Almost 300 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) have been issued by Transport for London (TfL) as part of an initiative designed to ensure that pavements are kept free from ‘clutter’ that could cause injury to pedestrians.
Launched in March 2015, Operation Clearway is part of TfL’s commitment to making it easier and more enjoyable to walk around London, particularly for the elderly and disabled.
The operation involves officers visiting priority locations along the TfL Road Network (TLRN), engaging with local businesses about their responsibilities for keeping pavements safe and enforcing against those who persistently obstruct them.
In the 20 months since the launch, 1,174 obstructions have been reported, 783 warning letters sent and 291 FPNs issued.
TfL says freestanding advertising boards, tables, chairs and pillars can cause injury and hinder the free flow of pedestrian movement, particularly for older people and those with a visual or mobility impairment.
Siwan Hayward, TfL’s head of transport policing, said: “We are committed to creating people friendly, safe streets for all to enjoy. To do this, pedestrians, and particularly those who are vulnerable, need to be able to confidently use pavements which are free from unnecessary obstructions
“Through Operation Clearway we are clearing obstructions at priority locations along our road network. We are also working with boroughs, businesses, schools and organisations such as London TravelWatch, to help make our vision of London being an enjoyable place to walk, a success.”
Janet Cooke, chief executive of London TravelWatch – the independent, statutory watchdog for transport users in the Capital – said: “This is great news and we are proud of our part in getting this action underway. We want pedestrians everywhere to be able to walk more easily on the pavement.
“Pedestrians should also push for their local councils to take action to clear the pavements, as the law requires.”
Operation Clearway is also backed by Guide Dogs for the Blind, a charity who works with councils across the UK to ensure that their streets are safe to all members of public.
Dave Kent, engagement officer, said: “Street clutter is one of the biggest barriers the people we support face – 97% of blind and partially sighted people face problems because of it.
“We are pleased to see TfL is working with businesses to encourage them to remove wilful obstructions, and when they fail to do so, taking prosecution action against them. We want to see a much clearer street environment for all people.”
29 November 2016
Picture: via London TravelWatch.