AYV noticed that traders especially around the East End Police area are in the habit of using the footpaths to display their wares which is causing discomfort for pedestrians and exposing them to accidents.
However, according to these traders the footpaths are very small compared to the number of people using them. They maintained that as a result, the footpaths become overcrowded and the crowds do not allow for their commodities to be displayed and this makes it impossible for customers to see and purchase their goods. At times, these crowds even damage their commodities and this; they complained is a loss to their businesses.
A trader at East End Police said: “These footpaths are disadvantageous to our business. Because of the crowds, potential customers cannot see our commodities and we have nowhere else to go because the government has not provided any market space for us to do our businesses and we do not want to go back to the streets to prostitute and steal.”
These traders are calling on government to provide a market space for them to carry out their businesses if they want them off the streets so that the footpaths could be used for the intended purpose by pedestrians.
Another concern raised by some people that spoke with AYV is the issue concerning slabs on the footpath that are loose, broken or damaged. The condition of the slabs is very dangerous for especially elderly people and school children as there is the tendency for slabs to cause injury or serious accident. It is for this reason that most pedestrians prefer to walk on the street rather than risk getting injured by loose and damaged slabs.
A photographer at Universal Studio at Kissy Road in Freetown told AYV that these slabs are more dangerous during the Rainy Season because they have holes between and when it rains, these holes are covered by water and it becomes difficult for people to identify the holes, which sometimes lead to accidents.
He added that currently, he and his companions place sticks in the holes to serve as a warning for people not to fall or step onto slabs that are loose or damaged.