Jazzy road markings may brighten an area up – but they’re a potential deathtrap for disabled people, according to campaigners.
One council spent £23,000 on the glitzy designs only to be told by a disability advocacy group they put the safety of vulnerable people at risk.
Now the government is under pressure to clamp down on the ‘growing trend’.
Access Association has written to the government on the back of crossings unveiled in Charles Street in Leicester, which were drawn up by artist Phil Blake and first announced 12 months ago.
When they were unveiled, council bosses hoped they would ‘brighten up’ the place and promote the city’s cultural quarter.
But the organisation has slated the local authority’s seemingly innocent attempts to spruce the area up.
It warned the painted crossings could be confusing to people with poor eyesight or other disabilities.
The group wants the crossings scrubbed and the government to put a stop to the in vogue practice of glitzing up road markings to prevent similar problems around the country.
In a letter to ministers, the group said: ‘There is a growing trend of installing art on road crossings, often referred to as ‘colourful crossings’.
‘Our membership believes this form of public art poses risks to disabled people, older people and children, and will impact their ability to make safer active travel journeys for a variety of reasons as briefly set out in this letter.’
They called on the government to urgently remove the fun designs and issue new rules on road markings.
Access Association also pointed to concerns the colourful crossings could confuse guide dogs.
It warned: ‘We are also concerned about the impact of colourful crossings on assistance dogs who are trained to help users’ cross roads.
‘The inconsistency of design will make training very difficult, and the appearance of colourful crossings overnight is likely to have immediate impacts on a dog’s willingness to cross the road.’
Andrew Smith, the council’s director of planning, development and transportation, said: ‘The two crossings on Charles Street provide full facilities for users with a mobility or visual impairment and meet all national regulations.
‘They offer dropped crossings and tactile paving together with traffic controlled crossing points on all four arms of the junction; and tactile push-button facilities that are sited to cater for those with guide dogs.
He said the council wanted to hear concerns but said ‘the crossings have been in place for a year, and we aren’t aware of any complaints from people who have had difficulty using them’.
The Department for Transport has been contacted for comment.
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