Stan Says: LGBTQ+TRANS CROSSINGS Wind Street Swansea.
Given the many examples and opportunities for learning, it is disappointing to see yet another scheme repeating these patterns.
The Asphalt Art Project, which is a Globalist project demonstrates exactly what happens when meaningful engagement does not take place: it sadly results in schemes that are neither accessible nor inclusive.
Across Wales and the UK we’ve been seeing more and more examples of brightly ‘colourful crossings’, often abstract, and artistic designs. We’ve significant concerns about the safety and accessibility of these schemes.
1. Impact on disabled pedestrians
2. Vision Zero and road safety
Disabled pedestrians are already often more ‘vulnerable’ to collisions while using crossings than our non-disabled counterparts. For example, research suggests (6) that people with mild dementia, compared to people without dementia, have an increased likelihood of collisions, and this was associated with impairments in process speed and visual attention abilities. Therefore, any factors that could influence visual attention may increase risk for people with mild dementia crossing the road.
We welcome the Mayor’s zero tolerance approach to road traffic accidents, and have greatly supported Vision Zero as set out in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (7) aiming for the total elimination of all deaths and serious injuries from London’s transport network by 2041.
We feel that the Asphalt Art project does not fit with the strategies set out in Vision Zero, particularly the point on Safe Streets; “ensuring safety is at the forefront of all design schemes”. With such major safety concerns raised, we cannot see how this project has been approved and implemented.
Asphalt Art is the signature project for the Mayor’s Let’s Do London Autumn campaign, designed to draw Londoners and visitors back to the city and celebrate all the vibrancy and diversity our culture has to offer.
We are concerned that, given the safety and accessibility implications, many disabled people will avoid the crossings and so will be persuaded away from these spaces altogether. Avoiding public space can lead to individuals becoming cut off from their communities, and facing even greater loneliness and isolation. The proportion of disabled people who report feeling lonely “often or always” is nearly four times that of non-disabled people (8), and we fear this project will exacerbate an existing issue and heighten the exclusion disabled people already face. This raises questions on who this project is intended to attract, and who London is open for.
It is almost impossible to meaningfully capture data on the people who aren’t present in public space because they are staying inside and avoiding the area. This means that any attempts to rigorously monitor this project’s impact on disabled people will fall short: how can we know who is missing?
4. Decision making and engagement
We have significant concerns about the scope and scale of meaningful engagement that has been undertaken with disabled people, and the extent to which this engagement has impacted on the design and implementation of the schemes.
The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) is clear that any potential impacts on groups must be considered at an early stage of the formation of a new scheme and to inform whether or not it goes ahead, rather than being added on at the end of the process.