A well-known leading local campaigner, who is blind, has hit out at the new Lenzie street improvement scheme, branding it a “no-go area” for people with disabilities.
Sandy Taylor, who has been at the forefront of the campaign against the controversial shared space scheme at Kirkintilloch, says the latest street design has raised the same problems for disabled people, the elderly and those with visual impairments.
Lenzie Community Council last week welcomed the Lenzie Station Improvement Project, a joint project between Sustrans Scotland and East Dunbartonshire Council which has seen a range of enhancements in the car park and the cross area,
But Sandy, who is chair of East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired People’s Forum (EDVIP) and lives in Lenzie, said on Monday: “Just as in Kirkintilloch, Sustrans who were responsible for the concept design, have once again collaborated with the council to produce a ‘no-go’ area for the disabled, which prioritises aesthetics over accessibility.
“Members of the public, in particular the disabled, were not asked for their views on the completed works. The upgraded Puffin crossings are to be welcomed, however, this is the only positive measure from a blind or other disabled person’s perspective.
“The entrance from Kirkintilloch Road, where the road has been raised to the same height as the pavement, is it is claimed, to calm traffic. However, it creates a level surface shared space, as it is both a road and a pavement. There are no kerbs to let blind and visually impaired people know where the pavement ends and road begins.
“Kerbs are an important navigational aid to long cane users and Guide Dogs, who cannot recognise tactile paving. These level surface schemes have been halted in England as they were deemed contrary to Equality Act 2010. They discriminate against blind and disabled pedestrians.”
Sandy is challenging councillors, community councillors, members of Sustrans, or anyone who would like to “walk in my shoes”, to undertake a blindfold walk around the perimeter route.
He added: “Clearly all the information given to EDC planners and Sustrans by EDVIP, including a report by an access officer, who is a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, has been ignored.”
The council’s Executive Officer Roads & Environment, Thomas McMenamin said: “All information supplied to the council as part of consultation process was reviewed by the project team and the finished design meets all the relevant conditions associated with public realm improvements. However, we would be happy to meet with any member of the community to discuss any concerns they have.”