Radical proposals to transform the area around Sauchiehall Street risk barring blind and partially sighted people from the centre of Glasgow, the country’s leading sight loss charity is warning.
Glasgow City Council has approved plans to renovate the city’s landmark thoroughfare. But RNIB Scotland is challenging a proposal to locate a busy cycleway between the pavement and bus-stops, calling it ‘an accident waiting to happen’.
It is staging a small-scale mock-up of the situation in George Square today, inviting the city’s councillors themselves to try to avoid oncoming cyclists while wearing special spectacles that simulate different sight loss conditions.
Catriona Burness, campaigns manager with RNIB Scotland, said: “While we welcome moves to upgrade Sauchiehall Street, we remain very concerned about this particular aspect of the proposal.
“People with a visual impairment aren’t going to feel safe traversing a busy cycleway, while cyclists may also be endangered if they don’t realise a pedestrian stepping out in front of them who can’t see them. It’s an accident waiting to happen.
“RNIB Scotland is calling on Glasgow City Council to either move the cycleway to the south-side of the street, so that pedestrians aren’t forced to cross it to get to a bus, or ensure there is a more distinct separation between the cycleway and the footpath, not the 400mm of ‘corrugated’ paving proposed. We’d also like audio-crossing signals to be positioned along the street.
“Rather than creating a ‘no go’ area for blind people, the regeneration of the Sauchiehall Street area should be consistent with the needs of all street users.”