A disabled campaigner fighting against a controversial shared space scheme has blasted a council chief’s “out of touch” comments.
Sandy Taylor, who is blind, hit out after Thomas Glen, East Dunbartonshire Council’s director of development and regeneration, said it would be a “decision for individuals” whether or not they chose to use uncontrolled ‘courtesy’ crossings as part of the scheme planned for Kirkintilloch town centre.
Blind people complain they face being forced to make a half-mile detour to access both sides of Cowgate, because of the removal of traffic lights and controlled pedestrian crossings.
Mr Taylor, who has headed the campaign against the project, said: “The comments in the Herald on December 16 demonstrate just how much this council administration is out of touch with the people of Kirkintilloch.
“Mr Glen states the proposed uncontrolled courtesy crossings are designed to be used by anyone. He has obviously no conception of the anxiety and trepidation felt by many vulnerable pedestrians.
“These people, like members of East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired People’s Forum, would not be so irresponsible or stupid as to step on to a carriageway totally unaware of what traffic is approaching.
“Many others such as the disabled, the elderly and infirm, those with dementia and learning difficulties would not dare use these crossings and we view the whole idea as utterly preposterous.
“If this scheme is introduced in its present form, the council will be in breach of its Public Sector Equality Duty, as many will be excluded from their town centre
“My petition calling for a moratorium on all Shared Space Schemes goes before a committee at the Scottish Parliament in January 2016.”
In response, Mr Glen said the ‘courtesy’ crossings would feature tonal contrast and tactile materials and follow existing pedestrian movements.