Blind visitor raises fears over paving in Oban centre
A BLIND man has labelled the tactile paving in Oban’s Combie Street as dangerous, saying someone is going to get killed.
John McQuade, who visits family in Oban on a monthly basis, first noticed the problems with the textured paving at the traffic lights three months ago.
A ‘bumpy’ surface is in place in order to help visually impaired people feel where the road starts and stops.
However, in some places in Oban it has been worn down and is difficult to feel.
Mr McQuade said: ‘You can’t feel it under your feet. Someone is going to get killed – that’s what is going to happen. I first noticed it a couple of months back. It’s dangerous.’
Mr McQuade also highlighted another problem he faces in Combie Street. The 57-year-old said: ‘There’s no barrier, so you don’t know if you are at the lights. It’s a nightmare.’
Mr McQuade uses the barrier as a guide to find the next crossing, but because there’s a gap on the island in Combie Street, he finds himself walking in the wrong direction, towards the floral planters.
‘The last time I was up here,’ he added. ‘I ended up at the pier. If I had not spoken to someone, I could have ended up in the sea as there’s no barrier there.
‘The planners think it is wonderful as long as it looks nice. They don’t see the dangers.’
A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council said: ‘We have made a number of improvements in Oban town centre, including additional seating in Stafford Street, extra bus shelters at Station Square, and widening and extending dropped kerbs to disabled parking bays.
‘Elsewhere, in any areas where natural wear and tear occurs, such as if paving becomes worn, this will be addressed as part of our ongoing maintenance programme. Any local resident who would like to raise an issue regarding barriers or worn surfaces can do so and we will look into those concerns.’
A spokesperson for Guide Dogs Scotland said: ‘Kerbs and tactile surfaces represent a major source of information for orientation and navigation for blind and partially-sighted people when moving around. They inform key decision points along a route.
‘We urge local authority planners to follow recommendations set out in the Department for Transport’s guidance on the use of tactile paving surfaces.
‘It’s important that tactile surfaces are maintained to a good standard to remain effective.’
Visibility, a charity visually-impaired people in the west of Scotland, advocates town planners speak to blind and partially-sighted residents to seek their opinions.
John McQuade with his guide dog Simpson at Combie Street in Oban.