The “Joint Space” Farce

When I heard about how the space between the docks and Southgate Street was to be developed (through the Linkages Scheme), I thought it was brilliant news, and also the interesting idea of “Shared Space” between vehicles and pedestrians, IE both using the same bit of road and taking care not to run into each other. I have heard about it before in other towns, so though it would be good.

The Linkages scheme over ran badly, though not all the fault of the contractors, there was some archeology issues and other things, but it is reported in the paper today that all is well and looking great.

However, I must say that I think the Shared space is a really badly executed idea.  I had the misfortune of driving up it the other day, and I found the lack of signage very disconcerting.  I knew what I was driving into, and even I was a bit unsettled, imagine how a visitor must feel.  There is a desperate need for clear signage about what you are going to drive into and what rules exist.  With families and especially kids,

As a pedestrian, I really like the way the shared space seems to extend Southgate street and makes the shops further down much more accessible.  So that part of it has worked nicely.

So, whats my answer.  I think that the Shared space that is on Southgate street should be Pedestrian Only!  (obviously with caveats for deliveries etc). 

Have the traffic be able to navigate round the Triangle, bit, with a pick up/drop off point, and I would even be happy with that as shared space with good signage, but there is no need for all of Southgate Street to be shared space that I can see, and it would make it a much safer place and a nicer place to walk up and down.

Thoughts?

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5 Comments so far:

  1. Barry says:

    It would seem that its not just me…

    http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Gloucester-s-deadly-shared-space/story-12746644-detail/story.html

    I still think that pedestrianising it from Kimbrose upto the Cross is the way forward really and having the Space sharing just round the Kimbrose Triangle.

  2. James says:

    I tackle this daily and have experienced the shared space as a pedestrian, cyclist and driver and to date, have not seen many drivers yield to pedestrians. This may change as local drivers become used to it but am concerned someone will be seriously injured or worse. The concept will not be familiar to many drivers and to the best of my knowledge, it does not feature in any driver training, be it elementary or advanced level. The Linkages scheme overall looks great. In general, I think city centres thrive more without vehicles. Cities are about people and their cars can be left outside, leaving workers, shoppers, residents and tourists to go about their business in a safe/clean environment.

  3. Matt says:

    Wow, a debate about a shared space scheme! Cool. Well, there are a number of fundamental reasons why this ‘shared’ space’ won’t work, particularly not how it was hoped it would.
    1. The carriageway width running through the main arc which runs around the docks boundary is kept at the same width as both the approach and the exit – basically the same width as the road was to start with.

    This means that drivers are not impeded in any way as they travel through the area. The fundamental point with these schemes is to limit driver speeds by making them aware they are entering a different type of area which is used by pedestrians (essentially intentionally creating a potential conflict), done partly by reducing road widths and also winding areas.

    2. The material used in the road surface is the same inside and outside of the area. They have used standard tarmac as the surface for the main arc road, meaning there is no indication for drivers that they are in a different type of area (again). They have coloured the tarmac a dirty yellow, but this isn’t enough.

    A very good scheme exists in Bristol city centre where rough cobbled materials have been used for the road ways. This gives a very clear signal to the driver, through vibrations, that they need to pay extra care. They have used different materials within the bus only route through the triangle in Gloucester, but didn’t take this approach far enough.

    3. Signage is this case is actually needed on the approach areas to let drivers know. Generally, the whole point of these schemes is to reduce or even eliminate signage from the public realm, which de-clutters our spaces and re-claims them from car-dominance. In this case, sins are now needed, otherwise people have no idea what is going on, given there are no other visual of physical cues to rely on.

    I’ve personally waited ages to try and cross into town and the cars just keep going at the same speed through the area, without stopping – and why would they? Very disappointing result, but i’m hoping the art installations will be more effective!

  4. Matt says:

    Forgot to say…

    we had a lecture at uni from the transport planner who designed the Bristol example. Once the scheme had been completed, there were massive improvements is road safety, particulalrly at hot spots where people were crossing. Previously there had been around 7 hotspots, but after, it was concentrated into only one spot, and this at a much reduced incident rate. These schemes are actually safer than normal road schemes as they reduce car speeds and make everyone aware of each other. Cars going slower means more time to react to potential conflicts and more time for pedestrians and cyclists to react.

  5. Mike says:

    not sure where the official dogma about this comes from, this is a simple safety issue; from recent citizen articles kimbrose way is not to get acrossing; as the public must be educated !!

    as far as i can see there is nothing in the highway code to cover this shared area situation. the code does however advise not to cross on a blind corner. so where is the point of reference form which the public is supposed to learn. It would appear the county great and good are making it up as they go along.

    as the 20 mph restriction (severn rd – spa rd) how come North warehouse has a pedestrian crossing? If the road is unsafe at on a straight sector, with the same density of 10-20 vehicles/minute, what makes it safe on the corner?

    to follow the council arguement to its logical conclusion why not remove the pelican crossing out side North warehouse and save the electric??

    from my quick analysis the cross is true pedestrian area( 10 -20 vehicles/day), southgate should be a shared area (10-20 vehicles/hour) and kimbrose way is a road (10-20 vehicles/minute) most motorway slip roads have less

    Bristol sounds more controlled; who wants to drive overcobbles at 20mph. because

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