Author Topic: Damning report on Shared Space by Lord Holmes - councils being sued. Regents Circus to cost SBC?  (Read 1602 times)

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Offline Tobes

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As many of you are already aware, Talk Swindon contributors have already exposed some of the issues arising from the decision to remove the designated crossings at Regents Circus.

Key amongst a myriad of comments and observations were;

- As far as I have been able to ascertain, the consultation of disabled user groups appeared to actually comprise of only one person from one group (and the scheme was essentially presented to them as a 'done deal')

- According to local councillors outside the cabinet scheme is no longer being officially referred to as 'shared space' by the council - although it appears they still believe the concept still functions as one (and there has been no replacement of the designated crossing previously in place, despite it being a busy pedestrian and traffic area)

- The Highway code clearly shows no legal obligation for drivers to stop at a shared space crossing

(and there are a host of other observations which clearly show the danger, inconvenience and lack of facility for any but the most able - if you'd like to recap, the thread is here - though be warned, its a long one! -,9881.0.html )

Well, yet again, Talk Swindon and its contributors lead the way when it comes to matters of prescience -

Halt city 'shared spaces', says report by Lord Holmes

Plans for further "shared spaces" for drivers and pedestrians in urban areas should be put on hold, a report says.
Shared spaces try to make drivers take more care by removing traffic signs, pedestrian crossings and even kerbs.
Lord Holmes of Richmond commissioned a survey of 600 people which suggested that 63% rated their experience of shared spaces as poor.

Lord Holmes said he hoped the study would change attitudes to "these dangerous and costly planning follies". The report also found more than a third actively avoided shared spaces and there was a significant under-reporting of accidents in such areas.

Former Paralympian Lord Holmes, who is blind, said: "An immediate moratorium on all shared space is absolutely essential. I hope that this survey will act as a wake-up call to all involved in these dangerous and costly planning follies.

"Town centres are being turned into dangerous third-world traffic free-for-alls. Shared space is not a safe place, overzealous councils are risking public safety for aesthetics and the result is confusion, chaos, unnecessary cost and catastrophe."

Interesting... but not as interesting as the following, the potential for which we have already predicted and which ought to have been bloody obvious right from the start:

There is no single definition of a shared space but the Department for Transport (DfT) considers it as "a street or place designed to improve pedestrian movement and comfort by reducing the dominance of motor vehicles and enabling all users to share the space rather than follow the clearly defined rules implied by more conventional designs".
Lord Holmes believes the results of the survey clearly demonstrate that these schemes do not "improve pedestrian movement and comfort" and "enable all users to share the space".

The reports recommends:
An immediate moratorium on shared space schemes while impact assessments are conducted
An urgent need for accessibility audits of all shared space schemes and a central record of accident data including "courtesy crossings", which must be defined and monitored
That the Department for Transport (DfT) must update its guidance so that local authorities better understand their responsibilities under the Equalities Act.

Shared spaces are also facing a legal challenge, with solicitor Chris Fry from Unity Law is representing five visually impaired people who are suing the local authorities responsible for their local shared spaces. He said: "They are taking action against their local authorities because pedestrian crossings have been removed from their shared spaces. The idea is that pedestrians will make eye contact with drivers and that will lead to greater safety. But the visually impaired cannot do that and local authorities are in breach of their duty as service providers under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments to the shared space."

A DfT spokesperson said: "It is for local authorities to assess the suitability of introducing a shared space scheme on their roads. As part of this we expect them to take into account the needs of the whole community, particularly disabled people."

Does anyone think SBC undertook that aspect properly?  :-\
« Last Edit: July 03, 2015, 12:07:09 PM by Tobes »

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'