Fears as junction set to reopen

Photo Emma Mitchell 31.10.16
Shared space, Kirkintilloch

Photo Emma Mitchell 31.10.16 Shared space, Kirkintilloch

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Residents have been expressing concern ahead of the 
reopening of a busy junction in Kirkintilloch following the removal of traffic lights.

All four arms of the Catherine St/Kerr St junction at Cowgate are on schedule to reopen on Sunday, November 27 - the day after the Christmas lights switch-on at the Regent 
Centre in the town.

The council’s decision has been heavily criticised by Strathkelvin MSP Rona Mackay who has slammed it as “irresponsible”.

The Scottish Government’s Transport Minister Humza Yousaf is to contact East Dunbartonshire Council over safety and equality concerns.

Disabled campaigner Sandy Taylor, who is blind, has been joined by thousands of local people protesting against the controversial shared space project.

People are particularly concerned for the safety of disabled people, including blind and visually impaired people, the elderly and children.

However, according to council leader Rhondda Geekie, an “independent appraisal” by charity Living Streets Scotland described the design proposals as “well thought out, with the needs of pedestrians a priority”.

Mr Taylor said this week: “In last week’s Herald the council leader stated that ‘the Kirkintilloch Masterplan was designed to meet demands for the town centre to be improved for shoppers, traders, residents and 
visitors’.

“Clearly they have failed to deliver on any of these objectives. Pedestrians in particular are being exposed to risk of injury on a daily basis. Councillor Geekie has failed to understand the statement, from the Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousef, that all schemes must be inclusive.

“This scheme in Kirkintilloch leaves hundreds of vulnerable people unable to access their town centre, therefore the council is in breach of its Public Sector Equality Duty.”

The Herald’s Facebook page has been inundated again this week with complaints from residents.

Therese Masterson posted: “I was in Kirkintilloch yesterday and it’s a nightmare for drivers never mind pedestrians, but it will take a fatal accident for anything to be done.”

Fiona Murray agreed: “This is now a dangerous junction for all. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.”

John O’Donnell posted: “Chaos. Wait till the other part of Cowgate opens, and the junction goes four ways.”