An Accessible City

Outdoor diningCity of Sydney Council currently has their Footway Licencing on exhibition, which was discussed last Tuesday in the Planning Committee. I was particularly pleased to hear the impassioned voices of the community, including representative speakers from the Blind Society and Guide Dogs Australia. It was a highly informative process for Council to receive this insight into the consequences of poorly organised Footway Licencing. The speakers unequivocally advocated for the absolute need for an accessible wall line, and for this wall line to be 1.8 meters clear of the building line. For the vision impaired, the consequences of an obstructed wall line can include disorientation as well as a 70% collision rate with outdoor dining. It is unacceptable for our vision-impaired citizens and visitors to have to suffer this embarrassment, and outlines the reasons why we must enforce proper Footway Licencing. In committees, I also posed the question to the speakers if tactile ground service indicators would be of use, and the response was positive. I would like to see these implemented through the city on a trial basis, with the possibility of permanent implementation, if they are effective for the vision-impaired.

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