If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Shared Space 2

WOAR (here, in comments) has kindly provided some detail on the issue of shared space in relation to blind and partially-sighted people. It would appear that the Guide Dogs for the Blind are in total opposition to the shared space idea. Here's an extract from their 2009 report (see pages 10-12):

(Apologies for poor quality - I had to save as an image rather than copy the text.)

It looks like they have made their collective minds up on this one. I can see the problem, but I'm not sure I am altogether in favour of strangling such a worthwhile proposal at birth, before pilots and experimental schemes have had a chance to be properly assessed.

Looked at bluntly, they are asking - or demanding - that the rest of us forego some very significant potential benefits to the quality of our lives (reduced stress, saved time, less pollution, fewer accidents, and therefore fewer deaths and injuries) in order that the blind and partially-sighted can cross the road unassisted.

It looks like the RNIB are supporting this campaign as well.

In Britian, it would be almost impossible to go against a campaign by such universally-sympathetic bodies. It would be like kicking a puppy. But in the end we will have to make decisions that balance the rights of all of us. What if the results of pilot schemes showed that the benefits of shared space were huge and positive, for the 97% of us who are not blind or partially-sighted?

Of course, if the GDFB and RNIB are successfully stopping these schemes before they start, we will never know. I can't believe that there isn't a way round this, but it seems that no-one is looking for one at the moment.

Thanks to WOAR for the link.


  1. Social Justice - Bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator.


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