DRIVERS who leave their cars across dropped kerbs in a Gwent borough have been warned a clampdown on illegal parking is due to start.
Action on the issue, that can cause difficulties for parents with prams and even block wheelchair users or those in mobility scooters from moving around freely, was promised in January.
Now Mark Thomas, Torfaen council’s highways deputy, has said the borough’s civil enforcement team of parking wardens is “back up to relatively full strength they will be tasked with targeting dropped kerbs as they are patrolling to ensure they are protected.”
The officer said a ticket can be placed on vehicles blocking a dropped kerb and there is no need for a traffic order, or sign, marking the kerb such as there is on restricted parking spaces.
Cwmbran St Dial’s independent councillor Elizabeth Haynes welcomed the announcement during the council’s cleaner communities scrutiny committee and said: “Hallelujah to the comment about enforcing the parking on dropped kerbs.”
Panteg Labour member Norma Parish asked what the council was doing to deal with issues such as parking on dropped kerbs as part of its efforts to promote walking and cycling.
Road safety officer Pat Barnes said the Welsh Government has delayed its legislation which will allow councils to take enforcement action against drivers who park on pavements in recognition of the amount of work required to introduce the 20 mile per hour speed limit in buit up areas this year.
But he said it isn’t only drivers who cause obstructions for pedestrians, especially those with disabilities.
He said: “It’s not just limited to pavement parking a lot of properties have hedges that are massively overgrown, there’s a lot of excess green foliage owned by private individuals that is as much of challenge as pavement parking. Our focus on pavement blockages and obstructions should not just be limited to vehicles.”
He said every walking and cycling route the council develops is step free, or there may be steps “complimentary” to ramps.
Mr Barnes said cash from the council’s budget for walking and cycling routes is also ring fenced to put in more dropped kerbs but said: “It’s a drop in the ocean”.
Active travel officer Donna Edwards has also marked every dropped kerb on the county’s mapping system, so people are aware of accessible routes, and Mr Barnes said the department is “always looking” for additional funding to create more access points.
Ms Edwards, in reply to a question from Cllr Haynes, said she has accompanied groups for the visually impaired and disabled on walks to assess routes.