Ashland's Comprehensive Plan - Transportation Element (extract):

"Ashland has a vision - to retain our small-town character even while we grow. To achieve this vision, we must proactively plan for a transportation system that is integrated into the community and enhances Ashland's livability, character and natural environment...The focus must be on people being able to move easily through the city in all modes of travel, Modal equity...ensures that we will have the opportunity to conveniently and safely use the transportation mode of our choice, and allow us to move toward a less auto-dependent community."

Friday, June 02, 2017

Traffic in Villages -

- Safety and Civility for Rural Roads - A toolkit for communities

"Cars and lorries are part of our lives, for better or worse. Maintaining and protecting the quality of life against a background of growing traffic volumes is perhaps the greatest challenge facing most rural communities. Rural life depends on the highway network for connections and communication. Many villages lie along the route of busy country roads. Modern travel patterns and transport place huge pressures on the historic form and qualities of the rural landscape, threatening the economic sustainability and social cohesion upon which communities depend. It is a problem that is universal to village life in the modern world..."

Streets and village spaces have always served a multitude of purposes. Ever increasing traffic during the past century has created an imbalance at the cost of social and economic life. It is only recently that new models for shared space have begun to emerge, principally in cities and larger market towns. The principles illustrated by more complex urban schemes are still relevant for more modest rural application despite the very different context. 

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The Traffic Guru

by Tom Vanderbilt -  author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

Published 2008 The Wilson Quarterly


....The results were striking. Without bumps or flashing warning signs, drivers slowed, so much so that [Hans} Monderman’s radar gun couldn’t even register their speeds. Rather than clarity and segregation, he had created confusion and ambiguity. Unsure of what space belonged to them, drivers became more accommodating. Rather than give drivers a simple behavioral mandate—say, a speed limit sign or a speed bump—he had, through the new road design, subtly suggested the proper course of action. And he did something else. He used context to change behavior. He had made the main road look like a narrow lane in a village, not simply a traffic-way through some anonymous town...."

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Superblocks: how Barcelona is taking city streets back from cars

Modern cities are ruled by cars. Streets are designed for them; bikers, pedestrians, vendors, hangers-out, and all other forms of human life are pushed to the perimeter in narrow lanes or sidewalks. Truly shared spaces are confined to parks and the occasional plaza. This is such a fundamental reality of cities that we barely notice it any more.
Some folks, however, still cling to the old idea that cities are for people, that more common space should be devoted to living in the city rather than getting through it or around it.
But once you’ve got a city that’s mostly composed of street grids, devoted to moving cars around, how do you take it back? How can cities be reclaimed for people?
The city of Barcelona has come up with one incredibly clever solution to that problem...

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Parking-Free Street Revamp Boosts Sales, Will Expand

Friday, June 12, 2015

Two years after the city gave Fisherman’s Wharf a people-friendly redesign on two blocks of Jefferson Street, business is booming. Despite merchants’ fears that removing all car parking on the blocks would hurt their sales, they now say it had the opposite effect....
...In June 2013, the two blocks of Jefferson between Hyde and Jones Streets were made safer and calmer with wider sidewalks, textured pavement to calm motor traffic, and the removal of curbside car parking. One-way traffic was also converted to two-way.
Since then, sales on the street have risen. TheFisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District surveyed 18 of the 33 businesses on those blocks, and they reported month-over-month gross sales increases between 10 to 21 percent on average

“People are staying longer and spending more money,” said Troy Campbell, executive director of the Fisherman’s Wharf CBD. “Drivers are a little more cautious, I would say.”
Removing car parking to widen sidewalks provided more room for crowds and made storefronts more visible, said Campbell. “You look down the street, and you don’t have a string of cars that are part of the landscape. The businesses become the landscape.”
“A lot of the merchants came back to me and said, you know what, I thought losing the parking was going to be a problem, but I feel like people can actually see my windows now, and they’re engaging with us more.”:

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Common Sense of Place

What are streets for? What story should they tell? Featuring Ben Hamilton-Baillie. Produced by Martin Cassini in association with Maniac Films.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

How Bike Lanes & Shared Streets Pay for Themselves, and Then Some...

Forcing cars to share the road can yield tangible economic returns fast, new study finds.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

People & Traffic in Llan - Crowdfunding for change

"Everyone grumbles about Castle Street. Drivers in a hurry to get through would like all parking banned, pedestrians would like safe crossings, shopkeepers need to load and unload and want more parking for their customers, tourists want a pleasant place to stroll.
At the moment we have the worst of all possible solutions, some legal parking, some illegal parking, double yellows down one side giving motorists the illusion of a clear road - until they meet a large vehicle coming the other way, and pedestrians running the gauntlet. The only good thing is that it's so chaotic the traffic is often slow and there haven't been any serious accidents. There have been a lot of near-misses, minor bumps and startled pedestrians. Relying on poor traffic management to keep people safe isn't really a sensible policy..."
Breaking news: 
Crowdfunding target for Llangollen road survey reached !

