Elderly and disabled support contested Westminster yellow line changes

Disabled and elderly people in Westminster have backed the council’s decision to turn almost 8,000 metres of single yellow lines into double yellows.

This week the council began converting a number of lines at junctions and drop-kerbs around 199 streets in Marylebone and the West End.

The decision has been criticised by parking campaigners and opposition councillors who claim that the council is reducing free parking spaces to raise extra money.

But older people’s champion David Hogarth says the move marks the culmination of years of campaigning by residents.

“The campaign for double yellow lines formed part of a petition that we handed to the council in May 2008 that had 600 signatures on it,” said the Westminster Older People’s Action chairman.

“Older people in wheelchairs or scooters arrive at a drop-kerb and they find that they can’t get off the pavement because frequently there are cars parked in the way.

“They have already done a pilot scheme in St John’s Wood which has been quite successful.

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“I haven’t seen a car blocking drop-kerbs around there, whereas before you saw them every evening and weekend.”

Disabled Motoring UK chairman Adrian Stokes also gave his endorsement to the initiative, saying that it would “greatly help people with mobility problems get around”.

The council says the changes will remove obstructions to help pedestrians cross the road and keep routes clear for emergency vehicles.

Westminster Labour leader Paul Dimoldenberg says the changes will see almost 1,200 parking spaces lost.

He claims the move is a “back door” way of introducing proposed parking charges which were delayed by a High Court judge.

But the council says that only 132 spaces – less than 10 per cent of the yellow lines being converted – will be lost as the rest are located within 10 metres of a junction and therefore it is against the Highway Code to park there.

Westminster parking boss Cllr Lee Rowley said: “We are keen to make Westminster a safer place for pedestrians and help drivers avoid parking where it may be unsafe or inconsiderate to others.”