Don't Trap Me at Home!
Speaker: Gwynneth Pedler
Gwynneth works with the Oxford City Access Forum and Oxfordshire Unlimited to improve conditions for people with disabilities throughout the city. Deeply committed to increasing choice for disadvantaged people, she has even taken her message to the Trafalgar Square plinth.
An active discussion followed her presentation of the arguments in favour of light-controlled crossings as opposed to zebras, especially in view of the recent replacement outside County Hall.
Topics raised included:
- the need to improve access for people with disabilities, and especially to consult widely before possibly inappropriate changes are made;
- the deterrent effect of sheer exhaustion unnecessarily imposed on people with disabilities by poor design and obstruction of pavements;
- arguments for and against kerbs, especially at bus stops, as opposed to the new level spaces of Queen Street and New Inn Hall Street;
- distinguishing between different forms of disability – a mindless grouping of all types together can disadvantage all;
- disabling effects of some measures intended to benefit people with disabilities eg sloping tactile paving;
- advantages of zebras over lighted crossings in terms of immediate response, reducing congestion, increasing eye contact between pedestrians and drivers;
- the legal challenge being raised to the proposed pavement parking CPZ in East Oxford;
- importance of ensuring that the needs of people with disabilities are included in policies aimed at improving urban aesthetics and efficiency, eg by de-cluttering to beautify the city.
The speaker was warmly thanked for coming to talk to us and raise awareness of the many problems facing people with disabilities. We look forward to continuing cooperation with groups fostering maximum independence for all in a crowded city environment.