All our shared spaces so far have been on relatively quiet local roads: Elliott Street, Fort Street and Lorne Street in the city centre and the newly bypassed Totara Ave in New Lynn. In the UK things are a little more ambitious, as highlighted in a recent Better Cities & Towns article:
It’s been nearly a year since a major traffic light was removed at an intersection with 26,000 vehicles per day, heavily used by truck traffic in Poynton, Cheshire, England. A section of the town’s High Street was also renovated so that pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles all mix. The volume of vehicles is nearly double the upper limit for “shared space” intersections according to industry standards.
“This was the most ambitious shared space project — certainly in the UK — any anywhere else that I am aware of,” says Ben Hamilton-Baillie, a British urban designer who led the project.
Accidents have gone down so far, although Hamilton-Baillie cautions that it is too early to draw conclusions on safety. Traffic queues have been drastically reduced, despite an increase in pedestrian space of more than 100 percent.
Here’s what the intersection looked like previously (H/T Gordon Price):Compared to now:Perhaps what is most interesting is that traffic flow has actually improved, as well as safety improvements and a vastly nicer pedestrian environment.
The corner of Quay Street and Hobson Street, outside the entrance to the viaduct and a place where huge volumes of pedestrians are treated like scum, would be a great place for something like this.
The possibilities are endless…