As you make changes to local infrastructure to encourage walking and cycling, it is as important as ever that accessibility is maintained for blind and partially sighted people.
Under the Public Sector Equality Duty you need to consider how people with protected characteristics may be affected by any temporary or permanent changes. Changes must not discriminate against blind and partially sighted people by, for example, placing them at a substantial disadvantage when accessing local amenities.
You should carry out an Equality Impact Assessment, consulting with disabled people in an accessible way, and considering steps to mitigate against any negative impacts or making alternative proposals. These quick points may help highlight likely areas of concern:
Are pedestrians always separated from vehicles – including bikes – by a detectable kerb (minimum 60mm upstand)? This also means extending the kerb where pavements are widened, avoiding the use of a delineator strip and not using shared space which is inaccessible for blind and partially sighted people.
Does each cycleway or road have signal controlled crossings to ensure that blind and partially sighted people are able to cross safely?
Do all new cycleways take space from the road, not the pavement?
Is any new signage placed in the road rather than the pavement to avoid obstacles?
Do any new cycle lanes affect access to bus stops and if so, what provisions have been put in place for accessible crossings to the bus stop from the pavement?
Do any changes made at transport hubs affect walking routes or access to buses, trains, trams etc? If so, how will support be provided for blind and partially sighted people to navigate the new layout, given that cones are not accessible and social distancing will make assistance more difficult?
Is access for disabled people travelling in cars or taxis maintained on any new pedestrianised routes?
Do the changes comply with existing guidance on accessibility e.g. Inclusive Mobility and guidance on the use of tactile paving surfaces?
How will you inform blind and partially sighted people who live in the local area of the proposed changes, liaising with local sight loss organisations and taking into account the accessibility of any notices, newspaper adverts or plans you publish.