventative action.

Moscow, Kozitsky Lane
Cars parked on the sidewalk in Moscow


Overspill car park
Overspill car park for shopping centre; reached by footbridge
Pavement parking and pedestrians
Pedestrians walk close to carriageway to pass cars parked on the pavement; double yellow lines mean 'no waiting'
Bollards and car
Bollards and brick pillar in a housing area with car parked diagonally onto the footway
Overspill parking on the grass
Cars parking on the grass in a Hospital car park turning the area to mud

Policy makers may choose to accept overspill parking as inevitable,[1] they may choose to provide more parking spaces or may introduce legislative or physical measures to control the places where vehicles can be parked.[2] Design elements may include Bollards, high kerbs, railings, benches, raised planters, and other Street furniture to prevent parking on footways.[2]

Restrictions can limit parking to particular times of day, for limited periods of time, and may discriminate among users. Examples include residential zoned parking, disabled parking bays, metered bays, and no-parking restrictions.[3]

In a referendum in Amsterdam in 1992 the population voted for reducing the level of parking provision in the city.[4][5]

More parking spaces

The relevant authority will sometimes attempt to provide additional parking opportunities and direct users to those facilities. Consideration was given to overspill parking when Chelsea Football Club was developing the 'Chelsea Football Club Academy' on days when the reserve team were expected to play there[6] and the popular seaside town of Southwold creates additional parking during busy summer periods.[7]

Information campaigns

Many transport authorities run campaigns to highlight the costs and inconvenience of overspill parking.[8][9]

Living Streets in the United Kingdom runs a 'Campaign for combat pavement parking' suggesting various things that people can do to reduce the problem.[10]

Voluntary or compulsory 'Car Exclusion zones' around schools at school drop-off/collection times are used to create a more attractive environment for pedestrians and discourage parents from using cars to schools where there is insufficient space to accommodate them.[11][12]

Streetfilms has produced a number of videos highlighting the issues, highlighting the benefits to pedestrians if the issue is addressed and approaches that can be adopted.[13]

Regional issues

United Kingdom

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee published a report on 'Parking Policy and Enforcement' in June 2006.[1] The report acknowledged that the problem of parking on pavements and in particular parking outside schools, hospital entrances and on corners, junctions and bus stops was "a large one and that a major effort would be required to enforce the law". It criticised the Department for Transport for what it saw as a 'do-nothing' attitude to the problem and said that the government "must grip the problem of pavement parking once and for all and ensure that it is outlawed throughout the country".[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Transport (seventh report)". Parliament. Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  2. ^ a b "Pavement parking". Department for Transport. Archived from the original on 2010-04-08. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  3. ^ "Possible kerb-space management solutions". Dartford Borough Council. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  4. ^ "Amsterdam - Politics of Sust ainability?". Ecoplan. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
  5. ^ "Green urbanism: learning from European cities". Google Books. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
  6. ^ "Chelsea Football Club Academy Supplementary Transport Statement" (PDF). Spelthorne council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2010-04-01.
  7. ^ "Car parks". Southwold Tourism. Retrieved 2010-04-01. An overspill car park, is opened up on the grass land surrounding when the town is busy
  8. ^ "Parking on pavements". Lewisham Council. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
  9. ^ "Pavement parking safety". Cumbria Council. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
  10. ^ "Campaign to combat pavement parking". Living Streets. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
  11. ^ "STP Initiatives - Schools". Coventry City Council. Retrieved 2010-04-01.
  12. ^ "School run exclusion zone". This is London. 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2010-04-01.
  13. ^ "Cars and parking section". Streetfilms. Retrieved 2010-03-30.

Further reading


A bollard is a sturdy, short, vertical post. The term originally referred to a post on a ship or quay used principally for mooring boats, but is now also used to refer to posts installed to control road traffic and posts designed to prevent ram raiding and car ramming attacks.

Car-free movement

The car-free movement is a broad, informal, emergent network of individuals and organizations including social activists, urban planners, transportation engineers and others, brought together by a shared belief that large and/or high-speed motorized vehicles (cars, trucks, tractor units, motorcycles, etc.) are too dominant in most modern cities. The goal of the movement is to create places where motorized vehicle use is greatly reduced or eliminated, to convert road and parking space to other public uses and to rebuild compact urban environments where most destinations are within easy reach by other means, including walking, cycling, public transport, personal transporters, and mobility as a service.

