Exhibition Road "shared space" (sort of)

Discussion in 'transport' started by teuchter, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter


    Saw the newly completed redesign of Exhibition Road yesterday for the first time.

    So RBKC seem to have negotiated their way around the objections from guide dog users, and managed to do it without kerbs after all.

    (Bit more info here)

    The result: looks much better than before, for sure.

    It's a bit unclear whether it's really a "shared space" or not, though. The lack of kerbs certainly makes it feel different, but the tactile paving and drainage grilles still suggest a line that has to be crossed. Not many pedestrians were walking on the "carriageway" part of it. There are (temporary-)looking signs saying that motorists must give way to pedestrians but it's not really clear what this means - does that mean pedestrians can wander at will on the "carriageway" bit?

    We tried walking on it and got beeped/gestured at by a couple of drivers, one a cab driver. Other drivers just drove around us. Some pedestrians actually told us to get off the carriageway, interestingly.

    Some people who were just trying to cross from one side to the other got beeped at by speeding cars.

    There is a 20mph speed limit but a lot of drivers were ignoring it; black cabs definitely being the worst offenders.

    It's going to be interesting to see how it gets used in the end, once people have got more used to it. Are Brits too brainwashed into car culture to have the confidence as pedestrians to assert their presence on the roadway, or for drivers to behave considerately?
  2. fjydj

    fjydj is specified

    think this one street has cost getting on for £30 MILLION :eek:

    IMO its only going to work if motor traffic is not permitted to use the road as a rat run and most of the car parking spaces are removed… however apparently
    anyway heres some videos of cars driving slowly and stopping for pedestrians !!!:


    and heres some thumbs up from the local LCC


  3. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    This is perhaps significant... I wonder whether the majority of drivers who are not giving way, and who are ignoring the speed limit, are ones who use the route regularly.

    I think that if I was driving, and came upon Exhibition Road without knowing about the shared space thing, the way it is laid out *would* make me go more cautiously than usual. However, if I used it regularly, and found that I could get away with treating it like a normal road, then that caution might gradually evaporate.

    I reckon that's what's going on with the taxi drivers at least. I wonder if a bit of enforcement would be helpful - do a few of them for speeding.
    muscovyduck likes this.
  4. hash tag

    hash tag member

    Was just thinking about this and from experience, I don't think this has made much if any difference.
    The real issue is education, of all road users and pedestrians and a one of pilot scheme is not really
    giving this scheme much of a chance?
  5. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    I was there on Sat evening and cars felt as dominant as ever.
  6. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    It is, or was, one of the main routes into London from the West so unless they have changed this it seems likely that vehicles are going to still dominate. Might have been better to have tried this experiment on a section of roads less used by vehicles.
  7. T & P

    T & P |-o-| (-o-) |-o-|

    I'm on it right now. It's a mess. Cars allowed to park on it as well

    Winot likes this.
  8. hash tag

    hash tag member

    Doesn't it run between the main routes into town?
  9. sankara

    sankara Well-Known Member

    I work just off Exhibition Road. I cycle on it every day and you're absolutely right, as with all other roads, there are plenty of drivers who drive dangerously down it and there is no pretense of shared space at all in it's use. It's just another road that happens to look a little bit different. The only difference I've noticed is that when pedestrians cross the entrance to side streets, they tend not to look before crossing the road, far more than they would in a more standard road layout. I certainly cycle a lot slower then I otherwise would when approaching these areas as a result. It is nicer than it was before though.
    TikkiB likes this.
  10. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Yes you are right, I just checked on Googlemaps, it is at right angles to the main drag into London which I mistook it for.
  11. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

    Oh welty :facepalm:
  12. Belushi

    Belushi 01 811 8055 R.I.P.

    I've only been there in the evenings since the changes were made but it definitely felt an improvement on the way it used to be.
  13. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    I don't know why this has to be explained to Kensington and Chelsea council, but HOW CAN DRIVERS BE EXPECTED TO KNOW IT IS A SHARED SPACE IF YOU DON'T TELL THEM? The temp signs came down ages ago, there are no bollards to weave around to force people to slow down (which there should be at either end imo), and there's no standard road markings for shared space. So it's just a road, as you say.

    I saw an even more dangerous version of this in (I think) Gloucester. They'd built a shared space, unmarked, on the CORNER of a main road through the city centre. So obviously cars just come around the corner at 30-40 mph. It's insane and dangerous to pretend it's a shared space.

    I actually really like shared space, but there need to be road markings for it, and stuff to force drivers to slow down as they enter it, and probably signs until people get used to it (a good few years).
    muscovyduck and Belushi like this.
  14. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    I don't often get into London!
  15. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    I think the "shared space" concept may simply be incompatible with London (or UK) driving culture, sadly. For now, anyway.
  16. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

    You don't need to go in to town often to know that they have not made the A4 in to a fluffy shared space you loon :D
    Belushi likes this.
  17. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

    It does work, but needs humps. My local high street is pretty much a shared space and the humps keep everything pootling along nice and slowly.


