Shared space

MQT on 2012-05-23
Session date: 
May 23, 2012
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


You have pledged more shared space improvements to London streets. What is your response to Guide Dogs for the Blind's concerns about the impact of these developments for blind and visually impaired people?


Answer for Shared space

Answer for Shared space

Answered By: 
The Mayor

TfL and London's boroughs are committed to improving London's streets and spaces under my Better Streets programme. The underlying principles of Better Streets include allowing a better balance to emerge between the different users of London's streets and spaces, and improving the connectivity and appearance of streets by stripping away clutter and using good quality materials that reflect the local character of places. This approach is applicable to all of London's streets and spaces. In addition, there are locations where an approach based on shared space, of which there are now many working examples in the UK and abroad, can reduce traffic speeds (while maintaining vehicular throughput) and empower pedestrians, cyclists and other road-users to negotiate their way through a busy environment that would in normal circumstances be excessively dominated by motor-vehicles. This will not always involve level surfaces, but it may. Level surfaces, where kerbs are removed, can offer significant benefits to mobility-impaired people and those with other disabilities. I accept that the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association has a particular issue with an absence of kerbs, because of the role they play in the training of guide dogs. That is why I have asked TfL to work closely with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to monitor the results of the shared space improvements made to Exhibition Road, one of the largest and busiest shared spaces in the country. I will be happy to study any lessons that arise from that monitoring and to take them into account when striking a balance between the needs of all road-users as we improve London's public realm.