Hackney’s all-together traffic plan hits the road

Leonard3: HACKNEY COUNCIL shared-street-space junction Paul-Leonard streets junction Shoreditch 260616 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Hackney council-supplied picture 260614
Sharing the space: computer graphic image supplied by Hackney council

* UpdateJuly 2015: The scheme reported below has been named overall winner in something called the Urban Transport Design Awards.

HACKNEY COUNCIL has moved further towards implementing its shared-street-space policy throughout the borough.

The council has reshaped Leonard Circus (Paul and Leonard streets junction) in Shoreditch, calling it “London’s most advanced shared street space… attractive, people-orientated…”.

Daniel Nelson, one of the scheme’s designers Shoreditch 260616 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Daniel Nelson, one of the scheme’s designers

This is how the council says the scheme, shown above in the graphic image above left will work:

* motorists at the low-traffic junction are expected to adapt their behaviour, drive slowly and give way to individuals on foot and bike;

* trees and seating take centre-stage in the new layout in the nod-to-continental-style urban hub;

* Sharp LED lighting and soon-to-go-live CCTV cameras will allow the space to be used safely 24 hours a day;

* kerbs have been removed and road markings and traffic signs minimised to de-prioritise vehicles.

Safety, Tower Hamlets-style: Cable Street cyclepath, one of northeast Londons best-used, segregates two-wheel traffic © david.altheer@gmail.com
Safety, Tower Hamlets-style: Cable Street E1 0BL separates two-wheel traffic from cars

The idea of preferring to mix motorised and cycle traffic, rather than using segregated or even kerbed ways, as in other boroughs and more so on the Continent, fits with the ideas of London Cycling Campaign’s Hackney branch.

The policy is controversial, even among members. One wrote on the LCC website: “Shared space just doesn’t work – it’s just another anti-segregationists’ fantasy, just like the belief that imposition of a 20mph speed limit makes it OK for cyclists to share road space with lorries and buses.”

A vox pop by Loving Dalston found overwhelming support among pedestrians and cyclists for the junction although some pedestrians were reluctant to let their sub-teen children use the junction. But Neil Byrne, of Herne Hill, said: “People are becoming used to shared-surface. It’s a really good idea.”

Feryal Demirci, neighbourhoods councillor, said: “More commuters travel by bike than car in Hackney and we’re determined to cater for their needs.”LBH-supplied

The previous traffic scheme, now admitted to have been a failure, included the placing of a giant reel, pictured left. The council has dumped it in – sorry, relocated it to – Shoreditch Park when the reference of a film reel tcp northeast London-born Alfred Hitchcock turned out to be wrongly based.

A survey of 4,500 Britons published this week by Halfords, a cycle retailer, has found that the prime demand is for more dedicated cycle routes.

Hamish Scott 260414  

* Official opening: Fri 27 June 2014 at 1pm. Main picture: Loving Dalston photograph of the new scheme

* Backstory: Hackney 20mph limit by 2015 and Cycling tsar talks the talk

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

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4 thoughts on “Hackney’s all-together traffic plan hits the road

  1. I think shared space is great for Dalston.

    I lived around there and I believe it might just take a while untll all traffic participants are used to this new traffic solution, but it is worth it: http://smart-magazine.com/space/interview-ben-hamilton-baillie/
    We need to be a little more patient, I think, don’t you agree?

    Yes, and thank you for the URL. Patience is a virtue/Possess it if you can./Seldom in a woman/never in a man. – Ed.

  2. Thanks for pointing out that not everyone wholeheartedly welcomes these schemes.

    Feryal Demirci, neighbourhoods councillor, says: “More commuters travel by bike than car in Hackney and we’re determined to cater for their needs.”

    But more people (and more vulnerable people) walk rather than cycle or drive (combined) so why igore their needs (and force them to avoid the area)?

    Shared spaces are bad for pedestrians, particularly those with sensory impairments. And there are plenty of those …walking to and fro from the nearby Moorfields Eye Hospital.

    For those in doubt about the hazards of shared space and shared surfaces, check out the link

    http://www.rnib.org.uk/campaigning-campaign-resources-my-street/shared-space

  3. I always thought of the reel as a cross-head screw, a homage to Hackney’s regular road-layout screwups.

    Presumably, all this civil engineering going on in Shoreditch Park is so that we won’t notice when the 18-storey tower goes up soon at its northeastern corner.

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