Better pavement access for prams and wheelchairs in Levenshulme, Manchester
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Urban areas which look run-down are self-perpetuating. If the pavements are cracked, potholed, flooded and obstructed by bins and cars, then it is no surprise that people view them as places to drop litter, fly-tip and leave dog mess. If the pavements are not safe, clean places which allow all pedestrians, from babies to the elderly, regardless of ability or mobility, to access an urban area, then they do not realise their basic function. This is to the detriment of an area. Levenshulme is a thriving, multi-cultural area with many shops, classes, groups, schools, churches, medical centres, public transport links and social facilities, of which its residents are proud. These should be easily accessed by all. However, at present it is easier for many to drive than to walk to a bus stop, especially if you use a wheelchair, push a pram or rely on walking aids. This can change, it will take the effort of the community in conjunction with the council and service providers, but it is a very possible task that would have a positive impact on the area and the lives of those who live in and frequent Levenshulme. Please sign this petition if you have experienced any of the problems described below, as awareness and collective action is the first step in positive change.
1. Cars often park on the pavements, frequently obstructing so much of it that I am forced to wheel my son's pushchair into the road (often with little visibility on busy roads) to get around the obstacle. This is dangerous and makes a mockery of the prime function of pavements.
2. On bin collection day, when emptied the bins are often left obstructing pavements. Again, this makes access difficult, if not impossible, for many users. As a push-chair user it is perhaps more inconvient having to move bins in order to avoid going on the road, but for a wheelchair user, someone frail or infirm, or a person using walking aids, this would be impossible.
3. The state of the pavements is atrocious. Many contain potholes and I have twice fallen over after twisting my ankle in a pothole on the pavement whilst carry a baby in a baby-carrier. On both occasions I was sober and in full control of my faculties. The pavements are in such poor repair that access is again restricted to those nimble and well-sighted enough to spot and avoid such obstacles.
4. The drainage problems around Levenshulme mean that in heavy rains large, deep puddles often form around the lowered sections of pavements, which are lowered precisely in order to incress access for pavement users with varied needs.
This petition is intended for Manchester City Council, however I recognise that the council has a great many financial responisbilities for a great many pressing issues. However, not all problems do require a huge amount of funding to be solved. Yes, fixing the potholes and drainage would require money to be spent, but resolving the problem of cars obstructing pavements could be tackled through a mixture of awareness raising, policing by community traffic police and ultimately fines should car owners refuse to address their anti-social parking habits. The problem of bin obstruction could be resolved by asking the bin collection team to return emptied bins to a non-obstructing place on the pavement and again, by raising awareness among residents about leaving their bins out so as not to block pedestrian access.
The council website does have a page through which road and pavement problems can be reported, which is really positive:
However, the pavements around Levenshulme aren't currently showing any signs of improvement. So, something isn't working. Whether this is a lack of access to the internet, a lack of awareness about how and where to report problems, or, as I find, that the problem of car obstruction is so widespread I just wouldn't know where to begin and that there are so many potholes it would be a full time job finding and reporting them all.
So, please Manchester City Council, could you address this problem in some way, even in a small way, as it's currently unecessarily hard to be a pedestrian with a pushchair in Levenshulme!
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