End of the road for controversial shared space schemes

Photo Emma Mitchell 31.10.16'Shared space, Kirkintilloch
Photo Emma Mitchell 31.10.16'Shared space, Kirkintilloch

The divisive shared space at Kirkintilloch town centre may have to be redesigned - after the UK government signalled the end of the controversial road layouts because of concerns they are too dangerous for large numbers of pedestrians.

A report published by the Department for Transport has called on councils to suspend the roll-out of the schemes after widespread complaints, according to The Times newspaper yesterday (Thursday, July 26).

It follows a rise in the number of shared space projects that seek to declutter streets by removing barriers, kerbs, road markings and traffic signs, including the controversial road layout at Cowgate.

The design was supposed to create a less intimidating environment for pedestrians, while reducing the dominance of motor vehicles. The theory is that drivers will reduce their speed because of uncertainty over who has priority.

However a review published this week acknowledged that many people had “significant concerns about them”. It said that groups representing visually impaired people “expressed concern that ‘shared space’ schemes were dangerous and difficult to navigate.”

The strategy said that local councils should “pause the development of shared space schemes” pending an update of the guidelines.

The move raises the prospect that streets that have already been overhauled will have to be redesigned when the new guidance is published.

It follows a series of accidents on shared space roads in recent years.

Last year, a taxi ran into a crowd of visitors on a shared space scheme at Exhibition Road in Kensington, west London, injuring 11 people.

The move raises the prospect streets that have already been overhauled will have to be redesigned when the new guidance is published.

It follows a series of accidents on shared space roads in recent years. A notable scheme is the upgrade of Exhibition Road in Kensington, west London, a boulevard popular with tourists. Last year, a taxi ran into a crowd of visitors on the road injuring 11 people.

In Gloucester, the Kimbrose Triangle area of the city centre was turned into a shared space in 2011, with the carriageway marked by coloured materials. Four years later, a pedestrian crossing had to be installed after complaints over safety.

Andrew Hodgson, president of the National Federation of the Blind of the UK, said: “The government has listened and we are positive that the only way forward is for inclusive design guidance, which will have to include kerbs and controlled crossings to ensure pedestrians do not have to share space with vehicles.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/shared-space-for-traffic-and-pedestrians-runs-out-of-road-fcvxzj2b6

The Herald is awaiting a comment from East Dunbartonshire Council.