An “eye opening” journey across Aberdeen by wheelchair.
Councillors who took up a charity challenge said they had been shocked to discover the barriers posed to disabled residents.
The four city council members – and one candidate for May’s local elections – represented all the town house groupings.
They were brought together by Future Choices, which promotes social inclusion, after it received a string of complaints.
And after finding the simple trip from Union Square to Broad Street to be a bit of an ordeal, the group agreed something needed to be done.
SNP group leader Stephen Flynn, who himself has mobility issues, said: “It was certainly an eye-opening experience.
“There are a variety of surfaces that just aren’t up to scratch.
“It is easy to make token gestures such as putting ramps in and think that’s enough. But we need look beyond that.”
Exhausted Liberal Democrat Steve Delaney said: “Challenging would be an understatement.
“You really just don’t realise the impact even of just a slightly uneven surface or broken paving stones.
“We need to be resurfacing some of the worst areas.”
Deputy leader Marie Boulton – of the Independent Alliance – said she had encountered a lack of public awareness.
“People need to be more understanding that no-one chooses to be in a wheelchair and for the grace of God we could all be there.”
And Labour veteran Len Ironside questioned whether sufficient thought was given to the issue.
“I believe a city is judged on the way it treats its disabled people,” he said.
“It is important that we not only get their views but also act on them.”
The authority faced criticism from its own equalities watchdog for failing to take into account disabled access in the revamp of Broad Street.
Future Choices chairman David Forbes said it had proved a valuable event.
“I am happy that they struggled because they could see the daily challenges faced by people in wheelchairs,” he said.
“Most people just look at handrails, ramps, that basic stuff but it’s uneven pavements, the cracks, the cobbles. If you get a wheelchair jammed you go flying.
“It’s time to look beyond the basics at the deep infrastructure.”
Fonte: The Press and Journal