We are reacting to recent changes to pedestrian crossings as part of the College Green works in Dublin City Centre. As part of our plans to brief Dublin City Councillors in the coming weeks,  we are looking for real focus to be placed on the needs of people with disabilities.  We are making this call after the introduction of new longer and more frequent trams beginning to cause disruption for pedestrians in the area.

Speaking on the matter David Mc Carthy, our Client Engagement & Communications Manager said, “We have been talking about the need for real consideration to be given to people with disabilities when it comes to access in public spaces for some time now.  The introduction of the new crossings at College Green are another example of how people who are blind or vision impaired have yet again been forgotten in the design.  We are seeing that this is putting our Clients at higher risk due to non-specified pedestrian pathways, a lack of kerbing and poor tactile markings. “

“These changes are leading to more congestion at the crossing which can pose a difficulty to our Clients who use a Guide Dog or a long cane for mobility support.  At a very practical level it takes a person with a vision impairment longer to cross a junction.  If they are not being afforded this time there is a potential for dangerous situations to arise as they are now expected to cross over five lanes with moving traffic.”

This recent call forms part of a wider campaign we have been leading on for a number of years.  We have been calling for the establishment of an Inclusive Mobility Committee to advocate for national accessibility standards with regards the built environment.

Speaking on this work David said, “The function of the Committee would be to ensure the needs of people with vision, mobility, hearing and intellectual impairments are addressed. In recent years local authorities are redesigning urban areas with the application of controversial Shared Space principles. The Inclusive Mobility Committee would work with local authorities to ensure the needs of people with vision, hearing, mobility and intellectual impairments are considered at the design and planning stage.”

We are planning a briefing session with Dublin City Councillors to accompany our submission to An Bord Pleanála consultation on the wider College Green project.  However, we are calling for immediate action to be taken to ensure the safety of our Clients and others with disabilities who use this area are guaranteed.

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind is a national charity which provides vital services to blind or vision-impaired people and families of children with autism to enable them to achieve increased mobility, independence and an improved quality of life. It costs over €5 million to fund our association on an annual basis with statutory funding only providing 15% meaning the majority of this funding has to come from public donations.

For more information on this campaign contact David Mc Carthy on [email protected] or call 021 4878 200.

Thank You to The Irish Times who have recorded an excellent video highlighting the issue which you can watch below. Check out their full piece on the campaign here.

How difficult is walking through Dublin city centre if you're blind?

► VIDEO: After millions spent and years of constant road works how safe is it to walk the streets of Dublin if you're visually impared? Read more: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/dublin-city-crossings-a-danger-for-visually-impaired-people-1.3361812

Posted by The Irish Times on Wednesday, January 24, 2018