As a mummy I must admit, trying to maneuver my babies in their strollers on Malta’s pavements has not been easy; In fact it made me realise that it’s not until you really need proper access on pavements that you realise the issues people using wheelchairs and strollers face. As part of trying to raise awareness on the issue we have listed what in our opinion are the top 10 uses of pavements in Malta, and no, they do not include walking :-/
1. Parking your car. Yes, here in Malta, our pavements have the exclusive feature of doubling as parking spaces. Great use of space.
2. Growing trees. This is a mystery. So we are fine with obliterating all our precious ‘unspoiled’ land to erect ‘economy bolstering’ buildings. But trees on pavements, some, which actually take over the whole pavement, we must leave intact; trees which you literally have to get off the pavement, and walk on the road, possibly risking you and your kids’ life in the process, to make way for.
3. Outdoor dining. Here in Malta we seem to love having dinner ‘al fresco’, with restaurant tables and chairs set on pavements, where the fumes of the cars passing by, combined with the lovely scent of our food make for a unique ‘smoky’ experience. Yumm.
4. Selling stuff. Oh yes. Do you own a grocer? A toy shop? A fruit stall? Not enough space in your shop? Go ahead, use our pavement. We don’t mind, even when it means us having to, yet again step onto the road to make way for your sales display.
5. Construction. Works done on buildings usually mean that the pavement area adjacent to that building is taken over. This wouldn’t be so bad if works were finished at a swift pace in Malta or if it was a rare sight however unfortunately for us ‘pavement seekers’, this is a very frequent occurrence here in Malta.
6. Bumps and potholes. Okay, so there are some pavements which actually are free from all the above, yet, you will still see most people, especially people with strollers, walking on the road. Why? Because the jolts our stroller gets from all the pot-holes and uneven levels of the so-called pavements are enough to make any baby sick. And cleaning puke off our kids’ clothes and shoes is not our idea of a fun family outing.
7. Domestic waste storage. Is your rubbish bin at home full? Are you feeling sick with the smell of rotten food inside it? No worries, even if the rubbish truck is not due to visit before the next 24 hours, just chuck it outside, it will be picked up…. eventually, and best of all, it’s out of your way.
8. Driving. Yes, occasionally you will also get that moron who will actually drive. ON. THE. PAVEMENT.
9. Erecting signs or billboards. Of course if you want to get a message across, where better to communicate it than by placing a sign or billboard on the pavement? Don’t fret about those people whose access is now blocked, at least you are getting your message across and that is what’s most important!
10. Feast decorations. This is a classic. It’s the village feast, so let’s fill our pavements with beautifully decorated ornaments that make access totally impossible for people with wheelchairs or strollers.
This is a light-hearted post however the issue is a serious one; maybe, if enough people read and share this post, the authorities may start taking a closer look at the state of our pavements here in Malta because they are really and truly a slap in the face to people who require them most, including those using wheelchairs and strollers.
Do you agree with the above? Are there any more uses for pavements in Malta that you can think of? Feel free to comment below.
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