Cornwall news Claims pedestrianisation scheme 'discriminates against the disabled' UK news
MetiNews.Com - Elderly and disabled people can no longer park near the opticians to shop on the high street
Breaking News ! Residents in Penzance have hit out a trial scheme to pedestrianise part of the high street. It's been nearly two weeks since the Healthy Streets Penzance scheme was launched and vehicles were banned from diving down Market Jew Street between the hours of 11am and 4pm daily. But whilst the number of vehicles driving through the street has reportedly reduced from around 300 an hour to less than 100 an hour, not everyone is following the new rules. The aim of the scheme is to boost the town's recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic by reducing traffic in the town centre. At the moment only buses and cyclists can fully access Market Jew Street, whilst taxis are limited to using part of the road. Read More Related Articles Drivers ignore ban from town centre on first day of pedestrian zone But there are claims the scheme discriminates against disabled people, who need to park in Market Jew Street to attend appointments and visit the shops. Jacky Nicholas from St Just said: "This is going to be an issue because you can no longer drive up Market Jew Street to park in the disabled bays after 11am and before 4pm. "It's not always possible to get appointments outside of these times and it can be difficult for some disabled people to get up and ready before 11am. "My mum has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and finds using a zimmer frame hard on the street anyway because of the cobbles. "We usually manage to get a disabled parking space outside Peacocks and mum is a blue badge holder, from there she can just about walk to Boots Opticians and her dentist near Sports Direct." Under the scheme blue badge holders will no longer be able to park in the eight limited waiting spaces on Market Jew Street. Instead additional spaces will be provided in the Harbour and Greenmarket car parks with appropriate links to the main shopping streets. Meanwhile the current five disabled parking spaces on Princes Street and four spaces on Chapel Street will also remain, together with the 45 blue badge spaces in Cornwall Council car parks in the town, including 33 in the Harbour/Wharfside car park. Councillor Will Elliott of Penzance Town Council launched a survey on his website about the scheme. He said: "There's been a lot of mixed feelings. One of the main things is that there needs to be more concern for the disabled and it needs to be a priority if the scheme is to continue past its trial phase. "A lot of people don't know what's going on, that has been a problem from the word go. "If they (Cornwall Council) continue with this scheme, local disabled groups and disabled people need to be consulted, so they don't feel discriminated against.
. "I believe pedestrianisation is important and is what's best for the town to reduce traffic and build a more sustainable future, but it needs to work for all residents." Cllr Elliott said he's also concerned about the impact on local taxi operators. He added: "The one way bus gate at the top of Market Jew Street is currently omitting access for taxis and allowing only buses and cyclists. "After speaking to local taxi operators I believe this is a mistake, as it increases the journey time for anyone who is taking taxis in the area. "This firstly increases the amount of emissions from these vehicles as they have to take an extended route, which is directly opposed to the very point of this scheme, but also increases the fares of individuals (especially the disabled) who have to take a taxi to come into town between the restricted hours. "I feel therefore that it only makes sense to open the one-way up to both buses and taxis immediately."
The one way bus gate at the top of Market Jew Street is currently omitting access for taxis
(Image: Cllr Will Elliott)
The scheme is being developed by Cornwall Council in partnership with Penzance Town Council, Penzance Business Improvement District (BID) and Sustainable Penzance and will be delivered in three main phases over the next 12 months. Work on the first phases to pedestrianise Market Jew Street has already begun, with the remaining phases to modify the Branwells Mill gyratory system and reduce traffic on the Western Promenade Road and extend the 20mph zone being planned. The trial scheme is being introduced under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) and members of the public are encouraged to give their views as the scheme progresses so changes can be made if any parts are not working as expected. All comments made during the 12 month trial period will be taken into account before a decision is made on a permanent scheme.
Rachel Yates of Sustainable Penzance said: "Initial feedback suggests that the number of vehicles driving through the street since the introduction of the restrictions has reduced from around 300 an hour to less than 100 an hour. "This reduction has already made a significant difference to the feel of the town, with more space for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as reducing carbon emissions and noise pollution and improving air quality. “We are hoping to see further reductions in traffic levels over the coming weeks as more people get used to the new arrangements, and the enforcement measures are introduced.” Traffic monitoring will be carried out by Cornwall Council's highways officers during the next two weeks to provide an accurate picture of the number of vehicles driving in Market Jew Street. People who breach the restrictions will run the risk of being fined or prosecuted. For more information about Healthy Streets PZ including click here.
Source = MetiNews.Com - Cornwall