Shared Spaces

MQT on 2009-06-17
Session date: 
June 17, 2009
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


I have been asked by Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and the London VI forum if, given your definition of shared space schemes in your Statement of Intent for the Transport Strategy that shared space is "An area of road where equal priority is given to vehicle and pedestrian traffic (taking into account the needs of disabled people)" will you accept the recommendation from the disabled people protesting outside City Hall today and make it a condition of funding that kerbs or some kind of differentiation in road space are incorporated into the design for Exhibition Road?


Answer for Shared Spaces

Answer for Shared Spaces

Answered By: 
The Mayor

In Way to Go! I set out the case for the developing more shared space schemes across the capital. Whilst there is a lot of attention focused on the flagship schemes such as Exhibition Road and Oxford Circus, a wider spectrum of work can be considered part of the 'shared spaces' programme. It includes schemes to improve the urban realm in town centres across London (e.g. Dagenham Heathway, Richmond Town Centre and Sutton Town Centre), small scale local improvements and wider programmes to remove unnecessary guardrail, signage, street clutter and traffic signals across the capital. The underlying aim of all of this work is to achieve a better balance between the needs of vehicles and other road users and to improve the look, feel and quality of the urban realm. Not all shared space schemes will include single surface but in some cases it is appropriate to remove the kerb and replace it by other physical delineators that can be recognised by the blind and visually impaired. In all cases, safety and the needs of all road users remains a key issue.

Indications from monitoring shared space schemes in Europe suggest there has been a reduction in casualties. We will be monitoring this closely in London and the UK. Early indications are that the UK may be similar to Europe - a shared space scheme in New Malden provides some evidence of this.

The scheme at Exhibition Road, developed by Kensington & Chelsea and the City of Westminster will deliver a much needed radical enhancement to an area that is visited by more than 11 million people per year. I am keen to support this scheme and ensure it is delivered before the 2012 Olympic Games.

The details of the Exhibition Road design, including what form of delineation for blind and partially sighted people to follow, is a decision that I consider is best taken by the relevant highway authorities i.e. the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster.

I am aware that the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association has concerns about the shared space design being considered and that they are discussing these issues with the relevant boroughs. TfL is assisting in this work by organising tests of the various designs for tactile paving. I will be closely monitoring shared space schemes as they are developed, with the aim of providing research and guidance to boroughs.