Camden's trans crossing causes stir over impact on disabled community

Trans crossing

The new crossing on the corner of Marchmont Street and Tavistock Place. - Credit: Cllr Danny Beales

A new colourful crossing installed in Camden to support the transgender community has caused a stir amid accusations it is harmful to people with disabilities.

The trans flag crossing - a first in Camden - was unveiled at the junction of Marchmont Street and Tavistock Place yesterday (Monday, November 8).

It has been installed ahead of Transgender Awareness Week which starts on Saturday (November 13).

Councillor Abdul Hai, Camden's cabinet member for young people, equalities and cohesion 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."

While praised for supporting the transgender community, a number of responses to Cllr Danny Beales' post expressed concerns that the crossing would negatively impact those with disabilities. 

One Twitter user wrote: "Please rethink these terrible crossings. They are a hazard to people with vision and cognitive disabilities. There are other, safer (for everyone), ways to show the trans community is welcome."

Another said: "Pity that Camden pitches different excluded groups against each other. To support the Trans community you're excluding the disabled community. So easy to create designs that support both but again disabled people are let down."

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Cllr Beales (Cantelowes, Lab) invited both users to contact him regarding the difficulties they face.

Camden Council has confirmed that the crossing was installed after a full Equalities Impact Assessment and Road Safety Audit had been undertaken.

The council said it is "committed to engaging with disability groups to discuss the accessibility of the crossing", and will continue doing so now the crossing is in use.

The criticism comes after coalition group Transport for All (TfA) expressed their concerns about colourful crossings in a letter written to London mayor Sadiq Khan at the end of September.

Part of a project launched earlier this year with designer Yinka Ilori, TfA wrote that such designs "create safety and accessibility concerns" for some disabled people.

The group - comprised of representatives of the Alzheimer's Society, RNIB and Guide Dogs (among others) - identified those with visual impairments, learning disabilities and dementia as being especially vulnerable.

A post written by TfA on November 3 said Mr Khan had agreed to a "temporary pause on the installation" of such crossings.

This newspaper has sought confirmation of this from the mayor's office.