Monday, 8 April 2013

Question: When Is A ‘Shared Space’ Not A Shared Space?

Answer: Errrr, Southend Council will have to get back to you on that one…
Controversial shared space zone on Southend seafront is set to close overnight for three weeks to make it safer for pedestrians to cross. Marine Parade will be shut between 7pm and 7.30am from Mondays to Saturdays, starting on April 15, to allow four informal crossings to be installed in an area where two children were involved in accidents.
‘Informal’ crossings..?
Complaints about the shared space zone, in which pedestrians, drivers and cyclists are encouraged to mix freely, emerged shortly after it opened in March 2011.
Actually, they were around long before that! And they have, ever since opening, been pooh-poohed by Southend Council, who insisted they were perfectly safe and would not be changed.

Until they were.

So, just how will these ‘non-shared-space’ areas look?
The new paving will appear as wavy grey and white lines running at right-angles to the pavements. They will be positioned outside Chinnerys, the Hope Hotel, Circus Circus arcade and the Happidrome.
Basically, then, like washed-out zebra crossings? Isn't that going to be even more confusing?


SadButMadLad said...

Shared space areas do work. But only when implemented properly and in the right locations. Marina Parade does not seem to meet any requirement for a good shared space scheme*.

Trust a council to cock things up. If I was a conspiracy nut I could say that the council are implementing a crap scheme in order to show that shared spaces do not work. However I am more a believer in Occam's Razor and the Peter Principle, and that the council are just crap at their job and that an incompetent person was tasked with the project.

* Looking at Google Streetview (dated April 2012) it doesn't look like a shared space scheme that I would recognise.

John Pickworth said...

What SadButMadLad said - I agree.

Similar thing on Blackpool's seafront, which is currently being 're-engineered' too. These things work best when the users are left unsure who has right of way. The moment you attempt to guide or regulate priorities the users behaviour changes massively and system breaks.