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Guide dog owner tells of Fishergate shared space horror

Posted on - 31st July, 2017 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - News, Politics, Preston City Centre, Roads, Transport
Julie says the city centre is an area she actively avoids
Julie says the city centre is an area she actively avoids

A national charity has launched a stinging criticism of Preston’s shared space – three years after it was finished.

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The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association says the city centre has become a ‘no go’ area for its members.

A picture on its Facebook page explains how the new road layout has caused one of its members to be the subject of verbal abuse by drivers.

The charity features the story of Julie, the owner of Queenie the guide dog, from Preston.

Read more: New Lune Street junction could help ease Preston congestion

She says: “Preston city centre is a no go area for me now. Just after the council raised the road and removed the traffic lights, I was left stranded when I tried to cross a road in a familiar place.

“I didn’t see a car slowing down for me. The driver got out of his car and shouted at me to go, but my guide dog Queenie didn’t know if it was safe so wouldn’t move.

“I tried to explain to him that I couldn’t see but the driver lost his temper, got back into his car, slammed the door and sped off.

“Guide dogs are well trained but all this is undone when faced with a shared surface. I now avoid the area.”

Read more: This Canadian town has a different approach to a shared space

The shared space was introduced in summer 2014 – and has continued further up Fishergate and towards Church Street. The latest stretch was unveiled down Cannon Street.

It’s faced criticism from drivers, pedestrians and politicians, for the failed introduction of the bus-only lane down Fishergate, the now removed infamous Fishergate bollard and the surfaces becoming a free car park due to lack of clear signage. One woman even claimed she broke her foot on the new kerbs.

However, the scheme has won a national award from highways officials for its introduction to transform the centre of Preston.

Do you think the new road layout has been a success or failure? What do you think about the shared space? Let us know in the comments below

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