Brighton and Hove City Council to review street furniture policy
Brighton and Hove City Council Highway’s Transport team joined East Sussex Sight Loss Council (SLC) this week to participate in a sim-spec walk. This forms part of East Sussex SLC’s ongoing work with the team to review their street furniture policy.
Simulation specs mirror a variety of sight conditions many local residents have. They enable the wearer to get a better understanding of some of the challenges blind and partially sighted (BPS) people face day-to-day.
The walk was initiated to demonstrate the different issues BPS people encounter on the streets in Brighton and Hove.
Feedback from the walk
David Smith, Engagement Manager for the South East, said:
“We are delighted to work with David Fisher and his team. Participating in a sim spec walk allowed us to raise their awareness about the hazards and challenges faced by blind and partially sighted people when navigating the streets of Brighton and Hove.
“It was a great session with an engaging team. They were keen to learn and posed many questions about how they could improve the streets around Brighton and Hove.”
David Fisher, Highway Regulation Manager, Brighton and Hove City Council, added:
“Helping our staff to better understand the challenges faced by people with vision impairment is key to ensuring the public highway is better designed and managed for all users in the city.”
An attendee from Brighton & Hove City Council is being guided whilst wearing sim specs
Members from the Highways and Transport team shared their key take aways from the exercise.
“The number of obstructions on the footway that make it difficult. Thinking about what our team can do to make small improvements.”
“The amount of street furniture that is on the pavement that you must avoid. More awareness of where items are placed.”
“More awareness of people with sight loss and the hazards they face daily.”
“How uneven pavements and dropped kerbs can be hazardous. I am more aware of how items and obstructions impact people who are sight impaired.”
“To be more mindful when dealing with permissions for licences.”
“Camber of the roads, how my hearing felt more detailed, everything felt closer to me.”
As a result of the walk, East Sussex SLC have proposed to do a yearly review with the team. This will enable them to discuss any changes that have been implemented. It will also allow the SLC to engage with the Highways Regulations team regularly throughout the year. East Sussex SLC aims to continue its work with Brighton and Hove City Council, inviting teams from other departments to participate in this valuable learning exercise.
East Sussex SLC member Graham and guide dog Teddy, with two attendees on the sim spec walk
Last year, RNIB’s ‘See Streets Differently’ report revealed blind and partially sighted people find it increasingly difficult to avoid accidents on their walking journeys.
These everyday objects may not sound threatening, but they have a very real and negative impact on the accessibility of pavements for blind and partially sighted people.
Research showed factors such as new street designs, pavement parking and bins, were some of the many concerns.
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Publication date: 07 February 2023