Hazards and disability in city's shared space

I was interested to read your article, Road cuts '˜will put lives at risk' (LP October 24).

I note LCC plan to cover only ‘safety critical’ markings and signs in the budget. I also noted that these may include junction give way and stop lines, and formal pedestrian crossing points.

However, if one mentions the words ‘shared space’, all of these ‘safety critical’ items are thrown out of the window.

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Instead we have junctions simply marked with grey blocks. Instead of give way and stop lines, we have yet more grey blocks and a slightly dropped kerb to denote ‘formal’ pedestrian crossings. Not a lick of white paint in sight. Wow, what a saving that is going to make!

It is probable 90 per cent of drivers think pedestrians must give way to them on these shared spaces but, equally, about 90 per cent of pedestrians think the motorist has to give way to them.

These percentages are probably about the only shared commonality regarding the concept of shared space.

As for blind and partially sighted people, LCC appears to have made it clear that these people don’t fit in with all inclusivity, so they just ignore these less fortunate members of our society.

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Don’t believe me, councillors? Well, just sit on one of the benches along Fishergate for a while and spot the blind person.

I’ve used this space frequently and have yet to see one. Now, short of dragging my neighbour Bob, who is blind, into town with me and then leaving him to fend for himself, I doubt if I ever will see a blind person on their own in Fishergate.

I wouldn’t be that cruel, but it seems it is okay for councillors who decided on this shared space to be cruel to those who are blind or partially-sighted.

Try this one while you are in Fishergate. Blindfold yourself and then try crossing the road.

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It would be a leap of faith but for the kerbs being so small and hardly distinguishable from the road or footpath.

Oh, and have your apologies ready for all those customers whom you bump into while they frequent the many pavement coffee bars.

Instead of employing traffic marshals around Christmas, why not employ some to accompany blind people around this shared space?

Neil Swindlehurst

Walmer Bridge

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