Let’s get a plan in place and sort out Kirkcaldy High St parking chaos

The busy scene in the High Street
The busy scene in the High Street

Agreement needed to sort out long-standing problem of cars & people mingling in pedestrianised zone

A call has been made for a strong traffic plan to be drawn up for Kirkcaldy to help solve some of the chaotic scenes witnessed in the town in recent weeks.

Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of the town’s area committee, and Inspector Alan Seath from Police Scotland, Kirkcaldy, have both stressed the only way to get the situation regarding the pedestrianised zone and surrounding area sorted out once and for all is for talks to take place between all the parties involved to devise a proper plan of action.

Emphasising that the problems encountered recently, particularly last Tuesday when a huge volume of traffic converged on the town centre, causing a build-up of vehicles which parked down both sides of the pedestrianised area and Tolbooth Street, were isolated incidents caused by the Christmas rush, Cllr Crooks said current Traffic Regulation Orders which are being drawn up to regulate access arrangements would not solve such incidents.

“The bottom line here is that we need, once and for all, to get this sorted by having a proper plan in place,” he said.

“It’s a matter of real concern that drivers in the town centre appear unaware of their responsibilities towards pedestrians.

‘‘Not only have delivery lorries regularly driven up Tolbooth Street towards the High Street against a one-way system, drivers also go too fast in the pedestrianized zone where extreme caution is required to avoid collisions. I tend to walk down the middle of the road in the pedestrianized zone so drivers are aware it’s an area where people walk and should slow down.

‘‘I have had drivers toot their horns at me and I’m sure I’m not alone in that, but this is a pedestrian zone where we allow traffic at certain times.

“I appreciate the support from the police and also recognise they can’t be in the town centre 24/7 for enforcement. I would urge the public to report vehicle registration numbers to the police where they witness speeding or vehicles travelling up Tolbooth Street the wrong way, or at times when the street should be vehicle-free.”

Inspector Seath said: “I had patrols down throughout Tuesday to do a survey. At 11.00 a.m. there were 47 vehicles on the High Street, four not displaying blue badges, and half an hour later there were 52, all with badges.

“There are no instructions regarding where they should park or designated parking spaces when in the zone. This results in chaotic parking anywhere on the High Street.

‘‘The police or Fife Council parking attendants cannot enforce parking offences when there are no specific parking directions or designated spaces. The only offences we can consider are obstruction offences and this does not apply as, although it is tight, there are no obstructions. I have written to the Council to say we need to get something sorted out to put proper plans in place.”

Cars on both sides shows the need for access ...

When last week’s High Street chaos story appeared in the Press, our Facebook page was inundated with dozens of comments.

The story re-ignited the long-running saga of whether or not any vehicles should be allowed in the pedestrianised zone, with strong arguments put forward for both sides.

Many people said they believed pedestrianised zones should be completely car free, while those with mobility difficulties urged some understanding for their plight, with many not able to walk the distance from nearby car parks.

Local disability campaigner Margaret Dumbrek said she had written to Fife Council.

“The fact that the blue badge cars are parking on both sides of the street indicates the need and also how much cash the disabled bring to retailers’ coffers,” she said.

“Perhaps if our request for another full weekday had been granted, it would have eased the situation.

“Tuesday is always busy with blue badge parking and very few cars break the rules and park on the wrong side. This is happening now simply because it is the run-up to Christmas and will be a fine excuse for unchivalrous able-bodied folk to rock the boat and to try to alter the status quo.”

Louise Williamson said on Facebook: “You really don’t understand some disabilities do you? It’s not all about shopping for luxuries.. Some of us struggle to get to the bank or opticians or pick up prescriptions as well as shopping!”

Rachel McGillvary said she had experienced the chaos: “I was down with my little boy in his pram and it was just sheer ignorance from the elderly with their cars. Someone blocked the whole way so the Royal Mail van couldn’t get down to where he needed to go!”

And Kelly Marie Ballantine added: “At least when the High Street had a road running through it, kids knew it was a road. Now it’s all a big path and young kids don’t know to watch for cars – it’s ridiculous. Stop all traffic down there before some little kid gets hurt.”

Traffic wardens target Milton Road

Traffic wardens descended on Milton Road and nearby residential roads this week in a bid to target parents parking illegally during the school run.

At Kirkcaldy West Primary, which is surrounded on all sides by residential streets, parking is a thorny and sometimes dangerous issue, confirmed headteacher Ewan Trousdale.

In a message to parents on Tuesday, he said: “Many thanks to those who have suported the school in keeping children safe by not parking or dropping off on the double yellow or zigzag lines surrounding the school.

“There has been a marked improvement,” he continued.

Mr Trousdale added: “Yesterday, traffic wardens were present and will continue to randomly visit the area to ensure the safety of all.”