  18. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Pleased it works in Toytown Godalming but I think maybe drivers are a bit less aggro there than in London, and if I remember rightly isn't that high street essentially bypassed by the main road running parallel a block or two away?
  19. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

    Yeah, so what? Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea is hardly Aleppo and exhibition road is not a main thoroughfare either.
  20. hash tag

    hash tag member

    From memory, it seems to calm drivers down in Stowmarket OK.
    Many who use this road do not use the road regularly like the users in out out London attempts at this. Most of the car users in Exhibition Rd
    are from out of town as are the peds who are understandably very cautious. It was a brave attempt at trying something new and it's
    difficult to know what the answer is.
    Bahnhof Strasse likes this.
  21. TikkiB

    TikkiB Well-Known Member

    This - I spend a lot of my time walking up and down it as I spend time at places at either end of it, and I hate it - never mind about being more cautious. As a pedestrian I feel actively stressed when I cross the road because a) you can't assume the cars understand the notion of shared space - going by the number who drive quite fast down it, and don't indicate when going round the little roundabout into Prince Consort Road at the back of the Albert Hall, I'd say not many, and b) I hate watching hapless tourists wander into the centre of the road without looking.
  22. fredfelt

    fredfelt Mostly unknown member

    You might find this blog on the street interesting "Shared" space on Exhibition Road
    hash tag likes this.
  23. salem

    salem Well-Known Member

    Down the bottom end where the cafe's are towards South Ken tube works quite well. However the main drag along by the Science museum definitely doesn't feel suitable. It feels more like a wide pavement with the 'road' bit still being like a road. I think it's partly because the cars parked in the middle seem to create a mental separation.

    It's a step in the right direction but could have been better and more suitable roads. But I suspect it was a case of 'how to improve this specific road' rather then 'lets try out shared spaces, where might be a suitable spot?'

    Obviously a different council, but Soho would be the ideal place to show off shared spaces IMHO. They are almost there already and it's quite self policing.
    muscovyduck and Winot like this.
  24. hash tag

    hash tag member

    It's been said above; it's not a shared space. They have removed the kerb to put doubt in everyones mind, so so far so good. Then to take
    the doubt away, they put in bollards, returning the road to us and them. From memory, there are no chicanes or the like, which makes
    the car route a straight run and doing nothing to slow them down. Ok, the shared space is supposed to help with that, but it's not exactly
    a shared space.
    I agree, Soho would be a good choice for this or even to make it pedestrian with deliveries only during certain hours. Going further off thread,
    Oxford Street should certainly be pedestrianised. It has been done occasionally, why not 08:00 until 18:00 perhaps?
  25. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    The problem with pedestrianising Oxford St is that there are so many buses that use it, I think.
  26. hash tag

    hash tag member

    Many buses do use it. But it's closed a few times a year to all traffic. The buses can be worked around it.
    If transport is required in Oxford Street, close it to all traffic except for a tram running back and forth, nowt else.
  27. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    When thinking of traffic calming, exclusions and shared space it is often useful to ask: what would the Romans do?
  28. hash tag

    hash tag member

    It appears Exhibition Road is not working as well as expected. Roads shared by pedestrians, cyclists and drivers 'cause chaos'
    Ideally, it is supposed to put doubt (cause chaos) in the minds of drivers, thus encouraging them to drive far more cautiously. The speed limit down there is restricted anyway, which should also make it safer. Have there been many accidents or injury's I wonder?
  29. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Yeah, I've been down there a few times recently and it doesn't seem to be working. As described further up the thread effectively the "shared" space is divided into two with pedestrians on one side and cars on the other, but with no formal delineation of pavements etc.

    Drivers don't appear to be treating it much differently from any other road - they don't really seem to be going any more slowly or cautiously than on a "normal" street".

    The removal of signage clutter (although some has been half-heartedly reinstalled), etc, does provide for a better looking streetscape but it's no good if it's making things dangerous.

    Of course, my preference would be to make a genuine effort to force drivers to change their behaviour rather than abandoning the whole scheme but that seems a bit optimistic.
    muscovyduck likes this.
  30. bi0boy

    bi0boy Power User

    A busy wide two-way road with parking open to through traffic is never going to be a successful "shared space". Either block it in the middles so it's access only, or make it one-way with a 6ft wide delineated vehicle path.

    Just taking the pavement away and replacing the kerb with a drain doesn't make it "shared space". :rolleyes:
    muscovyduck likes this.

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