As I go out and about on my daily commute, I come across many obsticles on the pavement, that are both annoying and frustrating. They can either be cars or vehicles, shop advertising boards, badly designed pedestrian areas such as shared surfaces and groups of people who stand and block an entire section of pavement (chatting away). For my guide dog Evans, this is a difficult challenge because the obsticles can either be unpredictable or can indicate no safe way through.
The subject of street furniture and pavement parking have been very hot topics for some time. A private members bill has just been introduced to parliament by Martin Horwood MP (Cheltenham), seeking to outlaw vehicles parking on pavements.
On a campaigning front, Guide dogs have been highlighting the issue of pavement parking for some considerable time through the ‘Streets ahead’ campaign. They rightly highlight the danger that many pavement obsticles cause in forcing people to go into the roadway to get round such unnecessary clutter. Guide dogs have introduced initiatives such as producing a map of the UK with pictures of where bad pavement parking is taking place. Individuals are encouraged to submit pictures that can then be added to the map to re-enforce the message that blocking walkways and putting many people in danger are unacceptable. More information can be found at:
As this article comes onto the website, the Royal National Institute of blind People (RNIB) have started a forttnight of action to highlight the problems that Pavement clutter can cause to us all. Activities are being organised across the country to promote the message of the need for clearer and more accessible streets. More information can be found at:
Next week, I’ll give some examples of where vehicles parked on pavements and also the designation of a pedestrian area as a shared space with vehicles, has caused me signififcant problems