Hot Seat

Llanelli AM Lee Wa­ters on moves to re­claim pave­ment space and slow traf­fic in a bid to im­prove safety for all

Llanelli Star - - LETTERS -

LAST week I was able to an­nounce that the Welsh Labour Government is taking action to tackle pave­ment park­ing across Wales.

The climate cri­sis, a huge air qual­ity prob­lem and the obe­sity cri­sis all mean we need to do things dif­fer­ently. I think walk­ing and cy­cling can be part of the an­swer to all of those is­sues if we en­cour­age them and re­move some of the ob­sta­cles, like pave­ment park­ing, that peo­ple tell us about.

At the mo­ment, park­ing on the pave­ment isn’t nor­mally il­le­gal, though driv­ers can be fined for park­ing dan­ger­ously or caus­ing an un­nec­es­sary ob­struc­tion. We know there have been is­sues with en­force­ment over the years, with nei­ther the po­lice or the coun­cil hav­ing enough man­power to prop­erly ap­ply the rules. Some­times it’s not even clear who should be ap­ply­ing the rules. Some of this needs to change, and whilst Welsh Government doesn’t have all the pow­ers there are things we can do.

This isn’t about pe­nal­is­ing driv­ers. Many of our houses and streets de­signed at a time when fam­i­lies were lucky to own one car are now faced with house­holds own­ing two or more cars. We need a bal­ance, and at the mo­ment it’s too in favour of parked cars. We need our ur­ban spa­ces to be de­signed for peo­ple first, and for them to be pleas­ant spa­ces to walk, cycle and live in.

If we want to en­cour­age more walk­ing and cy­cling, and make places more ac­ces­si­ble then we can’t con­tinue like this. I of­ten hear of sit­u­a­tions where peo­ple with prams, those with mo­bil­ity is­sues and young chil­dren are di­verted into the road to get around an in­con­sid­er­ately parked car.

I’ve al­ready tasked the Welsh Government with look­ing at ways in which we can en­force 20mph speed lim­its in all res­i­den­tial ar­eas of Wales. We know that will slow traf­fic down and save lives. Making the changes on a Wales wide level will also mean it’s sim­pler for peo­ple to un­der­stand what is and isn’t al­lowed.

If we are go­ing to cre­ate cities, towns and vil­lages where it’s safe for everyone to walk and cycle for ev­ery­day jour­neys, then we have to re­claim pave­ment space from parked cars and slow traf­fic down. I’m proud to be taking action to do that, be­cause I know it will make our lives bet­ter.

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