City improvements “not safe” for blind and disabled people

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Glasgow council should rethink avenues' project disabled access 

16th April 2019 by Robert Armour 2 Comments

Development of Glasgow thoroughfares into pedestrianised avenues won’t help accessibility for blind or disabled people.

Concerns have been raised by members of the National Federation of the Blind of the UK (NFBUK) as well as Labour councillor Robert Mooney that the £115m project is not safe for people with disabilities.

Problems with kerb height means guide dogs may not recognise the difference between paths and cycle lanes.

The height of a kerb needs to be at least 60mm which guide dogs recognise, but the distance between the new cycle lane and walkway in Sauchiehall Street is only 20mm.

Sandy Taylor of the NFBUK warned: “When this project is complete, we will not be able to walk along Sauchiehall Street as it is too dangerous. I am told the Avenue’s Project on Sauchiehall Street is lovely but it is totally impractical. It is a no-go area for the disabled, blind and people with a pushchair.”

Many have made their fears known in the public consultation on the project which was held last week.

A council spokesman said: “We consulted with a wide range of disability and mobility organisations about the design for Sauchiehall Avenue and the consensus view was that the approach taken was the best solution to meeting the needs of as many groups as possible.”

However councillor Robert Mooney, who himself is blind, said he has raised many concerns about the project but have been told that Glasgow is excellent at providing access for people with disabilities.

“Guide dogs don’t have any traffic sense. That’s why we need the controlled crossing to help us,” he said.

“We need controlled crossings to help us navigate the streets safely. If they are not included in the Avenue we won’t be able to go to those parts of Glasgow. Blind people will become isolated.

“This is about the safety of the general public. I do believe there should be more cycle lanes but they need to be made properly.”

17th April 2019 by Katrina Michie

If bicycles are permitted to be ridden in the area it is not pedestrianised it is, at best, shared use. These shared spaces might look nice and be great for members of the public with no mobility or sensory loss however for those who do live with disability or sensory impairment they are extremely difficult to navigate. As mentioned above guide dogs are trained to the kerb and become confused and agitated when they are in areas such as this often guiding their blind person into the walls of buildings in their effort to keep them out of harms way, people from the deaf community can't hear cycles approaching from behind and can walk across their path causing the cyclist to swerve or to crash into them, long cane users need a kerb to tap their cane against in order to ensure that they remain in the footpath. There are many reasons why shared spaces are not suitable for people with a number of disabilities, anxiety problems, sensory impairment etc. Pedestrianisation is one thing but shared spaces are quite another. It is not OK for city centre planners and local authorities to disadvantage people with protected characteristics for the latest shiny fad.

19th April 2019 by Sheila Adam

Basic human right is to be able to walk safe from obstructions that are not safe as they cannot be seen by the person who is visually impaired or recognised by there support dog