Alderney street mobility recorded by wheelchair user
Saturday 19th October 2013, 10:00AM BST.
A CHAMPION for accessibility for all has recently chartered the biggest obstacles to mobility around Alderney’s main streets – and how they might be removed.
Aindre Reece-Sheerin was commissioned to carry out an audit of Victoria Street, the High Street and nearby roads and paths for the States of Alderney.
He was taking pictures of uneven paving, unwieldy steps and obstructive parking habits to demonstrate where the biggest accessibility problems lie.
Back in Guernsey he will work on a list of suggestions as to how the States could most easily improve each area.
Since his first visit to the island earlier this year the States has created further disabled parking bays at the airport.
Mr Reece-Sheerin, who was performing the audit free of charge, said he had been impressed by the attitudes he had come across towards improving accessibility.
‘I’m looking very positively at what we can do in relation to making Alderney more accessible,’ he said.
‘My remit is to work with businesses and premises owners and highlight areas where there are issues and find specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely solutions to accessibility issues.
‘The best thing I’ve found so far is that there is a sea change in attitude towards accessibility among States Members, shops and premises owners. They seem to want to improve things.’
He emphasised that he was not looking to change the character of St Anne’s with its narrow pavements, cobbles and Victorian shop fronts. Most improvements could be made with minimum disruption, and expense, he said.
Among Mr Reece-Sheerin’s proposals will be three ‘table-top’ crossings on Victoria Street and one on High Street, to make the pavement level with the road, repairs to cracked and uneven paving on the High Street, and ramps up the steps of key shops, such as the island’s only chemist. He listed other improvements such as putting dots along sections of pavements to show drivers parking on pavements how much space wheelchairs and pushchairs needed to get past.
General Services Committee chairman Louis Jean said the States would work to improve accessibility in Alderney over the next four years. He said: ‘We are very grateful to Aindre for coming over to do this valuable work for us. Everyone in Alderney should be able to get where they need to go and where we can, we will help.
‘Some areas of pavement need to be repaired sooner rather than later, while other projects would be more appropriate to do at the same time as infrastructure work takes place. We were grateful to Aindre for highlighting improvements that can be made very soon and at next to no cost.’