Quotes from groups and individuals
Sheri Khayami, founder of the charity BlindArt “Having organized 'Sense and Sensuality', the world's most accessible art exhibition to date, at the Royal College of Art a few years ago I know how difficult visitors found it travelling up Exhibition Road.
This scheme, to create a single surface so everyone can equally safely cross between the museums, sounds like a dream for culture lovers of any physical ability.
BlindArt's philosophy is to make art fully accessible so we fully endorse Kensington and Chelsea council's plans to embrace this on Exhibition Road.”
Kathryn Bryan, Chairman of Phab London “The new Exhibition Road design serves a purpose for so many people, especially people like me who use a wheelchair. I battle every day with kerbs so a single surface would make it much easier for me, and other people with disabilities, to get around and enjoy the cultural institutions in the area.
I know many of the people that I represent who have disabilities, including those with visual impairments, are very excited by the scheme…."
Lorna Walker, CABE Commissioner “I know many people in the disabled community are excited by the prospect of being able to visit places with ease and confidence. However, I am aware that others have differing concerns that also need to be addressed… …But while they are not perfect, I believe these projects will have a positive effect for many disabled people.
Places should be designed to be as inclusive as possible, but we also need to remember that one size does not fit all, and compromises will have to be made. I am delighted that designers are beginning to address the issues of safe and inclusive streets.
Perhaps one day everyone will find our towns and cities easy to use.”
Norman Stenson, General Secretary, The Partially Sighted Society “Our concern was that the delineation should be colour detectable and contrast with the main surface. However, I understand that it will be detectable from and contrast with the main surface by the nature of the material and will have alongside a drainage gutter/channel in black.
The Society therefore, without knowledge of the full details of the specifications, supports in principle the shared surface project for Exhibition Road.”
Disability Intelligent “It soon became apparent that the Exhibition Road development has much to commend it, wide pavements, dedicated crossing points and a definite, gradual change from pavement to road all set this apart from the standard shared space, indeed this is a scheme which genuinely seems to have evolved from shared space into something more inclusive and something which can only improve with time, increased awareness and technological advancement.
It is essential that all disability groups work with the council by agreeing to participate in trials of delineators on site so that the most balanced and broad ranging survey can be done. This will enable the council to determine the best solution which works for the majority of users with special access needs.
It is in this spirit of co-operation and compromise that we can make not only Exhibition Road, but London as a whole, more inclusive as lasting legacy of 2012.”
Celia Kemsley, wheelchair user living in London “Wouldn't it be great if, as I was able to do as an able-bodied person, I could just cross to the other side of the road if I felt uncomfortable in some way, for instance getting caught up in a crowd, a lurching drunkard heading in my direction, a group of noisy young men, who might be harmless but who intimidate me, coming towards me, and so on.
I really want this to work for all users and send you my support.”
Kevin Davis, CEO of Centre for Accessible Environments “Having looked at this scheme and similar ones, we have come to the conclusion that the concept of shared space should be cautiously encouraged. Shared spaces have the potential to benefit a wide range of users by reducing traffic speeds, thus improving safety.
Shared surfaces, which may form part of a shared spaces scheme, present certain issues that must be carefully considered. We at CAE are confident that an innovative solution can be found that will help to ensure shared space environments are safe for all users”
Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive, Living Streets “The 'naked streets' approach to urban design has great potential for improving the pedestrian environment. Implementation can range from de-cluttering to the wholesale re-design of streets and public spaces. Moving away from the car-centric streets forced upon us by highway engineers over the past fifty years will take courage, collaboration, and patience.
Clearly its current design is not working from a safety perspective. We are confident that the plans for this internationally significant street will greatly civilise the environment: turning what is currently a cluttered, dangerous and unsightly experience for pedestrians into a safe, attractive and enjoyable street. Many similar schemes in both the UK and Europe show a dramatic increase in both safety and accessibility.
The pioneering work by RBKC is to be applauded, and we have been encouraged by their consultative approach to date.”
Kevin Clinton, Head of Road Safety at RoSPA "RoSPA believes that the concept of ‘Shared Space’, in which the highway environment is re-designed to slow down traffic speed and give greater priority and safety to non-motorised users, has considerable potential to provide a safer and more user-friendly environment, especially for pedestrians. It is important that such schemes are carefully designed and the needs of all users are accommodated; it is not a matter of just taking away road signs and markings.
Reducing the speed and level of motorised traffic is an important component of shared space schemes. We believe that single surfaces (in which there are no kerbs and the road and pavement are on the same level) can be an effective feature of a shared space scheme, provided that great care is taken to ensure, in particular, that people with impaired vision have a suitable alternative to the kerb that acts as a delineator to enable them to distinguish the section of the single surface used by vehicles."