ONLY two out of the 12 disabled spaces in Portadown town centre have been commissioned by the Department of Regional Development (DRD), meaning that disabled drivers can currently only be guaranteed two dedicated spaces.
The discrepancy was highlighted last week by disabled pensioner Lorraine Richardson who was unable to park in a bay in Church Street due to an able-bodied driver parking there - completely within the law.
The DRD confirmed that the legislation was “in progress” and should be completed in three months’ time.
However, it was only this week that the Portadown Times obtained the number of ‘unlegislated’ spaces involved.
A spokesperson for DRD Roads Service confirmed on Wednesday that nine bays, created during the Public Realm scheme three years ago, were still to be legislated, and that this would be completed shortly.
They are located at Bridge Street (3), High Street (2), William Street (2), Church Street (1) and Market Street (1).
A further bay in Woodhouse Street, which was moved slightly during the Public Realm works, also needs to have its legislation “updated”.
The two original bays in Market Street meet the required legislation, making them the only street spaces legally available to disabled drivers only.
The DRD spokesperson pointed out that disabled parking bays are also located in a number of town centre car parks - West Street (5), William Street (3), Magowan Buildings (12), Fairgreen (6), Wilson Street One (4), Wilson Street Two (11) and Meadow Lane East (7).
He added, “Disabled parking bays are there to assist people who have problems with their mobility, and can only be used by people who hold a Blue Badge. Blue Badge holders may also park for as long as is necessary on limited waiting and on single or double yellow lines, for up to three hours except where there is a ban on loading/unloading, within 15m of a junction or where parking may cause an obstruction/road safety issue.”
Alderman Stephen Moutray said they would encourage the Roads Service to “deal with this as quickly as possible”.
He said, “We are aware that this legislation will take some time to go through, but hopefully it will be sorted out before Christmas.
“We would ask that people adhere to the moral obligations and make sure that these spaces are free for disabled people for use. That was the intention.”
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