I have been so angry during the last two weeks, about the state of our pavements. It started snowing and being wintry on the Saturday, I think that was the 19th of December. Eventually the main roads were gritted but the side roads remained shockingly dangerous until the weather warmed up and the rain moved in, to clear them, on the 29th December. So the roads were not safe, what of the pavements?
They were shockingly bad too. On 23rd December I was standing on Prescot Road, Fairfield, when I saw an old lady fall over on the opposite pavement and hurt herself on the ice. Thankfully she was helped to her feet by two people walking behind her. I couldn't get over to her myself because the pavements on my side were so bad, that by the time I crossed she had moved off.
I left there to go over to Allerton Road to the bank, where I spotted an ambulance, pulled up to the kerb, attending to someone else who had fallen over. I discussed this on the phone with a resident from Fairfield Crescent who called me to say that her neighbours and she were trapped in their homes, unable to leave on foot or in the car because of a gritting failure, one had a broken bone. When I mentioned it to Natalie on Christmas morning (in a service at St Philips on Molyneux Road), she told me of two of her neighbours who had fallen and broken bones. I mentioned it to another friend who told me that his Gran has two broken ankles from falling on the ice. On 28th, when Dylan attempted a walk with his father, he fell over twice in 100 yards.
I phoned Enterprise on Monday morning, 21st, asking them if they could come and sort out the pavements on Kensington and Prescot Road and received a call back to say they don't do pavements. There is no vehicular equipment available that would do this apparently, and there is not the manpower (personpower?)to get out there with a shovel and some salt. And it does not happen often enough for anyone to have gotten to grips with it properly before.
This is clearly not a problem confined to Liverpool either, I dont think any pavements have been cleared by any authorities.
I am told that in some countries it is a requirement that shop keepers/householders clear their own little bit. That would help, although we would have to have some form of assistance for the elderly and infirm. Unfortunately there are still a lot of empty and boarded up shops, particularly in Fairfield (which Kensington Regeneration never bothered with, so the place has a real West/East divide now to add to the North/South one), so I don't know who would clear their pavements.
This is an A road, a main road through our area, I know we dont have many shops (yet) but it remains important to local people who need to get to one of our Post Offices etc. They need to be able to walk in safety, I am appalled, genuinely horrified at the scale and size of injuries and casualties over the last 2 weeks, we cannot go through that again. We need some thoughtful suggestions about how we can put this right next time, whether we recruit community volunteers, encourage or enforce shop keepers to take action, or some other plan. But what we cannot do is find it perfectly acceptable for people to be hurt, with lasting serious impacts, just by stepping outside.