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Stormont stalemate stalls new laws on pavement parking

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Police recently released this picture of a car blocking a road in west Belfast

Police recently released this picture of a car blocking a road in west Belfast

Police recently released this picture of a car blocking a road in west Belfast

NEW laws to ban pavement and illegal road parking are being delayed by the Stormont stalemate.

New Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd now has a growing number of problems to deal with on his to-do list.

Consultations on the legislation, which could include an outright ban on pavement parking and fines on vehicles causing an obstruction, have closed.

More than 1,200 groups and individuals have taken part in the consultation which came with a campaign launched by Mr O’Dowd’s predecessor called Think Before You Park.

Research released by Guide Dogs NI has shown almost three-quarters (72%) of those polled have been affected by cars and vans and other vehicles parked on footpaths.

Almost half said they had been forced onto the road and more than half (55%) reported the parked vehicles had made it harder for them to walk.

Former infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon said people living with sight loss, using wheelchairs or elderly, are all at greater risk.

A previous Guide Dogs survey revealed 91% of those living with sight loss said they were regularly obstructed by cars parked on the pavements.

In one of her last statements in office, Mrs Mallon said she was “acutely aware” that vehicles parked on pavements “present real challenges for other road users”.

“Certain offences such as dangerous parking or parking causing an obstruction have not been decriminalised and the responsibility for enforcement remains with the PSNI.

“My department has also prohibited footway or verge parking at a number of specific locations in response to localised problems.

“The 1,200 responses have highlighted the importance being attached to this issue and they are being analysed by officials.”

Sunday Life contacted minister John O’Dowd’s office for comment, but as yet have had no response.


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