PPB urges govt to make capital walker-friendly | THE DAILY HERALD

A pedestrian manoeuvres from an uneven road around a vehicle parked on the sidewalk.

PHILIPSBURG–With parking of vehicles along sidewalks forcing pedestrians into the street a common practice, shoppers and tourists often tripping and falling from uneven roads and pavement and from missing pavement, and with little accessibility and accommodation for immobile persons; Philipsburg is fast becoming a nightmare for pedestrians, a situation that the Philipsburg Promotional Board (PPB) wants to see rectified post-haste.

  PPB President Valentin Davis said the safety of pedestrians should be a first priority in improving the day- and night-time economies of Philipsburg. Safety in Philipsburg for pedestrians has not received attention over the past few years and workers, residents, church-goers and tourists have fallen on the streets, alleys and sidewalks, due to the many safety infractions.

  “Walking on most sidewalks in the capital has become hazardous and most times pedestrians are unable to make use of them, as they are covered with parked vehicles throughout the day and night-time,” Davis said.

  He added that with approximately 5,000 persons residing in and around Philipsburg, and countless others including tourists who traverse the town, government should consider making Philipsburg more pedestrian-friendly.

  “These unwelcoming experiences have impacted the image of Philipsburg for the past decade, making it a major distraction for residents and visitors, thus affecting the economy in the capital a great deal,” Davis said. “Families are deterred from coming to enjoy the capital and hotel concierge managers are said to not encourage tourists to patronise Philipsburg due to it not being pedestrian-friendly.”

  PPB urges authorities to work towards improving the negative perception of the capital and enhance its image as a preferred place to live, shop, do business and socialise “by making Philipsburg pedestrian-friendly, so that walking down town will become a comfort and ease for families, elderly, persons in wheelchairs and babies in carriages, for residents and tourists."

  PPB offered a number of practical and doable recommendations, including installing more handicap ramps because many times wheelchairs and baby carriages have to be lifted onto sidewalks and at times risk rolling back into the street into oncoming traffic, and completing the many open trenches in sidewalks as pedestrians constantly trip and fall into them.

  Other recommendations are to remove loose sand in former planters on sidewalks, which causes pedestrians to skid and fall; removing the steel threaded parts from sidewalks that are protruding in a way that causes pedestrians to trip on them and fall; extending the height of traffic signs in certain areas to prevent pedestrians from hitting their head and shoulders on them; removing electrical and telephone lines and conduits from sidewalks, which are unattractive and also cause pedestrians to trip, stumble and fall, and making the main road level and evening the uneven bricks and concrete, as these continuously cause pedestrians to damage their shoes, sprain their ankles and fall at times hurting themselves.

  PPB also calls for the removal of the chain link at DC Steeg and Cyrus Wathey Square, as persons with bad sight and persons walking in groups stroll into them; removing the broken and fallen bollards from the sidewalks, as the steel can scratch pedestrians and they can roll onto their feet; removing the grating around palm trees which causes pedestrians to trip and fall; emptying garbage bins timely, as overflowing garbage on the sidewalks and alleys causes pedestrians to trip; and replacing missing pavement in sidewalks, as it is unsightly and a risk for pedestrian falling.

  PPB also wants authorities to enforce the traffic code and not allow parking on sidewalks, as this forces pedestrians to walk in the narrow street and risk being hit by vehicles. PPB believes that Parliament should be lobbied to increase the penalties for parking on sidewalks. It also wants low-lying signs to be placed on sidewalks for a period of time to remind drivers not to park there.

  PPB also wants towing of vehicles strictly enforced or for illegally-parked vehicles to be clamped with applicable fines.

  Other recommendations include reviewing the policy of businesses placing signboards on sidewalks, which have become obtrusive and cause pedestrians to bump into each other trying to manoeuvre around them and at times be forced to step onto the street to proceed to their destination; remove large concrete light-poles which are placed in the centre of sidewalks, which are narrow in some locations and impossible for pedestrians to walk through; have garbage bins made stationary, as at times they are placed in the middle of sidewalks in a haphazard and obtrusive manner; install and maintain more pedestrian road crossings, along with signage throughout Philipsburg; and have buildings and store-owners place their air-conditioning unit water line into the ground in drain fields instead of on the road, which causes green moss and risk that persons will slip and fall.

  Authorities should also enforce proper and professional placement of construction barriers for the safety of pedestrians; enforce the placement of proper and adequate signage and barriers during road construction by utility companies; place restrictive barriers to prevent pedestrians from walking below unsecure construction sites; enforce “No Vehicles Parking” in alleys where driving is not permitted, so that they may be open and free for pedestrian to walk through; prohibit merchants from placing garbage bags, boxes and debris on the sidewalks, alleys and streets (which are obtrusive to pedestrians); educate restaurants on the disposal of cooking oil and enforce penalties for spillage in public areas; and install bins throughout the capital for the convenience of pedestrians.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/ppb-urges-govt-to-make-capital-walker-friendly