Monday, September 21, 2009

Disability and radical pedestrians

Budapest has one big problem that pedestrians and public transport users have to face, namely underpasses. Personally I don't like to go underground. It's always kind of dark and dirty there, and I loose my orientation. In Budapest there is also the other issue of mobility for disabled people. Although they are trying to improve according to European Standards, there are still a large amount of obstacles on the streets. As in every proper car centric society, it's the pedestrians that have to go underground and not the cars. And it's almost always done by stairs (although apparently existent I haven't seen any elevators or escalators myself). The stairs don't have bright lines for partially sighted people and there are no tracks for wheelchairs or bicycles.

Underpasses with only stairs: bikes have to be carried, people in wheelchairs or with buggies are simply stuck

However, these things are made visible to the public. And there are also people who protest against the fact that on certain junctions there are no crosswalks but only underpasses. At the Mobility Week Workshop we took part in a flashmob at Blaha Lujza square last Wednesday. Some activists painted there own pedestrians lights and gave green whenever the according parallel car lanes had green. Since there was no crosswalk/zebra crossing painted on the streets they used different posters with animals and zebras painted on them to demonstrate their ideas. I quite enjoyed that creative way of approaching these problems. It certainly increases awareness. The flashmob was a huge success. A lot of people used the opportunity to cross the streets on the surface (and not underground) safely in big crowds. It was a pleasure to see human mobility.

People crossing at Blaha Lujza square on the artificial zebra crossing

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