Concerns footpaths in Auckland's Mount Albert unsafe for disabled, children and elderly

Source: 1News

A number of residents in the Auckland suburb of Mount Albert say Auckland Transport have failed to maintain their footpaths, making them unsafe for the disabled, children, and the elderly.

By Mildred Armah

Vikki Walton, a Mount Albert resident of 28 years, says the footpaths in the area are not wheelchair friendly.

“The footpaths in Mount Albert are unsafe because they undulate, so rather than being solid concrete, a majority of them have been patched over and over again.

“If you walked along Sainsbury road you would see. It's very easy to trip and if you are in a wheelchair or any wheeled vehicle, pushchair, it's really hard to navigate," says Walton.

She says an incident occurred three years ago where her mother fell out of her wheelchair due to the nature of the footpath.

“My sister was pushing her to take her to a café across New North Road, and when she went across the curb on to the road, it was the hump on the road where the road began which was too steep and she couldn't push the wheelchair across and ended up tipping mum out.

“Mum was physically disabled, so she fell on her face. that's not acceptable.”

Walton says, since that incident, that particular footpath has remained in a poor condition.

“One time a guy was on a scooter, and he was saying how bad it was. I was saying how it's always been that bad. I told him, take care and I suggest you walk on the other side.”

She says the only time she sees maintenance on the footpaths is when there is a large event that may draw foot traffic to the area.

“I know when the world cup was happening at Eden Park, a lot of housekeeping was done in the area, but it seems it was only in the traffic that the fan zone was utilising.”

She says she does not believe Auckland Transport has made fixing the footpaths in Mount Albert a priority at all.

“The footpaths are dangerous. They shouldn’t be. They should also be wheelchair safe which they are not.”

Christie Arnot, an occupant on Sainsbury Road and also Walton's neighbour says, the footpaths have gotten worse in the 30 years she’s lived in Mount Albert.

“The footpaths are very uneven. They have been patched up and down and tree roots protrude so you go from concrete to asphalt to a patch,” she says.

Arnot says Auckland Transport needs to work out a way to make the paths safer.

“Especially with a school across the road and kids and traffic. We've got a school and a kindergarten on our street.

“I'm getting older and it's not so easy to walk along here.”

Anja Gallas of Saint Luke’s Road ,who has lived in the area for 16 years, also says the footpaths are not wheelchair friendly.

“The footpaths are really unpleasant to be honest because there's so many holes and so many gaps and so many roots pushing the path up that it’s always a bit of a concern. Especially if you have physical ailments or you're in a wheelchair.

“I know two neighbors who are in wheelchairs and it's narrow for them and I've seen them sometimes in situations where they have to stop and navigate around certain breakages in the footpaths.”

She says the footpaths affected are mainly Saint Luke’s, Taylors, Sainsbury and New North Road.

Mark Hannan, Media Relations Manager for Auckland Transport says, “We are disturbed to hear that someone has had an accident on one of our footpaths.

“Auckland Transport will always prioritise footpath repairs where a safety concern is identified. In the coming financial year – we intend to renew 70km of footpaths.”

However, Hannan says, “Sainsbury Road is not scheduled for renewal.”

He says Aucklanders are encouraged to report footpath faults to AT through the call centre or via info@at.govt.nz