Edinburgh Access Panel: relentless flow of requests for accessibility advice promise a busy year ahead

It’s been a very busy time for Edinburgh Access Panel. Right now, it looks like there’s an even busier year to look forward too.

Edinburgh Access Panel always welcomed occasional requests for access audits, information, and advice about accessibility. In the last few weeks, they have received six such requests keeping all panel members on their toes.

Edinburgh Airport is asking for recommendations about decorating and furnishing a new “Quiet Room” for passengers. Two theatres need the Access Panel to review their proposal for improving accessibility. A conference centre is seeking advice on setting up a break-out room. A sports club wants to be able to stage wheelchair events. An event management organisation wants help to ensure its offerings are as accessible as possible.

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Photo: an example of a floating bus stop at George IV bridge in Edinburgh – a narrow bus ‘island’ separated from the pavement by a temporary cycle lane, and with no shelter.

 

Busy days ahead, indeed!

There’s even more good news for disabled people in Edinburgh. The Council have been establishing an Accessibility Commission. Their role is to ensure streets and public spaces are as accessible as possible. Independent of the Council, it will consist of representatives of all the major disability organisations including Edinburgh Access Panel. The latter have been closely involved in writing the Commission’s remit and terms of reference. This is to minimise duplication and gaps between the Access Commission and the Accessibility Panel.

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Photo: Dalmeny street, Edinburgh. Cars are stopping at the line that is a distance from the actual junction, so drivers are unable see bikes coming up at speed down the cycling lane.

 

The relentless flow of requests for formal consultation has not let up. It is expected to peak this year as the Council reviews the “experimental” Spaces for People to promote active travel. The Access Panel have been invited to take part in workshops to discuss the pros and cons of measures like cycle lanes and floating bus stops. It seems like another meeting with Sustrans and Spokes is on the horizon.

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Photo: Pentland Terrace, Edinburgh. Cycling lane is positioned between the kerbside and parking spots.

 

In parallel with all this, the retired architects on the panel have continued to do work assessing Edinburgh’s weekly list of planning applications. Their input is valued by both the Council and the architects responsible for the applications. In fact, the Access Panel have been invited to address an architects’ conference to be held in Dunblane this spring.