Anger over shocking pictures of cars parked on pavements and cycle lanes outside Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
Residents were furious over the shocking parking at Sophia Gardens last weekend as drivers parked cars on pavements and cycle lanes.
The park in Cardiff is home to one of the many new cycleways across the city, however the several cars parked outside Sport Wales blocked access for pedestrians and cyclists.
The Welsh Amateur Boxing Association held a large boxing event at Sport Wales last weekend, believed to be the event the drivers were attending.
Similar issues have been raised on cycle lanes elsewhere in the city including on Lloyd George Avenue in Butetown and Castle Street.
Cycle lanes in Cardiff have rapidly expanded over the past few years, with miles more lanes planned. But campaigners have said they’re “not much use” if drivers are allowed to park on them without enforcement action taking place.
Responding to the images of drivers parked outside Sport Wales in Sophia Gardens, Cardiff Cycle City tweeted: “Building new cycleways is great, but they’re not much use if they’re full of parked cars. How is this acceptable?”
The council said enforcement officers will focus on the areas in the coming weeks and urged any residents concerned about illegal parking to report it.
Councillor Caro Wild, cabinet member for strategic planning and transport, said: “This really is incredibly selfish and counterproductive behaviour. I would ask people to consider the implications of their actions on other people. Blocking cycleways and pavements puts people in danger as it forces them onto the road with cars and large vehicles. These people include those with mobility issues, with babies in buggies and with young children on bikes.
“If people do not feel safe to walk and cycle they will be more likely to use cars, adding to congestion and parking pressures, as well as the environmental impacts. Enforcement officers have been told to focus on these areas over the coming weeks.
“If residents do have concerns about any illegal parking in specific areas of the city, please report it to the council by calling 02920 872 087, select option five and then option four.
“It’s really important that members of the public report issues to us like this as soon as they’re spotted, because unfortunately under the current legal framework, we are unable to enforce retrospectively using photos submitted by the public.”
Sport Wales said it was discussing with the council about how to “learn from the events”.
A spokesperson for Sport Wales said: “We were extremely disappointed and frustrated by the actions of some car users visiting the centre over the weekend. While car parking is limited, pedestrian access and cycleways should never be blocked.
“We are now in contact with our local partners, including Cardiff council who own the land at the front of the building, to discuss how we can learn from events at the weekend. While it is a minority of the thousands of people who use our centre weekly, we urge everyone to be considerate of those who live in the area as well as those who access Sophia Gardens.”
Elsewhere, new ‘pop-up cycleways’ under construction on Newport Road and Tyndall Street have both been delayed, due to issues with supply chains, but should open soon according to Cllr Wild.
A new segregated cycle lane is almost complete on Wood Street, and construction on a major £6 million scheme on Cathays Terrace has just begun.
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