I hope you are well.
The topic for todays blog is around street layouts.
Normally I get the train to work, however the other week I had to get the bus.
When getting off I was unaware that I was getting off onto a small area of pavement which divided the main road and a new cycle lane. This meant that when I stepped off there was only enough room for single file people to walk on. If you use a guide cane and do not know that there is a cycle lane a few feet in front of you, you are not safe.
The reason you are not safe is that the pavement you have to walk across does not have adequate tactile paving.
Tactile paving exists to tell a Blind or Visually Impaired Person that there is a a curb, a step, or any change in their surroundings coming up which they should be aware of.
Given that there is only tactile paving on the zebra crossing between the island of pavement and normal pavement, divided by a cycle lane, this is not safe at all.
See photo below of a crossing with a tactile paving then a cycle lane, then a small strip of pavement to get onto a bus. Notice in the photo the bus does not need to stop near the tactile paving.
Blind and Visually Impaired People have tried to raise concerns about these issues in the past and I wanted to write about my experience with this.
Whilst I understand cyclists need somewhere safe to access the roads this should not be at the expense of Disabled Peoples safety. I cannot begin to image how wheelchair users navigate this issue.
I love that we have more green alternative to travel by making cycling more accessible. It will allow more people to maybe feel like cycling is an alternative option for them. Meaning less cars on the road, meaning less pollution and greener city spaces.
It would be good to hear if you are Disabled and have had similar issues to the ones I have described above.
Please take a look at the following article which addresses concerns from RNIB regarding New Street designs to encourage more cycling and walking https://www.rnib.org.uk/more-cycling-and-walking-good-as-long-as-streets-are-accessible
Please take a look at Street Design Guidance from Guide Dogs https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/research/policy-and-guidance-for-businesses/street-design-guidance-for-local-authorities/