Scottish council makes improvements to help people with sensory impairments

12.00 | 21 February 2014 |

South Lanarkshire Council has introduced a number of safer walking routes in East Kilbride to make it easier and safer for people with sensory impairments to get around the town.

The move follows a presentation by two organisations, Deafblind Scotland and Visibility, to South Lanarkshire Council’s Road Safety Forum, in which they highlighted the dangers everyday objects can pose to disabled people, particularly those who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted.

Following the presentation, the three organisations identified and assessed five journeys to and from key locations in East Kilbride. Among the obstacles and obstructions identified were cycle stands, A-frame notice boards, bollards and refuse bins. Other potential hazards included overhanging vegetation, footways in need of repair, large puddles and loose paving.

All of these issues have been addressed, creating a safer environment for everyone using the roads and footways involved.

Timings of signalised pedestrian crossings were also investigated to ensure they allowed adequate time to cross the road.

Tactile paving, the raised bumps in the pavement found at crossing points, were also introduced at several locations. Some were also removed where they were not needed.

Councillor Graham Simpson, chair of the Road Safety Forum, said: “The presentation by Deafblind Scotland and Visibility made everyone think of the difficulties faced by blind, deafblind or partially sighted people.

“Some of the problems were easily solved by simple maintenance or introducing road safety measures such as tactile paving.

“Others involved more complicated processes, such as investigating the timing of signalled pedestrian crossings or introducing dropped kerbs.

“We will ensure the findings are shared with the appropriate roads personnel, so they can take note of these matters when delivering new and routine maintenance and improvement projects.”

Ruth Dorman, chief executive of Deafblind Scotland, said: “It is extremely encouraging South Lanarkshire Council has taken steps to improve the accessibility of walking routes for those with visual and hearing impairments.

“Deafblind Scotland hopes other councils and organisations can follow suit and take into consideration the obstacles on walking routes which endanger lives.”


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