Re: Re: college green/ o’connell street plaza and pedestrians
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from today’s irish times letters.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Paving in city centre
Madam, â€“ Graham Hickey of Dublin Civic Trust is frustrated that Dublinâ€™s College Green has been â€œbutcheredâ€ (Home News, July 27th). One of Mr Hickeyâ€™s main grievances is that tactile paving has been installed in this area, which he believes is â€œmobility correctness gone crazyâ€.
Imagine for a moment walking around Dublin city centre with no, or very little, sight, relying instead on sound and touch to guide you. Many people with vision impairments use a long cane as a mobility aid. The cane acts as an obstacle detector; with the user sweeping it from side-to-side, two strides in front of them, to get clues about their environment so they can act quickly. The use of different surfaces underfoot conveys important information to people who are blind or vision impaired, who navigate the city in a very different way to sighted people. The feel and sound of a cane swept across the pavement is very different to the feel and sound of a cane touching tactile paving and immediately alerts the person that they are approaching a crossing.
So while tactile paving may be nothing more than a quirk to sighted people, it is a vital safety mechanism for people with sight loss and is just one of many changes to our environment that can mean the difference between travelling safely and independently and having to rely on others for assistance at every turn. â€“ Yours, etc,
Director of Services,
National Council for the Blind of Ireland,