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Friday 14th January 2011

Charity calls for uniform street design to improve safety for the blind

The Royal London Society for the Blind has called for London's streets to be redesigned to make them easier for blind people to negotiate (BBC News).

The charity says layouts are confusing for many of the city's 250,000 blind people.

But London councils said developing "more prescriptive standards" would be difficult without reducing the standard of facilities for most road users.

A spokesperson said: "London's boroughs appreciate the need to provide special guidance and facilities for blind and partially-sighted people when designing roads and footways.

"London's road layouts vary widely because the space and geometry of each junction and crossing are different."

The spokesperson added that the DfT produced guidelines which boroughs follow.

A DfT spokesperson said: "By using this guidance, councils can help ensure that blind and partially sighted people are able to move around with greater confidence."

Councils use tactile paving but designs vary from borough to borough.

The charity said if London's 33 councils agreed common design standards it would help reduce the problems. It wants the government to force planners to introduce simple, uniform design guidelines to give disabled people greater accessibility.

Click here to read the full BBC News report.

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