Don’t block the Drop !!!
Now here’s a campaign that is dear to the hearts of every wheelchair user and / or any mobility impaired person, let alone those parents with mega sized double baby buggies ! The well designed “drop kerb” is without doubt one of THE most important access enablers of the last fifty years…or more !
The drop kerb may look simple enough. Building them isn’t rocket science but predictably expensive and full of debates around planning, health and safety, design discussions etc etc etc. Mention the need for a drop kerb and a shed load of folk in yellow bibs will surround you with clipboards and well meaning support. Try getting a drop kerb in your area and see what I mean. But truth is things are improving. My local authority here in Warrington recently embarked upon a big project to resurface some local roads outside the town centre. As part of this they delivered significant improvements to the number, and quality, of drop kerbs in parts of the town. I was made up.
I admit things got a little less ace when I discovered that in two miles of new drop kerbs there were ‘gaps’ were no drop kerb was installed because…I suspect….the pavement ran across the entrance to a ‘private’ industrial estate, thus forcing you into a busy road to continue your journey. Which is a pain. Still….WBC deserve real credit for improving and enabling our environment but there remain areas of the town, mostly the older un-developed parts, where drop kerbs are a rare sight and it’s incredibly hard, and unsafe, to get from a to b in your own community.
So, it’s good that there are signs of real improvements in drop kerb provision, perhaps a reflection of more people with influence understanding why this is such an important element of an accessible community…but what’s the point if you get new well designed drop kerbs and motorists / lorry drivers park right across the drop and block your access ? It happens, a lot, and a bit like that old defense you hear from drivers when parking in a blue badge space. “It was empty”…some motorists just don’t get it.
#Don’t Block the Drop is a hashtag for a campaign I can really identify with. This is serious stuff for millions of people but particularly the just under two million who use a wheelchair / powerchair. There is truly little as frustrating, or disabling, than spending half an hour making your way into a location, using pavements, safely, only then to get to a crossroads and find that the Drop Kerb has been blocked by a car or truck and the high six inch kerbs nearby prevent you ‘bouncing’ off and across the road, leading to you backtracking for ages to find an unblocked drop kerb. OTT ? Nope, this has happened to me a number of times. It’s a fact and it can seriously wreck your day.
Find out more about the campaign that asks #Dont Block the Drop