Having a friend who is blind and has the use of a guide dog makes me acutely aware of how those of us who drive vehicles make the lives of those with disabilities, the elderly and indeed Joe and Jane Pedestrian difficult and at times dangerous.
I took the two photos above on 16th October around 1.45pm because I just could not believe what I was seeing as I tried to navigate the section of pavement in front of these shops. One vehicle actually pulled onto and over the pavement right in front of me to access the private land which is actually the majority of what looks like pavement.
And thereby hangs the problem. The pavement is probably about 3ft wide from the kerb line, the rest of the hard standing is private land belonging to whomever owns the shops. Vehicles want to park on that private land as it’s free to do so and parking is very limited in the immediate area. To get to it they have to cross the pavement and with successive road resurfacings making the kerb level quite low it means that in reality vehicles bounce across the pavement wherever they can/want. In turn this makes a pedestrian’s life quite exciting and akin to running a gauntlet, at least it is for the abled bodied who can do that. The elderly, people with disabilities and the blind just have to hope they won’t be knocked over!
But in fact things are even worse than that because the pavement part is often parked upon too so there’s no clear footway at all as you can clearly see from one of the shots where there’s a parked car all but abandoned at an angle over it. A few days prior to taking these photos I had reason to walk in front of the same shops and I found a van parked pretty much the same way as the abandoned car. On that occasion there were a couple of blokes unloading the van and I decided to tackle them. That may not have been a wise thing to do but I stayed calm and simply said they should move their van because it was making the pavement dangerous particularly for people with disabilities. Half expecting some abuse in return they just looked at me and said nothing. However, when I went past again in the other direction a little later the same van was sensibly parked against the kerb. It seems they got what I was saying.
The black bollards you can see in one photo had to be put there to try to stop vehicles using the dropped kerb of the Pelican Crossing to access the private land about a dozen years ago so the problem is far from being a new one. However, it has got so much worse in recent times and I fear that there’s an accident just waiting to happen.
I’ve asked Sefton Council Highways to have another look at this area to see what can be done to make things safer.