Monitoring traffic in Manta Rota

Dear Editor,

Recently I met a group of ladies who call themselves PAWS. They explained that this was the initials of their group ‘Pram and Wheelchair Safety’.

The group of about eight women, UK as well as Dutch citizens, have set up cameras and taken video and still photographs of the pavement areas in Manta Rota and two other coastal towns. They do this in response to the fact that the GNR and the Câmara totally ignore the blocking of all pavements with parked cars.

This makes it impossible for families with baby pushchairs and prams to use pavements and forces them onto the roads. Wheelchairs are even more put into danger as not only can they not use pavements but they cannot rejoin the footpaths as there are no ramps.

The action of PAWS is claimed to follow a series of incidents over the past few years where accidents have occurred, and the group states that it is their fear that someone will be killed. In the past few days, the group witnessed a mother and child in the road when a speeding car forced the mother to throw the child onto a gap between the cars, and the mother then fell injuring her face. The car driver sped off with the passengers shouting at the mother.

The group claim to have hundreds of photos of cars parked on pavements – over 400 in one day.

They also have many of GNR vehicles driving past without stopping. Their enquiries show that not a single ticket for the illicit parking has been issued and this at a time when the police seem anxious to issue fines. Imagine what a €50 fine would produce for those pavement parked cars.

One aspect the group have researched is the number of incidents of cars parked on pavements when the owners have their own garages and driveway parking. Of the 400 cars photographed, over half were not using their own private parking.

Then there were many where the house owners have illegally converted their garages into living space. The Câmara seem to have taken no action against the latter.

The group say that they are monitoring two other towns but declined to name them. They claim that speaking to the GNR on site has produced the response that with so many cars in the summer and drivers avoiding the beachside pay car parks, there is nothing they can do.

G. Williams

Manta Rota, V.N. de Cacela