Thursday, 4 October 2007

Making walking worse

You can see what happened, can't you? Some bright spark in the highways department in those municipal offices on The Ridgeway thought it would be a marvellous idea to introduce pavement parking on to Wyatts Lane, off Wood Street E17. Historically, there had never been pavement parking here. But the London Borough of Waltham Forest is passionately committed to extending car ownership and use and, in particular, to accomodating those residents who choose to buy large vehicles. A good way of accomplishing such goals is to turn pavements over to cars. In this case our bright spark looked at a map and brought in a traffic order. What the map didn't show, of course, is trees. The recommended national minimum footway width for pedestrians is 2 metres. Car-crazed Waltham Forest shaves this to 1.4 metres, occasionally even 1.2 metres. But the space left between parked vehicles and this tree is one metre - well below anyone's standard, including that of the London Brough of Waltham Forest. But who cares, after all it's only pedestrians we are talking about. And once the Council has achieved its goal of turning pavements over to motorists no one gives a toss about the conditions which then exist for wheelchair users and others with a mobility handicap.