Councils Urged To Implement Shared Space Recommendations

Sandy Taylor, Chairman. EDVIP has informed us of the outcome of the Shared Space Seminar held earlier this year and the efforts he has made to promote this issue at both a local and national level.

On December 3rd 2015, I presented my Petition PE1595 to the Scottish Parliament, this fell appropriately on the International Day for Disabled People. My Petition called for “A moratorium on all Shared Space Schemes in Scotland until safety and equality concerns had been addressed”. As a consequence of this Petition, Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousef MSP appeared before the committee, during questioning he committed to holding a Seminar to examine all aspects of Shared Space and to address the concerns expressed in my Petition. This Seminar was held in Edinburgh on 25th April 2017 and was attended by a range of delegates representing disabled persons organisations, Transport Scotland, local authorities, planners and street designers, as Petitioner I was also invited and was joined by my colleague Margaret Hutchison. The Seminar was arranged by Edinburgh’s Napier University in conjunction with Transport Scotland and was chaired by Professor Tom Rye.

On Friday 28th July 2017 The Shared Space Seminar 2017 Final Report was published, I have attached the full report for your interest, however here is a brief summary of the recommendations:

On the morning of the seminar (25 April 2017) a Parliamentary Select Committee Report was published calling for an immediate moratorium on Shared Space roads due to the impact on disabled and vulnerable people. It called for the retention of kerbs and controlled crossings, for all schemes to be audited and remedial work undertaken to ensure access for all. The Report also called for the underlying guidance to be withdrawn and re-written to ensure inclusive access for all.
Specifically, this Report concluded:
“The Government should not shy away from the debate on shared spaces and take leadership. In light of the evidence that such schemes are excluding disabled people from the areas in which they are used, urgent action is needed.”
“We recommend that the Government requires local authorities to call a halt to the use of shared space schemes pending clear, national guidance that explicitly addresses the needs of disabled people. This should, in particular, instruct local authorities that controlled crossings, and regular height kerbs are to be retained and that they should undertake an urgent review of existing schemes, working with disabled people in their area to identify the changes that are necessary and practicable.”
“We recommend that the Scottish Government takes a clear lead and urgently updates the Designing Streets guidance on shared spaces with new guidance, founded on an inclusive design approach to ensure that any resultant schemes are inclusive, navigable and welcoming for disabled people. This guidance should:

– Be developed with disabled people;

– Explicitly address the needs of all disabled people, including but not limited to people who are blind and partially sighted, people who have ambulant mobility difficulties and people with a neuro-diverse condition or learning disability;

– Lay down consistent national standards so that disabled people can navigate, learn and independently use such schemes anywhere in the country.

– Be clear that safety and usability requirements, such as controlled crossings and kerbs are not optional;

– Provide details on how the requirements of the public sector equality duty and the duty to make reasonable adjustments apply to the design and implementation of such schemes.

Many people who have not visited Kirkintilloch or have never encountered a Shared Space Scheme, may be unfamiliar with the concept and the reality.

This is a link to a you tube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=Zcm0iWOKSI8&a=&app=desktop

It was published on the 2nd August 2017 and is called – One woman’s problems amidst the Preston traffic. Ironically it was this scheme in Preston which was praised by East Dunbartonshire Council on 30th April 2015 prior to the vote to install a similar scheme in Kirkintilloch.

The Seminar Report brings clarity and a common sense approach to a problem which has blighted the lives of many people in the country, however there is still much to achieve, particularly with regard to visually impaired, disabled and elderly pedestrians having to cross cycle lanes in order to get to and from bus stops. This is obviously a barrier to accessing public transport for many people, however this is the situation facing pedestrians in Bearsden, Milngavie and elsewhere. Many thousands of people in Glasgow will be similarly affected if current proposals go ahead, this is clearly unacceptable and must be urgently addressed.

This Seminar Report is a significant breakthrough and hopefully a turning point in our fight against Shared Space schemes throughout the country. We are grateful to the Women and Equality Committee for laying the foundation for this Seminar outcome. I will be writing to the Scottish Transport Minister asking him to urgently adopt the recommendations in this report and call an immediate halt to any scheme currently under construction or consideration by any Local Authority.

This outcome has been achieved with the help and determination of many people, the Petition with over 3500 signatures, was compiled by friends and colleagues of East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired Peoples Forum (EDVIP), who accompanied me to the Scottish Parliament to lodge the Petition. I have been supported throughout this campaign by the overwhelming majority of people in the local community. Through the Parliamentary Petitions Committee and this report, their voices have at last been heard. This ruling sends a clear message to Councils, Sustrans, Living Streets and other organisations that discrimination and exclusion is unacceptable and the rights of the disabled must be upheld and respected.

I now call on Councils throughout Scotland to implement the measures highlighted in this report. The people of Kirkintilloch demand that Councillors of all parties in East Dunbartonshire Council, abandon their current political posturing and points scoring, in order that they can work together to transform Kirkintilloch town centre, from the horrendous shambles left by Sustrans and the previous Council administration, into a safe, accessible, vibrant and commercially viable town centre once again.

Sandy Taylor

Chairman. EDVIP

 

Please email Sandy if you wish a copy of the report.
sandytaylor901@gmail.com

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