Shared Space approach to urban design

A presentation to city council staff by Phil Jones and Ben Bailie explaining how the traditional approach to traffic and other road users of separating them can be better approached by looking at how streets and street space can be shared, often by requiring traffic to move more slowly.
Poynton Cheshire hamilton bailie SharedPlanWeb a0550h
Examples were shown. Poynton in Cheshire, Brighton, Ashford, Bexleyheath, even Berne.
And clearly in the case of Poynton, it’s solved a major problem.
And yet, broadly speaking, has sustained the volumes of traffic, by removing road width, railings and signals, designing a solution that requires slower traffic speed cos drivers of vehicles have to think about other road users, but not about overtaking or changing lane.
We’ve seen it in Nottingham on Mansfield Road some years ago where bus lanes reduced average traffic speed to 19 mph, which actually allowed the volume of traffic to be sustained.

IMG_5040b0218h LH highways and public spaceThe approach doesn’t say get rid of highways, but does illustrate the difference between highways and shared space –
Highways – regulated, impersonal, linear, single purpose, consistent, predictable, systematic, state controlled, signs and markings;
Shared space – culturally defined, personal, spatial, multi-purpose, constantly changing, unpredictable, contextual, cultural and social rules, negotiation and anticipation.
The obvious challenges to shared space – beyond criticism by groups representing the disabled – is the cost of materials and the fresh challenges that narrow streets carrying high volumes of mass transport will bring. Important too to watch out for how streets look at night and how challenges that anti-social behaviour can bring or has brought. And fundamentally – in whose interest is street re-design being made – people or property developers? (And the interests can be different.)
But it’s great to see Nottingham looking to the success of these schemes elsewhere and looking to learn from others.


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