Disabled charities welcome Operation Clearway success

Street clutter London

More than 2,000 obstructions have been removed from the Capital’s pavements 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 locations along the TfL Road Network (TLRN) to engage with local businesses about their responsibilities for keeping pavements safe – and enforcing against those who persistently obstruct them.

Operation Clearway has been acclaimed by two charities supporting people with impaired vision, East London Vision (ELVis) and Guide Dogs London.

Nicola Stokes, ELVis spokesperson, said: “So many vision impaired people want to get out and about but don’t feel confident that they’ll be able to navigate the streets unaided because of street furniture.

“It’s great that TfL is taking this issue seriously, and hopefully Operation Clearway will see our pavements become more accessible for all of us.”

David Kent, Guide Dogs London’s community engagement officer, said: “For a blind person the pavement should be a place of sanctuary. If a visually impaired person is forced to leave the pavement to avoid an obstacle and go into the road, their safety is immediately compromised.

“London’s streets are challenging enough, so this move is extremely encouraging for our clients’ safety.”

Of the 2,142 obstructions reported by TfL’s road traffic enforcement officers since the operation began, 85% of businesses made the changes required, with just 1% (17 businesses) prosecuted for wilfully obstructing a highway.

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.

Picture: via London TravelWatch.


08 May 2017