Wednesday, April 28, 2010

making our streets active and accessible

report from the roundtable – 27th Apr

At this week's council meeting we had to consider the Streets and Roadside Trading Policy. The Policy provides a framework to balance the need to provide access to pedestrians whilst allowing traders to use footpaths for commercial purposes. It is informed by the federal Disability Discrimination Act.

Over the past few years we have seen a tremendous change in the way footpaths are used and that is generally for the better of our townships. It is terrific to see el fresco dining, streetside trading all adding to our streetscape and creating engaged, lively and vibrant streets. However this activity needs to ensure that people can walk the footpaths without tripping hazards and we need to make it easy for those with mobility challenges, whether that be a parent with a pram, someone who is vision impaired or someone with a zimmerframe.

I thought it was important to amend the motion put to council to reassure local traders that council will be working with them to continue to encourage active, vibrant and safe streetscapes. I included as point of the motion: 3. That Council work with local traders to ensure that ongoing active and safe streetscapes continue to be encouraged.

The Policy gives us the option to deal with those traders who continue to place 4 or 5 A boards on the footpath in front of their shop which only contributes unsightly clutter to our streetscapes. However this policy is not about coming down on traders with a big stick, it's about ensuring there's plenty of room for all on our footpaths.

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