Macombs Dam Park

Macombs Dam Park ( mə-KOOMZ) is a park in the Concourse section of the Bronx, New York City. The park lay in the shadow of the old Yankee Stadium when it stood, between Jerome Avenue and the Major Deegan Expressway, near the Harlem River and the Macombs Dam Bridge. The park is administered and maintained by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The majority of Macombs Dam Park was not open to the public from August 2006, when construction began on the new Yankee Stadium, to April 2012.The 28.425-acre (115,030 m2) park, prior to the stadium construction, featured baseball and softball diamonds, basketball courts, and football and soccer fields. Portions of the park are often used during New York Yankees home games to provide overspill parking for vehicles in an area underserved by garages and other parking facilities.


Parking is the act of stopping and disengaging a vehicle and leaving it unoccupied. Parking on one or both sides of a road is often permitted, though sometimes with restrictions. Some buildings have parking facilities for use of the buildings' users. Countries and local governments have rules for design and use of parking spaces.

Parking violation

A parking violation is the act of parking a motor vehicle in a restricted place or for parking in an unauthorized manner. It is against the law virtually everywhere to park a vehicle in the middle of a highway or road; parking on one or both sides of a road, however, is commonly permitted. However, restrictions apply to such parking, and may result in an offense being committed. Such offenses are usually cited by a police officer or other government official in the form of a traffic ticket.

Pedestrian zone

Pedestrian zones (also known as auto-free zones and car-free zones, and as pedestrian precincts in British English) are areas of a city or town reserved for pedestrian-only use and in which most or all automobile traffic may be prohibited. Converting a street or an area to pedestrian-only use is called pedestrianisation. Pedestrianisation usually aims to provide better accessibility and mobility for pedestrians, to enhance the amount of shopping and other business activities in the area and/or to improve the attractiveness of the local environment in terms of aesthetics, air pollution, noise and crashes involving motor vehicle with pedestrians. However, pedestrianisation can sometimes lead to reductions in business activity, property devaluation, and displacement of economic activity to other areas. In some cases traffic in surrounding areas may increase, due to displacement, rather than substitution of car traffic. Nonetheless, pedestrianisation schemes are often associated with significant drops in local air and noise pollution, accidents, and frequently with increased retail turnover and increased property values locally. A car-free development generally implies a large scale pedestrianised area that relies on modes of transport other than the car, while pedestrian zones may vary in size from a single square to entire districts, but with highly variable degrees of dependence on cars for their broader transport links.

Pedestrian zones have a great variety of approaches to human-powered vehicles such as bicycles, inline skates, skateboards and kick scooters. Some have a total ban on anything with wheels, others ban certain categories, others segregate the human-powered wheels from foot traffic, and others still have no rules at all. Many Middle Eastern kasbahs have no wheeled traffic, but use donkey-driven or hand-driven carts for freight transport.

Residential zoned parking

Residential zoned parking is a local government practice of designating certain on-street automobile parking spaces for the exclusive use of nearby residents. It is a tool for addressing overspill parking from neighboring population centers (such as a shopping center, office building, apartment building, transit station, stadium, or central business district). Typically, residents in the zone pay a small fee to the government in exchange for a placard or sticker placed on their automobile(s) that indicates the zone designation (signified by a number or letter).

In the United States, residential zoned parking was challenged in 1977 as violating the constitutional right of equal protection of the laws, because it favored one group of people (nearby residents) over another group of people (commuters). However, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the practice did not violate Equal Protection. Since then, it has been put into common practice throughout the United States, and has even been used in non-residential areas when a local street's parking is reserved for a business, museum or other facility.


A sidewalk (American English) or pavement (British English), also known as a footpath or footway, is a path along the side of a road. A sidewalk may accommodate moderate changes in grade (height) and is normally separated from the vehicular section by a curb. There may also be a median strip or road verge (a strip of vegetation, grass or bushes or trees or a combination of these) either between the sidewalk and the roadway or between the sidewalk and the boundary.

In some places, the same term may also be used for a paved path, trail or footpath that is not next to a road, for example, a path through a park.

Street furniture

Street furniture is a collective term (used in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada) for objects and pieces of equipment installed along streets and roads for various purposes. It includes benches, traffic barriers, bollards, post boxes, phone boxes, streetlamps, traffic lights, traffic signs, bus stops, tram stops, taxi stands, public lavatories, fountains, watering troughs, memorials, public sculptures, and waste receptacles. The design and placement of furniture takes into account aesthetics, visual identity, function, pedestrian mobility and road safety.

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