Understanding the daily dangers of being 'blind' in Boston town centre
VISUALLY-impaired people visiting Boston town centre are faced with many dangers including many in the newly refurbished market place.
These dangers, including tactile paving, parked cars blocking the dropped kurbs, the speed at which motorists were travelling through the square and safe places to cross, have been highlighted by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
Boston Target reporter Lisa Porter met with members of the association to experience the dangers hands-on.
Lisa Porter wore a blind-fold and was guided round part of the market place by guide dog Cracker and dog trainer Richard Madsen, service delivery manager.
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She said: “It was really disorientating as I stood on the corner near H Samuels.
“I have to admit it was scary not being able to see a thing and having no idea where I was heading. I could hear cars but had no idea where they were.”
Lisa was joined by Boston Borough Councillors Carol Taylor and Paul Skinner who were also blind-folded.
Community engagement officer Suzanne Allott from Guide Dogs for the Blind Association was also in attendance.
She said: “The recent refurbishment of Boston Market Place into a shared surface scheme has created an impressive centre to this historic town.
“It has some impressive features, including a cafe with a thoughtfully laid out street seating area.
“However, shared surfaces pose inherent difficulties for people with visual impairments, and unfortunately we feel that the Boston scheme is no exception to this.
“With the current situation, we would not be able to recommend that one of our guide dog owners should attempt to cross the market square from one side to the other, for example from Holland and Barrett to Dolphin Lane, as we feel that with the lack of traffic management, tactile surface to guide across the marketplace and a safe crossing point would put the visually impaired person in significant danger.
Guide Dogs provides a range of mobility services and works to break down barriers so that blind and partially sighted people can get out and about on their own terms.