Boris Johnson is being urged to step in and call a complete halt to shared space road design across the UK.
The National Federation of the Blind UK (NFBUK) says shared space schemes – where features such as kerbs, road surface markings and designated crossing places are removed – continue to adversely affect many blind, partially sighted, disabled and vulnerable pedestrians.
The charity has long campaigned against the schemes, which are intended to create a safer road environment – based on the theory that drivers will reduce their speed because of uncertainty over who has priority.
On 7 January, NFBUK re-submitted a petition to 10 Downing Street – calling on Boris Johnson to take action against local authorities who are in ‘complete denial of the severity of the problems created by shared space’.
The petition, first submitted in July 2019, calls for ‘a world where blind, deaf-blind, visually impaired, disabled, young and older people, and people with mobility and cognitive impairments, do not have to share space with moving vehicles on the road’.
Andrew Hodgson, president of the NFBUK, said: “We do not want to share space with moving vehicles on the road and with cyclists on the pavement or when trying to get on and off the bus.
“We simply want our pavements back, our green man pedestrian crossings back and we want direct access to public transport back. We want to be able to walk in safety and we want to reclaim our pavements.
“This should be a given and it still amazes me that we have to campaign so hard to keep our pavements safe and to ensure we can simply get on or off a bus in safety.”
The Government has previously acknowledged the issues caused by shared space schemes.
In July 2018, the Government told local authorities to pause the development of shared space schemes while it reviews and updates its guidance – before relaxing this advice the following month.