RNIB gives council officials in Bath a guided tour showing the challenges caused by changing streets

Post date: 
Thursday, 2 July 2020
Category: 
Campaigning
Inclusive journeys
Image shows four people socially distanced by standing in a square formation, on the left is Chris Major, at the front Joanna Wright, towards the back Louise Murphy and to the right Steve Hyde

Steve Hyde, RNIB Regional Campaigns Officer, showed local council representatives how people with sight loss are being affected by changing street layouts by taking them on a tour of Bath city centre this week.

Steve was joined by Councillor Joanna Wright, the Cabinet Member for Highways, Chris Major, the Head of Transport and Louise Murphy, Corporate Equalities Officer for Bath and North East Somerset Council. Their tour of the city centre is part of our campaign to ensure local authorities consider accessibility as they alter street layouts with social distancing in mind.

In Bath city centre, social distancing street changes include the closure of some roads to motorised vehicles and using barriers to extend pavements into the roadway.

On the walk Steve was able to show how actions like closing a road to motor vehicles but leaving it open to cyclists, or increasing the number of shared spaces – where pedestrians and vehicles use common areas - could create a lack of clarity on who has right of way. Clearly, some drivers were not aware they shouldn’t be driving their vehicles in restricted spaces.

Steve explained:

I am a cane user and the walk really helped to highlight the difficulties I face with these new street layouts and what needs to be done to make them accessible.

Councillor Joanna Wright said that in the future the council will consider how it can help improve accessibility.

Steve will be returning to Bath to see what progress has been made to ensure everyone can navigate safely.

If you want to make sure that changes in your area are accessible for all, why not use our simple online tool to write to your local councillor? It only takes five minutes and will help you find out what’s happening near you.

Take action and write to your councillor today