New zebra crossings provide safer access for visually impaired pedestrians
27th February 2023
A long standing member of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust’s Vision Forum has been instrumental in helping visually impaired pedestrians access their local community in a safer way.
Jill Hanna worked alongside Ray Maxwell, the Trust’s Senior Vision Rehabilitation Specialist and Specialist Worker for Adults and Children with Dual Sensory, and in partnership with Guide Dogs NI, to help install two new zebra crossings at The Boulevard in Banbridge after she struggled to cross the busy road.
Jill had been a daily visitor to the outlet park but due to its recent expansion, she expressed her difficulties that she could no longer access it independently.
Ray said: “Jill has a severe sight impairment and has a Guide Dog called Ace but with the new retail and warehouse units being created and the roads becoming busier, Jill found herself choosing not to make the journey as it was too dangerous due to the increase in traffic.”
Ray alongside Andrew Murdock from Guide Dogs NI, advocated on Jill’s behalf to make the busy surrounding roads independently accessible for those who are visually impaired.
“Once these concerns were raised with the management at The Boulevard, they ensured that the two new crossings that Jill had identified would be installed as quickly as possible.”
Jill said that independence is a big thing and she is delighted to have the two new crossings installed.
“Accessibility for all is important. The new crossings have made a big difference to me and I use them almost every day.”
Ray added: “Jill and I first connected almost two years ago to bring about this change and I am delighted that it has seen great benefits, not only to those who are visually impaired but the entire community.
“For blind and partially sighted people, safe crossing points are a vital component in the negotiation of their local communities and this is a really good example of how partnership working has led to this much-needed facility for local residents with impaired vision.”
Caption: L-R Andrew Murdock, External Affairs Manager, Guide Dogs NI, Jill Hanna with her guide dog Ace, Ray Maxwell, Senior Vision Rehabilitation Specialist, Southern Health and Social Care Trust, and Andrew Hamilton, Operations Manager, The Boulevard, Banbridge.