The Evening Standard today report the reaction of blind campaigners to Exhibition Road
A radical re-design of Exhibition Road was today criticised as "dangerous" and "alienating" by blind campaigners reports Mark Blunden.....
|A Dangerous and Alienating Road-not fit for purpose|
Kensington and Chelsea council undertook the project because it considered the old layout to be "unfriendly" for the 11 million annual visitors.
But the new flattened surface, where there is little difference between kerb and road, has left the three-quarters-of-a-mile length of Exhibition Road a virtual no-go zone for blind visitors, said campaigners.
The council hope a series of criss-crossing X patterns on the 20mph road will encourage motorists to drive with greater awareness of pedestrians.
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association wants crossings installed, with cab drivers and residents' groups also calling for improvements.
The Standard joined two blind Londoners, Dave Kent and Rachel Mentiply, to witness their experiences crossing Exhibition Road with their guide dogs, Quince and Samson.
Ms Mentiply, 30, a partially-sighted administrator from Greenwich, said there was no kerb for Samson to stop at and alert her to the danger. She said: "The first time I came it was quite scary and I very nearly got hit. Because there was no kerb, Samson carried on going and because I'm partially deaf I didn't hear the traffic."
Without the kerbs, the only indication for blind people are ridges in the pavement, instead of the usual "blistered" bobbles.
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association was consulted over the scheme after taking the council to judicial review, but says the council's concessions did not go far enough.
Mr Kent, 52, from Hammersmith, an officer for the charity, said: "There's no indication that we've left the pavement."
A council spokesman said: "The scheme has been meticulously assessed throughout the design stages and we are now monitoring the road to see how it is used in practice."
Instead of allowing officers to bear the brunt of criticism why do not the instigators of this mad 'folly', Daniel Moylan and Pooter Cockell take the flak. Another £30 millions running into the gutter!