A Zebra crossing has been blasted as ‘dangerous’ after being turned into a trans walkway in London.
Guide dogs and police horses are understood to be confused by the colourful designs, with the latest one in Camden.
One man asked whether the council’s desire to ‘flaunt their woke credentials’ was more important than disabled people’s safety.
The change, unveiled yesterday, comes despite Sadiq Khan being forced to halt the installation after disability groups warned they were hazardous.
The Royal National Institute for the Blind, Guide Dogs and Scope told the London Mayor the so-called Asphalt Art Project also hurt some people to look at.
A Zebra crossing has been blasted as ‘dangerous’ after being turned into a trans walkway in London
Guide dogs and police horses are understood to be confused by the patchwork designs, with the latest one in Camden
‘Woke’ trans crossings pop up across London despite claims they’re ‘dangerous’
Two transgender crossings have so far been built in the UK. The first one was unveiled in Sutton, south London, earlier this year, with one in Camden being showcased yesterday.
The local councils painted the new markings despite warnings from disabled people they were dangerous.
Colourful crossings have also been shown to scare police horses, with footage showing one in Sheffield last year halting the animals in their tracks and refuse to walk over it.
But where are the two trans crossings in the UK?
- Sutton, south London: Trans flag is painted outside Asda store
Sutton painted it’s trans crossing in May to celebrate the international day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. The marks now sit on a one-way system outside Asda and forms part of the local street network.
It followed the pride flag which was painted on another road in the area last year. Councillor Jake Short said: ‘I am delighted to see this celebration of the richness and diversity that our transgender community brings to Sutton.
‘Until transgender people and other minority groups are able to live without fear of discrimination or hate, we must continue to demonstrate our support and stand with them to clearly demonstrate our commitment to eliminating transphobia.’
- Camden, north London: New crossing is launched yesterday for transgender awareness week
Camden Council unveiled the latest four-way crossing yesterday to celebrate transgender awareness week. It is at the junction of Tavistock Place and Marchmont Street, believed to be the second in the country after Sutton and is painted blue, pink and white.
Councillor Abdul Hai said: ‘Camden is renowned for being ”no place for hate” and a borough that has a strong and continuing history of respect and support for everyone. These amazing crossings are not only an impressive visual statement to help celebrate transgender awareness, but also act as a reminder of the rich LGBT+ history and daily life currently in the Bloomsbury area and across Camden and should prove to be a popular draw to this vibrant area.’
The latest crossing follows another in the borough last year showing a rainbow flag to mark pride month.
Trade unionist Paul Embery shared footage of a guide dog panicking as she tries to navigate one of the colourful crossings in Lambeth.
Ava has to be constantly reassured to move forwards despite the road being clear of traffic.
When she is asked to find the curb she appears confused and whines as she searches around her.
Mr Embery wrote: ‘This is genuinely disturbing. Did those councils spending money on pride and trans flag crossings consider this?
‘Did they do any sort of risk assessment? Does their desire to flaunt their woke credentials trump everything else – even safety?’
Another Twitter user replied claiming police horses are also baffled by the colourful crossings.
He attached a video of mounted officers stopping at a rainbow flag one in Sheffield last year as the animals refuse to walk over it.
Camden Council, which decides on where new crossings are built, unveiled the latest four-way one yesterday to celebrate transgender awareness week.
It is at the junction of Tavistock Place and Marchmont Street, believed to be the second in the country after Sutton and is painted blue, pink and white.
The council said it had taken safety steps and audit before installing the design.
Councillor Abdul Hai said: ‘Camden is renowned for being ”no place for hate” and a borough that has a strong and continuing history of respect and support for everyone.
‘These amazing crossings are not only an impressive visual statement to help celebrate transgender awareness, but also act as a reminder of the rich LGBT+ history and daily life currently in the Bloomsbury area and across Camden and should prove to be a popular draw to this vibrant area.’
The local are clear to put up the crossing as long as it works within the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions.
The latest crossing follows another in the borough last year showing a rainbow flag to mark pride month.
Last week a coalition of groups representing millions of disabled people wrote to Mr Khan warning him the colourful crossings were dangerous.
The collective – made up of organisations including the Royal National Institute for the Blind, Guide Dogs and Scope – said they hurt some people.
Their open letter to the Mayor revealed some visually impaired people with light sensitivity found the extremely bright artwork ‘painful to look at’.
It added those with learning disabilities were likely to find it difficult to interpret abstract artwork as a crossing.
