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by | 6th, January 2005

‘ALL street users are equal, but some it would have to be said are more equal than others.

Research suggests the average speed of traffic in London will be unchanged

And although Anorak applauds the theory behind the latest traffic management experiment, we’re not so keen on testing it in practice.

The Times says Exhibition Road in London, home to the Science, Natural History and Victoria & Albert museums, is to be stripped of all road signs, markings, barriers, traffic lights and even pavement as part of a scheme to create the country’s first “shared space”.

If successful, it could be extended throughout the country.

“The theory,” says the paper, “is that all street users are equal.

“Drivers will be forced to slow down and establish eye contact with pedestrians because they will no longer be able to assume that they have right of way.”

That is the theory. Of course, as any pedestrian who has ever collided with a car knows, not all road users are equal.

But such a minor detail hasn’t stopped the Dutch, who – needless to say – pioneered this concept, and it hasn’t stopped us from following their lead.

Ben Hamilton-Baillie, the urban designer responsible for the Exhibition Road experiment, explains that it will be like driving through a campsite.

“You don’t need signs everywhere on a campsite telling you to give way or stop or slow down,” he says, “because it’s blindingly obvious.”

It is indeed, but as not many of our major roads go through campsites at present and as there are no plans, to our knowledge, to pitch a load of tents in the middle of the M1, we’re not sure of Mr Hamilton-Baillie’s choice of model.

Nevertheless, we applaud the sentiment and we eagerly await the day that the same philosophy is extended to other famous London landmarks.

Starting with Regent’s Park zoo…’

Posted: 6th, January 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink