* Update – July 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…”.
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.
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.”
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
* 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.