Shared pathway concerns residents

Crash fears for the blind

Last updated 05:00 03/03/2014
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Jocelyn Falconer, 83, is partially blind and is upset the council has made the pavements near her house shared spaces.
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A partially sighted woman fears the New Plymouth footpaths she walks on every day will be taken over by a horde of cyclists.

Jocelyn Falconer, 83, and her husband Jack, 87, are now too scared to leave their home in peak school traffic for fear of getting knocked over.

Mrs Falconer is partially blind and her husband is legally blind.

Last week the New Plymouth District Council monitoring committee passed 51 changes to parking, bus stops and the way pavements are used in some of the district.

Among the items was the move to change the footpaths on Coronation Ave into shared spaces.

This means the footpaths from New Plymouth Boys' High School, through to Welbourn Tce, with the exception of those in front of the Welbourn shopping complex, will now host bicycles as well.

The popular route to school will see hundreds of children riding their bikes on the pavement.

"It's so easy for children to accidentally hit an old doddery couple," Mrs Falconer said.

"My husband's had a stroke too and it's hard enough to get him out walking without bikes on the pavement as well."

Mayor Andrew Judd responded that the shared spaces on Coronation Ave would be similar to those on the Coastal Walkway.

"It's all about getting people to change the way they travel, and of course common sense must be used by those in the shared spaces. Other users have to be conscious of the fact that there will be people who are less mobile than they are," he said.

Mrs Falconer, who lives on Tokomaru St said the council had not consulted anyone in her street about the changes but Mr Judd said until yesterday he had been unaware of Mrs Falconer's concerns and he would visit her personally to discuss the issues.

Fellow Tokomaru St resident, Leonie Steedman, 69, echoed Mrs Falconer's concerns.

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- Taranaki Daily News


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