Look, I know that I have gone on about dropped kerbs before, but now that we are using a pushchair again they are literally in sharp relief.This is a short post and actually more of a plea to my peers to get dropped kerbs right. Ten years ago, we were pushing our son around in his buggy and every time we crossed the road, the dropped kerbs were either high or no existent.
|A dropped kerb done properly. No slowing down, no wheelies and|
no baby being tipped up.
Loaded down with shopping, it was a pain and hard work. Get it wrong and the front wheels would hit the opposite kerb and tip the buggy forward while you bounced it around trying to get out of the road.
Ten years later and with a new baby, things have improved (not everywhere of course). Round my way, we have plenty done well with a gentle ramp; and with a kerb flush to the road. It makes pushing that buggy really easy. I have had a hand in this by pushing colleagues within the highways team to get them right and the correct way to do things is now in our standard drawings - if contractors do it wrong, out it comes! It also helps having a Clerk of the Works as obsessed with this detail as I am!
There are other ways to do it. Speed tables at the entry to a side road means the level of the road comes up to the level of the footway with little or no ramp to worry about; effort to cross is further reduced.
Flush kerbs are an issue for blind and partially-sighted people, hence the use of tactile paving. I know it is hated by urban designers and architects, but if you rely on being able to find the edge of the footway, it is quite important.
|Bromell's Road, Clapham.|
Level access is helpful to me pushing the baby in her buggy - my normal mobility is reduced. Getting details like this is vital for people using wheelchairs, mobility scooters and walking aids, because even the slightest lip makes crossing difficult or impossible.
So, my message to all designers and people supervising footway works is simple - gentle gradients and flush kerbs. It costs no more to do it properly and actually, you have no excuse not to do it properly.