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Shared Space

From Lesley M

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Shared Space: Poynton Regenerated

Is this the answer to Hebden Bridge’s traffic problems? Have a look at this 15-minute Youtube clip and see what you think.

From Andy M

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Which junction/'problem' do you mean Lesley?

From Graham Barker

Sunday, 17 March 2013

If this works at all, it first needs trialing in all city centres. Get it into the national psyche, then spread it out. I remember years ago, when the King Cross lights were forever down, traffic seemed to flow better when left to its own devices, so I buy the theory up to a point.

Where it'll go wrong in Calderdale is that it'll be regarded as a cheap fix by road planners conditioned to prioritise traffic. They'll most likely just take away the traffic lights, stick up a few signs and call the job done - witness our wonderfully successful 20 mph limit.

In Hebden Bridge we don't have the 'great divide' problem Poynton clearly had. There is a serious problem with the crossing from Holts to Holme Street, but most of that could be solved by simple conventional measures that haven't been tried because pedestrians don't count until they're killed and injured in statistically significant numbers.

For example, a yellow box would help keep vehicles off the pedestrian crossing when it's not their turn. One big tin of paint, basically. And a speed camera or two on Market Street; one incriminating picture is worth a thousand signs.

So shared space is interesting, but my reservation is that its advocates may be the same people who think scrapping the hard shoulder on motorways is a good idea. Let's have a more robust application of conventional solutions before leaping too far into the dark.

From Tim B

Thursday, 21 March 2013

I'm not sure what you mean about scrapping the hard shoulder Graham, but the practice of shared space is becoming well established. Particularly in the Netherlands, where it has been constructed retrospectively as in Poynton, and in Mediterranean countries where it developed ad hoc (think of an Italian town square).

I agree it shouldn't be introduced as a cheap fix, it does need good quality design.

Shared space has also been introduced in many towns in the UK already. I recently visited Caernarvon where the main square had been transformed, it was a pleasant experience. Cars traveled slower but there were no traffic queues, and pedestrians were free to wander at will without being corralled against railings or at specific crossing points.

Pedestrian casualty rates have been seen to drop rapidly in shared space areas.

From Graham Barker

Friday, 22 March 2013

This is the recent Yorkshire Post article that prompted my reference to motorway hard shoulders.

I'm sure the shared space concept has virtues but it isn't without its critics and some of the positive research findings seem questionable. For example, if many among the most vulnerable groups dislike shared space so much that they avoid it, that alone may account for reduced casualties.

To me, a fundamental problem with shared space is that if it goes wrong, it's the most exposed sharers - pedestrians and cyclists - who will pay for it. There is little or no risk to drivers, which leaves them top dogs - exactly as they are now.

I'm long enough in the tooth to predict with near certainty that if shared space schemes really take off, design standards will quickly drop, cost-paring will rule, and it'll all inch closer to Russian roulette. Yet we'll still be told how marvellous it is. That's just the way things go in PR-driven Britain.

From Beryl M

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

I doubt whether this will happen in the near future in Hebden Bridge, but how about if other road users just obeyed the law? When did it become acceptable for cyclists to ride on the pavement in the town centre? I'm not talking about children, but the adult cyclists who ride on the pavements and expect pedestrians to step aside for them. Even more dangerous, and inconsiderate, are those that cycle down Commercial St and use the ramp at the bottom to mount the pavement, not even considering those of us who may be coming out of our front gates (I speak from having had two recent near misses). Again, these are not children but adults.

Then there are the motorists who speed between Albert St and Station Rd, even at times when children are on their way to school. The New Rd/ Commercial St junction is a nightmare for parents with children. Some car drivers don't bother to indicate when they are planning to turn up Commercial Rd (probably because they are too concerned about avoiding the speeding drivers leaving Hebden Bridge) and I often see people waiting on the narrow sloping pavement for 5 minutes or more to cross - drivers rarely leave a space opposite the crossing point. One of my elderly neighbours told me years ago that she rarely walked into the centre because of the problems crossing this junction. This is also a great place to see motorists flout the law about using mobile phones when driving - I'm amazed that they think they can safely negotiate this junction with one hand on the wheel while nattering to their mates about their love life.

I'm not anti motorist or anti cyclist. My partner is a road cyclist and I often need to use his car. There are many good, considerate drivers around here (who I've also witnessed being harassed, tailgated and overtaken when they obey the 20mph speed limit) but I'm fed up to the back teeth with pedestrians being treated as second class citizens. I don't know whether it's because car drivers nowadays are cocooned in their private comfort zone with their window-rattling 'In Car Entertainment' systems and don't even notice pedestrians or whether it's a purely selfish 'I've got a car so I'm more important than you plebs' attitude.

As I said, I'd just be happy if drivers and cyclists obeyed the law and it would be a lot cheaper than a Shared Space scheme.