Spaces for People has made Edinburgh ‘less accessible’ for the blind, claims charity

Spaces for People measures outside St James Quarter has left Edinburgh inaccessible to the blind and partially sighted, claims a leading sightloss charity.

By Shona Elliott
Friday, 24th December 2021, 3:22 pm

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One of Scotland’s most prominent charity for the visually impaired, Sight Scotland, said Spaces for People has caused significant problems and made the city centre less accessible.

Concerns have been raised about pedestrian layout, with the distinction between the cycle path, road and pavement being confusing for someone with sight loss and potentially very dangerous for them to navigate.

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Concerns have been raised about pedestrian layout at St James Quarter.

A spokesperson from Sight Scotland said: “We understand the good intentions behind the Spaces for People initiative but we are concerned about the significant problems it has created for blind and partially sighted people.

“This has made the centre of Edinburgh less accessible for people with sight loss.”

“New layouts for pedestrian areas, including the introduction of new cycle lanes and changes to access for bus stops has made it more difficult for a blind or partially sighted person to navigate their journey safely.

“The increase of on-street dining has also created additional street clutter, adding further challenges when getting out and about.

The charity went on to say that there has not been enough consultation with visually impaired people during the planning stage of this project which has led to problems.

The spokesperson said: “We’re concerned there hasn’t been enough consultation with visually impaired people on Spaces for People measures and that these are in fact making spaces less accessible for those with sight loss and other disabilities.”

Edinburgh MSP demands rethink of Spaces for People measures outside St James Quarter

In light of these issues Lothian MSP, Miles Briggs, has called on Edinburgh Council to review the current pedestrian layout outside the St James Quarter, up from Picardy Place.

Mr Briggs, said: “The Spaces for People measures put into place by Edinburgh Council have been badly thought through and this is yet another example of this.

“Cycle lanes beside traffic lights in the middle of a pavement are incredibly confusing and a real safety hazard for blind and partially sighted people.

“We must see a rethink on the pedestrian layout outside the St James Quarter to make it safer for blind and partially sighted people.”

Edinburgh City Council have been contacted for comment.

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