Post date: 
Monday, 2 October 2017
Shared space

RNIB's ambition is to make the world a better place for people living with sight loss. One key campaigns RNIB is focusing on relates to good urban street design and the concept of shared space.

Urban street design

Shared space or shared surfaces are relatively new concepts in urban street design. In these spaces, street signs, road markings and pavements are eliminated in favour of a space that is shared by pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. 

But many people do not realise that removing crossings, kerbs and tactile paving makes it difficult and dangerous for people with sight loss to walk around safely.

There is also a postcode lottery approach to policy and decision making by those responsible for the design of the street environment, which makes the situation even more complex and confusing for everybody. 

It is an important issue and we have been campaigning for everyone to be able to go out, to walk to the shops or to school without the risk of being run over. 

Joanna Toner is a campaigner in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. She won a long battle with her local council, reversing their decision to install low 3cm kerbs as part of a multimillion pound scheme in Lisburn city centre.

As a result of Joanna’s success, RNIB is writing to councils around the country that have lowered or removed kerbs in their shared space schemes to ask them to reconsider their decisions.

RNIB wants a national conversation about shared space. Find out what's happening in your area by contacting your regional campaigns officer at [email protected].

This article originally appeared in Connect magazine - Autumn 2017 edition.

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