Tackle footpath obstruction in private estates

Having an elderly mother who likes to venture out of our house, I am glad to know that more safety zones for pedestrians will be introduced ("More road safety zones for the elderly"; Aug 13).

However, I feel sad that the issue of blocked footpaths in private housing estates has not been properly addressed.

Many such public spaces have been "privatised" by residents, who put objects like huge flower pots, erect fences or walls, or park their cars inconsiderately.

To make matters worse, some residents place their garbage and recycling bins at the front of their houses, aggravating the obstruction woes.

Such obstacles make the footpaths unsafe or impassable for pedestrians, especially children and the elderly in wheelchairs. My mother can never walk safely to visit her neighbours just a few doors away.

Feedback to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on footpath obstruction often draws the standard reply that enforcement will be carried out whenever there is a complaint.

As most residents do not want to become the "bad guy", few people have complained so far. Elderly residents such as my mother continue to suffer the inconvenience of living in silence in an unsafe environment.

Two years ago, in collaboration with our MP, the citizens consultative committee and the neighbourhood committee, the LTA embarked on an educational campaign in our estate, with the use of banners, posters and fliers, and subsequently carried out a house-to-house sweep, with the issuance of advisories to offenders.

However, with no follow-up action, most of the "reclaimed" space after the sweep was "reconquered" barely weeks later.

I can understand the difficulties the LTA faces in carrying out enforcement. Many residents who claim possession of the footpaths have been enjoying the privilege for years without encountering any issue, and naturally feel that they have the right of ownership.

But being tolerant and kind towards the minority who break the law is unfair and unkind to the vast majority of residents who are victimised.

Chang Nam Yuen