CIHT launches streets review

January 10 2018   | Region: Cymru Wales, East Midlands, East of England, London, Hong Kong, Malaysia, North East & Cumbria, North West, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, SoRSA, South East, South West, West Midlands, Yorkshire & the Humber, Young Professional Network

CIHT launches streets review
‘Shared space’ is an unhelpful phrase that should no longer be used to describe a form of street design, according to a CIHT review published on Tuesday.
The Institution’s ‘Creating Better Streets’ document recommends that Government, local authorities and the transport sector instead start to use three more specific terms: ‘pedestrian prioritised streets’, ‘informal streets’ and ‘enhanced streets’ when developing future schemes designed to reduce the dominance of motor vehicles.
CIHT’s review points out that the phrase ‘shared space’ is open to interpretation. Local Transport Note 1/11 defines a shared space as ‘a street or place designed to improve pedestrian movement and comfort by reducing the dominance of motor vehicles and enabling all users to share the space…’
But some designers, the review claims, have taken this definition to mean there is a single space that is shared. While this may be true of some ‘shared space’ schemes such as at Leonard Circus in Hackney, it is less applicable to others such as at Poynton in Cheshire where the street is still generally divided into separate spaces for pedestrians and vehicles.
CIHT’s review proposes that the term ‘pedestrian prioritised streets’ is used to describe streets where those on foot “feel that they can move freely anywhere, and where drivers should feel they are a guest” such as at Leonard Circus.
‘Informal streets’ would describe streets where formal traffic controls such as signs, markings and signals are either absent or reduced. There is a footway and carriageway, “but the differentiation between them is typically less than in a conventional street”. Poynton in Cheshire is cited as an example.
Finally, the term ‘Enhanced streets’ would, the review suggests, describe streets where the public realm has improved and where restrictions on pedestrian movement – such as guardrail – have been removed, but where conventional traffic controls largely remain. A scheme in Walworth Road, Southwark, follows these principles.
CIHT’s review also argues that Government considers legislation to allow local authorities to give pedestrians priority on certain streets, clarifies the legal position of users of ‘courtesy crossings’ and reviews guidance for appropriate kerb heights and tactile paving for the benefit of visually impaired people.
The document makes 15 recommendations which broadly aim to improve awareness of the need to create streets that are inclusive and accessible for all, create a framework of outcomes for the basis of street designs and to conduct more detailed research into the needs of all users in such spaces. Eleven shared schemes in England were looked at as part of the review, with general conclusions drawn around their benefits and impacts.
CIHT President Andreas Markides said: “The issues around shared space have often been controversial and the recommendations that this review has made will, if put in place, help make our streets into the safe, inclusive environments that we need them to be.”
Chair of the document’s steering group Peter Dickinson added that CIHT, in undertaking the review, has worked to the principle that street design needs to meet the requirements of all users, so that inclusive environments are created. “The golden thread, enshrined in the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, must flow through the entire design, construction, operation and maintenance process,” he said.
The Lord Holmes of Richmond, who sat on the steering group, said: “I congratulate CIHT on taking the issue of accessibility and inclusion in the public realm seriously and making this report happen. I am delighted that the recommendations include ensuring that local authorities understand their duties with regard to the Equality Act and also recognise that greater awareness, better training, more research and improved guidance are all needed.”
He added he is delighted that regarding crossings, the report concludes that “there should be sufficient provision for all users to cross the carriageway safely and in comfort” and regarding kerbs, that the separation between carriageway and footway “should be clearly delineated and detectable by all”.
To read the complete ‘Creating Better Streets’ review, click here.

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