One Twitter user replied claiming police horses are also baffled by the colourful crossings. He attached a video of mounted officers stopping at a rainbow flag one in Sheffield last year as the animals refuse to walk over it
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, joined award-winning artist Yinka Ilori to unveil a series of eye-catching street art commissions on Tottenham Court Road
In May 2021 he announced he was ‘Turning central London into a huge outdoor art gallery’ with London designer Yinka Ilori
Mr Khan responded quickly announcing he had moved to ‘introduce a temporary pause on the installation of any new colourful crossing on its network’.
He admitted: ‘I am concerned to read about the issues highlighted in your letter and the negative impact that these types of crossing can have on disabled people.’
The postponing of the project – which cost is unknown – was seen as an embarrassment to the Mayor who had unveiled them with much fanfare.
In May 2021 he announced he was ‘Turning central London into a huge outdoor art gallery’ with London designer Yinka Ilori.
Posing with the artist in September he said: ‘London is the culture capital of the world, and Yinka’s bright and bold pedestrian crossings represent our city beautifully.
‘They show off our vibrant creative spirit and are the perfect way to launch the autumn season of my Let’s Do London campaign.
‘There are so many great festivals, events and activities taking place in the capital in the coming months and we are ready to welcome and entertain visitors from across the UK and around the world.’
Artist Yinka Ilori’s eye-catching street art is unveiled on Tottenham Court Road as part of London Design Festival in September
But the Transport For All-fronted coalition immediately noticed problems for many disabled people.
In the open letter to the Mayor, they said: ‘We are writing to set out our significant concerns regarding the safety and accessibility of the ‘Asphalt Art Project’ and our objections to the engagement process for these schemes.
‘Crossing the road safely is an essential part of negotiating our built environment and accessing our local community.
‘The provision of safe crossing points affects everyone’s ability and desire to use their local streets, and this is especially crucial in enabling disabled people to make journeys as a pedestrian.
‘The past 18 months have seen a great number of changes made to the streetspace.
‘As London adapted to the pandemic, the streets were transformed; with widened pavements, traffic calming measures, additional space for cycling, and more.
‘Many of these changes were rolled out at pace, and implemented without due engagement with disabled people, and in many instances failed to identify negative impacts and mitigate against them.
‘This has been thoroughly discussed and reflected upon, and in March this year TfL issued an updated version of their guidance for Boroughs on Streetspace which stressed the importance of engaging with disabled people.
‘Given the many examples and opportunities for learning, it is disappointing to see another scheme repeating these patterns.
‘The Asphalt Art Project demonstrates exactly what happens when meaningful engagement does not take place: it sadly results in schemes that are neither accessible nor inclusive.
‘We have set out the impact these schemes will have on disabled people, the contradiction between these schemes and the welcome safety commitments made in Vision Zero, and our concerns regarding the engagement and Equality Impact Assessment processes for these crossings.
‘We hope that your reply will address these issues, and will clarify whether London truly is open to everyone – including disabled Londoners and visitors.’
Disability campaigners say the designs are dangerous for some and even cause some people pain
Mr Khan was swift to respond and insisted there had been consultation with disability organisations before they were approved.
But he admitted: ‘I am concerned to read about the issues highlighted in your letter and the negative impact that these types of crossing can have on disabled people.
‘I would like to assure you that the Greater London Authority worked closely with the London Borough of Camden and the City of London Corporation, who are responsible for the road crossings used, to deliver these projects and that public safety was at the forefront of the project partner teams. Each Highway Authority completed an Equalities Impact Assessment and a Road Safety Assessment and a number of disability organisations and charities were consulted. As a result of feedback received, specific adaptations were made to improve the designs of the crossings.
‘In light of growing concern about the negative impacts of colourful crossings on disabled people, and new research recently received by Transport for London (TfL), I have asked TfL to introduce a temporary pause on the installation of any new colourful crossing on its network.
‘TfL will also be advising boroughs to temporarily pause any future colourful crossing projects.
‘Over the next 12 months, TfL will be developing new guidance for London on the use of artwork at crossings and will undertake meaningful engagement with organisations representing the interests of disabled people. I hope you and Transport for All will agree to be a part of this.
‘I hope that my response reassures you that I have listened to the concerns raised by disabled people and I am committed to making London’s streets inclusive for all.
‘I am passionate about making London open for everyone and that includes improving the transport network and London’s streets, making them accessible for older and disabled people and removing barriers where they exist.
‘The colourful crossings installed on Tottenham Court Road and in the City of London are part of a worldwide project called Asphalt Art.
‘The aim is to transform and revitalise public spaces through the power of art, drawing Londoners and visitors back to central London.’