Guide Dogs: A more inclusive Exhibition Road

A more inclusive Exhibition Road

A special type of paving which helps blind and partially-sighted pedestrians to distinguish between the road and the pavement will be installed at a tourist hot spot in Kensington and Chelsea, London.

An 800mm-wide strip of ridged corduroy paving will be laid along Exhibition Road. The busy street is being turned into a kerbless shared surface used by both cars and pedestrians.

Last year Guide Dogs took the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to a judicial review over the planned shared surface scheme, fearing that pedestrians, whether visually-impaired or otherwise, would not realise that they were straying on to the road if the kerbs were removed.

The authority agreed to find paving that would help people distinguish between the road and the pavement. Corduroy was found to work in lab conditions and during testing on a stretch of Exhibition Road itself. It will now be used along the full length of Exhibition Road, which is home to the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the V&A Museum and a host of other attractions.

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has also agreed to monitor the corduroy every six months for the next two years.

David Cowdrey, Head of Public Policy and Campaigns for Guide Dogs, said: "The initial results are encouraging but until there has been some longer term monitoring, it is too early to think of this as a design solution you can pick off the shelf and apply anywhere.”

Councillor Sir Merrick Cockell, Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, said: “From the outset we wanted Exhibition Road to be one of the most accessible cultural quarters in the world and to work with disability groups to make that ambition a reality. We are glad to have had Guide Dogs as a critical friend of the scheme and we think we now have a way forward.”

David Cowdrey
Head of Public Policy & Campaigns
Guide Dogs
10 Melton Street, London

Telephone: 0118 983 8304
Blackberry: 07990 540045