On the 31st October, Transport for All (TfA) members and supporters gathered together in Soho to protest against Westminster’s broken promise to install missing kerb drops in central London. TfA now encourages Disabled and older people and all supporters to write to Westminster Council to urge them to build the missing kerb drops.
In February, Westminster Council wrote to TfA member Chris Stapleton with a commitment to install kerb drops at 20 junctions in central London by June 2018. This came after a four-year battle, where Chris made dozens of unsuccessful attempts to get the council to install missing kerb drops at 27 locations he had identified in central London. There was also, in the same email, a commitment to implement most of the other seven kerb drops after that initial four-month period.
Four months after the deadline fixed by Westminster Council, only three out of the 20 kerb drops promised have been installed. In the meantime, Disabled people are still forced to go on ridiculous and dangerous detours, sometimes having to share the street with cars and vans.
Worse still, the council has installed a few very steep, primitive and dangerous tarmac ramps, which we thought were temporary; but they are still there and still haven’t been replaced by proper kerb drops.
This is a shocking situation and it shows that Westminster Council is not taking accessibility seriously. This is why we organised a protest, urging the Council to implement its promised kerb drops programme! We were joined by many Disabled and older people and felt supported by local shops and visitors who expressed their dismay at the attitude of Westminster Council.
Take action, write to Westminster Council
The fact that pavements in Westminster have been missing kerb drops for so long is a scandal. But the fact that the council still hasn’t implemented its promised kerb drop programme is absolutely shocking. Disabled and older people are not second-class citizens: we want to travel, shop and enjoy the West End like everyone else
We urge Westminster Council to not only implement its promised kerb drops programme, but also to ensure that there are no junctions without kerb drops in the City of Westminster, that they all have tactile paving and that all streets are free of unnecessary clutter.
We need your support. We are calling on all our members and supporters to write to the leader of Westminster Council to ask the council to make the City of Westminster – one of the most touristic area in the world – inclusive to everyone.
You can either use the model letter below or write your own one, sharing the issues you face travelling on the streets of Westminster. Do not forget to sign your name (and add a return address if you are sending by post).
- By email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By post to: Councillor Nickie Aiken, Westminster City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QP
Subject: Your promise to install kerb drops in Westminster
Dear Councillor Nickie Aiken,
I am writing to you regarding the unacceptably poor accessibility of the streets in the city of Westminster, and Westminster Council’s failure to resolve this issue.
In February 2018, Westminster Council committed to installing missing kerb drops in Westminster. This was the result of a four-year campaign by members of Transport for All.
However, it is now four months after the June 2018 deadline that Westminster Council set itself and only three out of the promised twenty kerb drops have been delivered.
This means that Disabled people – particularly wheelchair and mobility scooter users – are still forced to take ridiculous and dangerous detours, sometimes sharing the road with cars, in order to make a crossing that a non-Disabled person can do in seconds.
The fact that pavements in Westminster – one of the most touristic areas in London – have been missing kerb drops for so long is nothing short of a scandal. But even more shocking is the fact that the council still hasn’t implemented its promised kerb drop implementation programme.
Disabled and older people are not second-class citizens: we want to travel, shop and enjoy the West End like everyone else.
That is why I am writing to you to ask for an end to the broken promises made by the council. Westminster Council must improve the accessibility of its streets by ensuring that all crossings and junctions have kerb drops; that every crossing has tactile paving; and that streets are free from unnecessary clutter such as advertising boards and rubbish bins. Please fix the streets now and enable everyone to travel with freedom and independence in central London.