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Preston, UK extends its "Shared Space"

“The project will continue the shared space that has already been created, by designing areas that are less dominated by traffic and friendlier for pedestrians.
“The project is not about pedestrianising Fishergate but will reduce traffic flow and create a more attractive, less cluttered, “shared space”, with better pedestrian links between key parts of the city centre.”
Westerly view of the completed new look Fishergate with it's 'shared space' highway

Friday, December 05, 2014

Reimagining Jay Street (Brooklyn, NY) With Shared Space and Protected Bike Lanes

A shared space design would give pedestrians priority on Jay Street near MetroTech. Image: Street Plans Collaborative for Transportation Alternatives
...Today, lots of people cross Jay near MetroTech, but the crosswalks and stop lights don’t always match the numerous pedestrian desire lines. The TA report suggests changing the street’s design to be more akin to shared space, where pedestrians are given more leeway and drivers no longer rely on markings and stop lights to navigate the street....

More at:

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Managing transport risks: what works?

"What does a transport safety regulator have in common with a shaman conducting a rain dance? 

They both have an inflated opinion of the effectiveness of their interventions in the functioning of the complex interactive systems they purport to influence or control..."

More at:

Shared Space on YouTube

Videos about Shared Space at

e.g. Introduction to Shared Space (1 of 2)

       Introduction to Shared Space (2 of 2)

Talking Shared Space With Ben Hamilton-Baillie

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Traffic Control: An Exercise in Self-Defeat* by Kenneth Todd

"...Statutes generally set penalties to reinforce common law obligations and discourage negligent acts. Right-of-way rules do the opposite. They diminish the main-street driver’s responsibility and place an extra burden on those who want to cross. Every day people are killed or injured because the law encourages the motorist to defy the most elementary safety rules and travel at high speed on urban arterial roads and intersections without looking for other traffic..Advertised as a panacea for all traffic ills in its early days, the traffic signal turned out to be one of those medicines that cures one disease and gives you another. It has been known since the late 1920s that signals reduce right-angle accidents at the cost of causing more rear-end and left-turn collisions. They first compress an hour's traffic into half an hour of green time and thereby halve all headways. They then make drivers go fast and keep close to the vehicle in front for fear of missing the green light, with their eyes up in the air rather than on the road. The combination of high speed, tailgating, diverted attention and sudden stops causes rear-end crashes..."


Kenneth Todd is a retired engineer in Washington DC.
His work is referenced in:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Don’t treat drivers like idiots, says urban expert

25th July 2013 in Oxford Mail, UK
A LEADING street designer has made suggestions on how St Giles could be improved for pedestrians.
Ben Hamilton-Baillie gave a talk on Tuesday night to a special joint meeting of cycling society Cyclox and Oxford Pedestrians’ Association (OXPA) about the potential pedestrianisation of St Giles.
The “urban design and movement” expert was previously commissioned by Oxford University in 2007 to draw up plans to show how the Parks Road-South Parks Road junction by the natural history museum could be opened up as a shared space for pedestrians, cyclists and cars, although the designs were never taken forward.
He specialises in European-style shared road space schemes, which involves the removal of road signs which “treat drivers like idiots”.
Instead, different coloured road surfaces and visual cues such as brickwork are used to encourage drivers to slow down, making roads less dangerous.
They can then be used by cars, cyclists and pedestrians at the same time. He suggested a number of possible ways that St Giles could be improved.
At the meeting in Oxford Town Hall, Mr Hamilton-Baillie said: “St Giles is an unusually wide street, historically used to drive cattle into town.
“At the moment, it is uncomfortable, the ways traffic use the space and the rather inconsequential median strip.”
He said that if he was redesigning it, he would consider using the boulevard style of widened pavements that give pedestrians more space.
In an hour-long talk to members of the two groups, Mr Hamilton-Baillie talked about the changing use of streets over time from traditional trading spaces.
He explained how in the internet age people no longer need to go into towns to shop so attracting visitors is as much about the visual appeal of a space.
In an Oxford Mail survey in November, 85 per cent of vehicles were clocked breaking the 20mph speed limit on St Giles.
Cyclox member Sue Rowe, of Iffley Road, moved to Oxford because she liked the cycling culture, but said she feels intimidated cycling along St Giles.
“We would like to get good ideas of how Oxford can be made friendlier,” she said.
“I have only just moved to Oxford but I had to struggle to find out where to go while cycling on St Giles.
“I think it would probably be better to narrow the road area and widen the pedestrian area.”
The meeting was chaired by OXPA chairwoman Sushila Dhall.
She said: “We are trying to take forward the idea of widening the pedestrian bit of St Giles, which we think is one of Oxford’s most beautiful squares.
“What we all want to have is an improved city experience.”
Mr Hamilton-Baillie concluded his talk with a warning that “any scheme is uncomfortable in its first six months.”
He also told the meeting: “You have to have a politician with vision [to take the scheme forward].”

