Share the roads

There is some evidence that road safety and overall vehicle speed is reduced where the demarcations between pedestrian areas (the pavement) and vehicle areas (the road) are removed, along with most of the signage, road markings, traffic lights etc.

This doesn't mean pedestrianising the area, it just means removing the perception of an automatic right of way for cars.  That way, everyone has to be more aware of what's going on around them, rather than driving (or walking, or cycling) on auto-pilot.

I think this could be quite effective in smaller streets which are not significant thoroughfares for traffic (I'm thinking residential side streets, or perhaps roads like Cotham Hill that are lined with cafes and restaurants). On major roads like Whiteladies I can imagine absolute chaos.

I'm not a town planner or traffic engineer - I have no idea whether this would negatively impact:

  • Access for people with hearing, visual or mobility impairments
  • Residential parking provision
  • Anything else..

I'd be interested to read comments from people who know more about these kind of schemes.

I am a car owner btw - this is not intended to be a driver-bashing (or anyone-else-bashing) idea!

Wikipedia entry on shared spaces.

Why the contribution is important

Not wanting to necessarily tie this into George's 20mph crusade, but it seems that slow speeds are more likely to be self-policing if cars don't automatically rule the road.

Paved roads with fewer signs and markings would be more attractive.  Perhaps we could plant some trees or grow some vegetables instead.

by user952345 on November 20, 2013 at 05:17PM

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