29 Nov 2009

Letter to the Wirral Globe

An edited version of this letter has just been published in the Wirral Globe:


I was shocked by the comments attributed to Conservative Councillor Leah Fraser in your recent front page report "Wirral wardens to target pavement parkers". She seems to be unaware that parking on the pavement is illegal and shows scant regard for Wirral's appalling record on pedestrian safety.

Pavement parking is endemic across Wirral. Pedestrians, especially the disabled and those pushing prams, are routinely inconvenienced and put at risk by vehicles blocking their path. This is one of the reasons why Wirral is such a dangerous place to be a pedestrian. Figures recently compiled by Living Streets show that pedestrains in Wirral are 30% more likely to be killed or seriously injured than the national average. For children, the corresponding figure is a shocking 80%.

According to the Chief Examiner of the Institute of Advanced Motorists "parking on the pavement is generally illegal, unless there are signs etc. to permit it". In theory, if not in practise, this view is shared by Merseyside police who say "it is an offence for a person to park their vehicle on a pavement and they would normally get a parking ticket."

The latest proposals from Wirral Council to introduce enforcement on just half a dozen extra roads are an extremely modest step in the right direction. Moreover, on none of the roads earmarked could any responsible driver consider it acceptable to park on the pavement.

Wirral needs to shift from prioritising motor vehicles to giving proper respect to pedestrians. Until this happens, our children will contine to run unacceptable risks. This, rather than cheap point scoring, should be the real priority for Leah Fraser.

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