NORTH PERTH pedestrians have had enough.
Local Andrew Main says they are sick of footpaths broken for years at a time, construction debris scattered about and streets littered with cracks and potholes.
He says a lot of the footpaths around town are in such poor condition they pose a danger to pedestrians, especially kids, the elderly and people in wheelchairs.
He knows of a seven-year-old lad who’s lost four teeth in two scooter accidents, and a woman who ended up in a sling after going for a walk, all because of poorly-maintained footpaths.
A neighbourhood physio told him they’d love to get patients walking around the area as part of their rehabilitation but they just won’t risk it.
There’s some regular dolts who’ll park their cars across the footpath, as well as tradesmen, making life dangerous for those in a wheelchair or pushing a pram.
There’s one spot in North Perth where the footpath’s been damaged beyond use for three years as construction drags on.
Vincent council requests builders repair footpaths at the end of construction, but that can still leave them in disrepair for long stretches.
“For able-bodied people it’s okay, but for young people, people with prams, older people, and people in wheelchairs … I think it’s a serious issue,” says Mr Main.
He wants Vincent to crack down on these offenders and force them to fix things in a timely manner.
“I think Vincent needs to be tougher on them.”
Mr Main would like to see a fraction of the attention and expense given to cars, extended to those on foot.
“We’re trying to raise the point that walking should have a higher priority. It seems to be a forgotten mode of transport.”
He says if our roads were in as poor condition as our footpaths there’d be outrage from motorists.
Vincent Mayor Emma Cole says they’re working on improving things for pedestrians.
One issue previously was that they had two separate advisory groups dealing with traffic and roads: There was the cyclists and pedestrian group (which Mr Main used to be a member on) and then there was the car-centric group.
The City’s engineers would suggest a plan to solve car traffic issues, but then it’d get kicked over to the pedestrian and cycle advisory group where they’d spot big problems for non-car users. Those two groups have now been merged.
Ms Cole says several pedestrian crossings will be upgraded, including the one at Vincent Street near Beatty Park.
Currently the Vincent Street median strip is so narrow that if you’re on a bike or pushing a pram, half of it sticks out into the road.
In 2015, former Vincent mayor John Carey got so fed up with builders destroying footpaths and leaving debris everywhere he asked council staff to investigate stiffer penalties.
The idea was workshopped by councillors last August and will come before council later this year.
by DAVID BELL