Monday, January 22, 2007

"Shared space" traffic measures

Tories to propose "naked streets" idea.

It's an interesting concept "shared space" and shared responsibility in the urban environment. Give car users, cyclists, and pedestrians equal responsibility to look after themselves and all other road users in our towns. It sort of works like this, you take away the road signs, and the traffic lights, and the road markings, and even (if you're brave enough) the kerbs, thus merging the street space into one broad unit and forcing road users to be much more wary of each other's movements.

The idea is being imported from Holland and the town of Drachten, where the removal of traffic lights at one major junction has resulted in accidents falling from thirty-six in the four years before the scheme was introduced to two in the next two years. The average time for each vehicle to cross the junction fell from 50 seconds to 30 seconds, despite a rise in the volume of traffic.

So if there is a mild anxiety in this street space, we will all be that little more careful and take a little more time, that's the theory. Perhaps people are that little more caring towards one another in Holland, I'm not so sure about the U.K. where we have at least 40 anti-social hotspots dotted around the country. Who would take a chance wandering up Westoe Road if there was no pavement and no kerbs?

Not me - it's just a little too adventurous for the moment.


Times Online.

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