Charities have warned blind and partially-sighted residents have been “too scared” to use a central Aberdeen street since it became a controversial shared-space.
Pedestrians rub shoulders with buses and cyclists on Broad Street, which had kerbs lowered as part of a £3.2 million transformation.
A paper due to next week’s council operations committee is expected to reveal how traffic and pedestrians have coped in the zone.
But in advance of that, Guide Dogs Scotland and the RNIB have called for major works to be undertaken on Broad Street, with more defined kerbs and new crossings being put in place.
Yesterday, they invited city councillors to walk along the part-pedestrianised street, wearing special glasses that simulate sight conditions, to illustrate their concerns.
At present only buses, bicycles and pedestrians have access to Broad Street, with buses limited to five miles per hour.
Opposition groups, however, said that buses should not be allowed to avoid any chance of pedestrians being hit.
Cate Vallis, of the RNIB, said: “People are telling us that they just avoid this area because they are too scared to come here.
“My message to councillors would be ‘Think about blind and sight loss affected people next week’.
“It is a population that is only going to increase.”
Aberdeen resident Amanda Burt, who has had the sight loss condition retinitafibroplaisia all of her life, said she has avoided the area ever since it reopened.
“I don’t use Broad Street as I would find it very dangerous,” she said.
“There is no way of knowing where you are.
“Frankly, for blind people, shared spaces are terrible and very dangerous, and in my view they should be removed.”
Niall Foley, engagement manager with Guide Dogs Scotland, added: “Many blind and partially sighted people, and disabled and elderly people, have said that they feel unable to use shared surface street in their towns.
“This obviously impacts on their independence.”
A number of councillors took part in yesterday’s exercise on Broad Street, including the SNP’s Jackie Dunbar.
She said: “I’m concerned that when the fountain is on people with visual impairments might not be able to hear buses coming.”
Liberal Democrat Steve Delaney meanwhile said: “There are significant safety issues to be addressed on this street and they need to be addressed quickly.”
Operations convener John Wheeler also took part.
He said: “It has been a very helpful experience in understanding more about sight conditions.
“We will consider the report when it is released.”