Plans for a controversial town centre shared space scheme are pressing ahead – despite major opposition from local people.
East Dunbartonshire Council has organised a series of drop-in sessions in November to inform the public on the timescales of the work to be carried out on Cowgate, which includes the busy Catherine Street junction. This is likely to begin in January next year.
Disabled groups are against the plans which include removing traffic lights and safety barriers along the length of Cowgate.
They say the shared space project is discriminatory and will effectively “exclude many vulnerable people from the town centre.”
But Council Leader Rhondda Geekie said research had shown making places better for walking can “boost footfall and trading by up to 40 per cent.”
She added: “Now that plans have been finalised for Cowgate, we can show people exactly what is going to be taking place and where – as well as the timescales and possible implications as work is carried out.
“There will be some short-term pain for businesses but this will be more than balanced out by the long-term gain as we make the innovative plans for the town centre a reality.”
But Sandy Taylor of East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired People’s Forum, who has been leading the campaign against the project said: “There will be no controlled crossings in place to allow blind, visually impaired people, people with other disabilities and the elderly to cross the High Street safely. Stepping into the street, for us, is effectively like playing Russian Roulette.
“Our forum has campaigned against these plans and handed over a petition to the council with 3500 signatures from local residents. We have also forwarded a dossier of accidents, including fatalities, at similar schemes.
“Despite this, the council has ignored public opinion and insists on bulldozing through this ridiculous scheme.”