by rykdownes on 26 February, 2015
Recently a couple of residents have asked me to look into providing more spaces for disabled drivers on Kirkgate. This is the response I have received from the LCC Access and Mobility Officer.
“The recent changes to the parking restrictions in Otley town centre meant that two disabled parking bays from the market end of Kirkgate were removed and repositioned to their current location, south side of the pedestrian crossing. As the market traders took the space of the two disabled parking bays 3 x days per week, by moving the disabled bays to their current location, this offered disabled residents an opportunity to park 24/7, and enabled better access to the popular on- street market on Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately it was not possible to find a location which was closer to the Market Square and, at the same time, unaffected by parking restrictions operating to enable traders to set out, operate and disassemble the stalls (effectively Thursday evening to Saturday evening).
We have received some feedback from disabled motorists who do not necessarily like the new location of the bays because they now have to park their vehicles further away from the shops they regularly visit. Changes like these are almost certain to generate some negative comments as we are never going to be able to accommodate everybody’s preferences. However, we felt by locating the bays in their current position will not only offer 24/7 availability, but by being positioned near to the crossing this will conveniently assist disabled people in gaining access to both side of Kirkgate, with popular shops such as the arcade, Yorkshire Trader, cafes, Boots Chemist etc, and close to where Mercury Row leads to the New Market and businesses locate there; potentially opening up new access opportunities. At the other end of the Market Square, the lay-by dedicated to disabled parking on Boroughgate may give better access to businesses on Market Street and the lower end of Kirkgate.
Parking in the town centre of Otley is very restricted (especially so on market days) and for the largely pedestrianized central area to operate effectively while at the same time enabling access and deliveries to numerous local businesses there needs to be a balance of use of kerbside space, including for loading and short-stay parking. By placing disabled parking spaces on Kirkgate, Boroughgate and Manor Square we tried to make them as convenient as possible for disabled and older people to use, and to reduce walking distance to as many shops and businesses as possible, whilst at the same time offering better access in the town centre on market days. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that we will be able to dedicate more on-street parking spaces to Blue Badge holders given the constraints on availability.”
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