The York Disability Rights Forum has objected to new pedestrian zones where vehicles cannot access roads at certain times. Campaigners say the new footstreet proposals would increase the disadvantages for disabled people and could result in some people being “excluded” from the city centre.
They said: “Far from minimising disadvantages suffered by disabled people, City of York Council’s decision to make the footstreet extensions permanent increases them.
“The steps being taken to improve access to the city centre are slow in coming and, as we have stated previously, are still going to result in some disabled people being excluded from the city centre permanently.
“We continue to hear from people affected by the changes.
“The devastating impact it has on their day to day life, their quality of living, feeling of belonging and social lives has been horrific to hear about.”
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“Recently the York Human Rights City Network released a statement concluding that a human rights approach has not been adopted in developing the current plans for the footstreets.”
The York Human Rights City Network added the new changes would have a “detrimental effect” on disabled citizens.
He said: “We have concluded that a human rights approach has not been adopted in developing the current plans.
“The disproportionate impact of the plans on some of York’s disabled citizens has been highlighted by Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) such as York Disability Rights Forum and York Accessibility Action.
They said they “understood” pedestrianisation would affect some businesses, disabled people and residents living in the city
Extra Blue Badge parking had been installed at five locations on the edge of the pedestrianisation scheme.
However, York Council admits this is “not seen as a substitute” compared to what has been lost.
An extensive review has also been launched to look at accessibility issues across the city centre.
In a statement to Express.co.uk, a spokesperon for City of York Council said: “We take our duties under the Equalities Act exceptionally seriously, which is why we are carrying out the most extensive review of accessibility in the city centre since the pedestrianised area of York was established.
“Engagement with disabled people is at the heart of this review, allowing us to fully understand any issues and find recommendations which balance different access needs while protecting jobs, the economy and everyone using the city centre.
“While we’ve already reinstated blue badge access to Deangate, provided additional blue badge parking and proposed and are consulting on more bays on the edge of the city centre, we’re also looking at proposals which will significantly improve access to the city centre for disabled residents.
“This includes how to make our car parks more accessible, the timings of the footstreets hours, access for disabled people who use cycles as a mobility aid, the quality and location of dropped kerbs, quality of footpaths, rest points and facilities throughout the city centre. We’re also reviewing the Shopmobility service.”