Thursday 17 July 2008

Dublin City Council to review ad panels over risks to blind

DUBLIN CITY council is to review the new advertising panels erected by JC Decaux as part of the city bicycle scheme following reports from the NCBI that the structures are unsafe.

The National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) says the panels, which stand on the public path, are a danger to the visually impaired who risk walking into them or being cut by their sharp edges, because they are unsuitable for people using canes.

NCBI chief executive Des Kenny said the organisation did advise the council in relation to proper finishes for the structures and appropriate placement of the signs during the planning stage, but the advice was not followed in several instances.

"The edges are finished in steel which have not been rounded and if people hit themselves off the edges they will be cut," Mr Kenny said. "Also, they don't go right down to the ground so a cane can travel under them before people meet the wall of glass."

NCBI was calling on the council to order JC Decaux to retro-fit the signs to ensure that they reached the ground and were properly finished, and to ensure that all future signs met these standards.

The council said yesterday that it had already ordered JC Decaux to remove a bus-shelter sized panel on Dorset Street because it obstructed a pedestrian crossing and the views of motorists.

A spokesman for the council said: "We are currently examining whether the signs have been erected at each site in accordance with the conditions attaching to the grant of permission in each case."

The spokesman added it was in the conditions of the planning permissions granted that the advertising panels would not impede pedestrian movement, road signs, traffic lights, pedestrian sight lines, pedestrian crossings or any other road infrastructure.

"In the event that any of the approved signs have been erected and do not comply with these conditions, JC Decaux will be instructed to take corrective action," said the spokesman.

The council would shortly be meeting NCBI and JC Decaux to discuss any concerns in relation to the panels, he said.

The Irish Times

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