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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

The Guide Dogs for the Blind charity are campaigning against the Shared Space Design Concept for town centre and high street developments, often delivered by means of a shared surface street design.

In most cases the design involves removing the kerb that has traditionally separated areas for vehicles and pedestrians creating a shared surface street.

The shared space concept aims to create attractive shared ‘social’ areas and to reduce the dominance of vehicles to make streets more ‘people-friendly’.

In shared surface street design of the road and its surroundings are altered to cause changes in the behaviour of drivers, encouraging them to be extra cautious as they negotiate the new road layout.

Pedestrians, motorists and cyclists need to make eye contact to establish who has priority.

However this puts blind and partially sighted people at a serious disadvantage.

Blind and partially sighted people, particularly guide dog owners and long cane users are trained to use the kerb as a key navigation cue in the street environment. Its removal, without a proven effective, alternative feature, exposes blind and partially sighted people to greater risk, undermines their confidence, and so creates a barrier to their independent mobility.

Find out more here

saying no to shared streets on Twitpic

photo by Dominic Campbell

Tags for Forum Posts: Ladder traffic solutions, Wightman Road, road safety, shared space, tfl, traffic

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Wonder if these issues have been resolved in places where they have this street design?
It seems to me that a shared streets concept would require everyone to change the way they behave. In fact that's the point: to get everyone to ditch their old habits and learn to share the space. That includes blind people as much as it does everyone else.
And under the shared space principle, sighted drivers, cyclists and pedestrians will be aware that blind people might find the new system difficult, and will give them extra consideration accordingly.
I have concluded that this loyal tribal, “them and us” mindset gets us nowhere. The thing that is missing is consideration and manners from all sections.

Cyclists shouldn’t be evangelistic to all other road users and motor vehicle drivers should be more considerate to cyclists and pedestrians.

Treating others not in your gang as the enemy doesn’t make for a pleasant journey.

I like this shared space format that frequents a lot of our town centres, you automatically go slower and with more consideration, which cannot be a bad thing.

I have a vision of town centres being brought to a stand still because everyone is so considerate to each other, “no after you”, “I insist after you sir”, “oh but surely after you”………
Ha! I'd love that, Birdy! And car horns could be replaced by a polite voice saying: "I'm so sorry! My fault entirely!"
There is definitely something to be said about stopping vehicular traffic having preference in communities. There are often more pedestrians waiting at traffic lights than those that pass by in cars during one green phase.

Having said that, I think people shouldn't mix things up... cities and their traffic are certainly different to small towns and villages. Most, if not all of the current schemes are in smaller country towns and villages.
Bohmte in Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Germany uses the system successfully. Reuters reported.. There are some photos here.
The green party in Berlin have been agitating for a while now to try the system out in the centre of Berlin, if anything comes of it - I'll report it.

But bringing the discussion back to Harringay, I'm sure there are locations where a watered down system could work. I've already mentioned on HOL, that I think it would be a good idea to try levelling the road/pavement at the junctions of ladder/garden streets onto Green Lanes. I could also envisage the areas around Harringay Passage (Liz nb!!) also being made into shared space and therefore slowing down the traffic up and down the ladder..

But as ever, safety must be the first concern.. especially for blind people. In Munich last week a 28 blind woman was killed when she mistook the gap between two underground railway coaches for the door into the train.. No-one saw it happen and the driver assumed she had got onto the train and drove off...
I could also envisage the areas around Harringay Passage (Liz nb!!) also being made into shared space ...

The passage/street intersection on Falkland Rd could I suppose be classed as a 'shared area'. Even though railings have been included the paving has been raised to eliminate the curbs. Paving slabs with raised pattern surfacing are installed for the blind;

The passage/street intersection on Falkland Rd could I suppose be classed as a 'shared area'.

Yes, but.... ...This is definitely 'better than nothing' but perhaps should only seen as a first stage.

The railings shown indicate very clearly that 'traffic still has the right of way' - and could mow through if it wanted, which shouldn't be the case.

This area needs to be modelled into a 'plaza' (place/square) type area where traffic is (grudgingly) allowed through, the railings removed and the 'bumps' need IMO to be more severe..
People would park there if not for the railings I'm afraid...
I assumed that the railings were a sensible addition to stop people running out of the passage and across the road without looking.
John D said: I assumed that the railings were a sensible addition

No not sensible.. but a provocation to pedestrians.. as drivers nearly always assume that they can drive along roads much faster and with less concentration when pedestrians are 'caged-in' on a narrow pavement..

It's time to start taking down these barriers..!!
Well, the railings in question were installed under a previous safety campaign to prevent accidents to schoolchildren. But if you're sure, let's take them away and we'll let you know if there are any casualties.
The department for transport has recently undertaken a study which shows that on the whole railings don't have a significant impact on casualties, but where they do have an impact it's largely negative (i.e. injuries sustained jumping the barriers, people being squished against them by cars etc).

But the over arching thing is that you get layers on layers of safety measures, each of which are intended to do a specific thing - but the interactions between the various safety measures, not to mention the intended and unintended consequences of each are not really well understood.

I think that all safety measures probably have their place, but it's about using them deliberately and appropriately.

Maybe we need a masterplanning excercise of the area so we can see how all these things interact and how to make best use of the spaces we've got?



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