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ashland, OR considers Woonerf for new Master Plan

The revised street network as presented includes a new street designation called a “Woonerf”. 
“Woonerf” is a Dutch term translated as “living street” which functions as shared public space for pedestrians, cyclists and for intermittent slow-moving, cautiously driven, automobiles. Limited parking opportunities may also be considered in the design of a Woonerf . The revised street network envisions such shared spaces along the riparian corridors to serve primarily as pedestrian and bicycle circulation, while maintaining an opportunity for limited local resident car circulation and fire apparatus access and staging areas. The introduction of Woonerfs into the potential street classifications for the plan area helps address a number of objectives that were raised in prior meetings. The primacy of pedestrians and cyclists in the design of a Woonerf helps establish public pathways along the riparian corridors and wetland features. Woonerfs are typically designed to have significantly less pavement than streets by providing a narrow 12ft wide driving surface meandering within a 20ft wide right of way. This allows for greater storm water retention and the slowing of surface water runoff which is a valuable design consideration in the immediate proximity of sensitive riparian and wetland areas. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Poynton - Update

15th June 2013
( See previous Video post - Poynton Regenerated , below )
Poynton was selected as runner-up, with a "highly commended" citation, at the annual CIHT awards event on 13 June 2013. The scheme by the City of London for Cheapside was selected as overall winner.
 Of Poynton, the judging panel commented:-
"The judges considered that this was an extremely courageous scheme which has succeeded in achieving significant economic and social benefits through the enhancement of ‘place’ whilst continuing to provide a route for significant volumes of traffic."

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Poynton Regenerated

by Martin Cassini A community in decline, divided by decades of anti-social traffic engineering, is reunited and revitalised by streetscape redesign. Ben Hamilton-Baillie describes his latest "shared Space" success.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Traffic control - the road to nowhere?

Martin Cassini video - A recut of existing material with an update and some previously unseen footage about the Portishead lights-off trial (it went permanent after journey times fell by over half with no loss of pedestrian safety)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

'Fewer injuries' in Ashford shared space road scheme

A scheme where pedestrians and car users share the same space has resulted in fewer accidents, according to Kent County Council (KCC). The scheme, which turned Ashford's ring road into streets where drivers and pedestrians have equal priority, has been in place since November 2008. Figures released by the authority show there has been a 41% drop in accidents in which people have been injured. Critics have argued the scheme is dangerous to blind people. Under the scheme, signs, traffic lights and pavements were removed... ...The architect behind the scheme, Ben Hamilton-Baillie, said: "The worst fears that the accident rate would increase have not been born out by the figures. "It's certainly safer - the difficulty with any scheme like this is that it increases the slight sense of risk and discomfort in order to achieve that safety. "So people inevitably have some hesitation and nervousness about mixing with traffic as it relies on establishing a relationship at low speeds, which makes it possible to cross the road." [more]

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sydney Builds Separate Bike Lanes, Ridership Skyrockets 82%

by Brian Merchant for New research on cycling habits is in from Sydney, and it turns out that city dwellers are less likely to start biking if they're afraid a lumbering SUV might crush their back tire or that errant car doors will send them over their handlebars. Who knew? [more]

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Shared Space pedestrian and traffic interaction, Bern, Switzerland

"Free-flowing pedestrian and traffic flows along this busy suburban arterial route into Bern. illustrates the potential for improving pedestrian flows where a low-speed traffic environment has been created. Road carries over 20,000 vehicles per day. First three years of this and similar schemes have seen traffic flows improve, pedestrian delays reduced and significant improvements in accident rates. All former signal-controlled pedestrian crossings were removed."[Ben Hamilton-Baillie and Fritz Kobi] [Note the children's play structure with bouncing kids at the roundabout in the background. Also the emergency vehicle @ 4:23 min. shows how the pedestriam median refuge is mountable in emergencies. ]

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sonnenfelsplatz - Shared Space

Graz, Austria. Sonnenfelsplatz A remodelled junction near the University that handles around 15,000 vehicles per day, including significant numbers of buses. Over 3,000 pedestrians an hour cross the space, together with 650 cyclists.

Shared Space - Deal, Kent

Ideas to spruce up a section of the Deal promenade, after the sea defence works are finished, are being backed by the community. Deal and Walmer Chamber of Trade is giving the project moral support to the Shared Space project, which is being master-minded by town councillors Ian Killbery and Bob Frost. Chamber spokesman Andy Stevens said: "It is a truly exciting proposal which we hope will gain  some real impetus. "It is inspirational to rethink the use of the space between Deal Pier and the Royal Hotel - think  ‘phase two’ of the successful Beach Street piazza outside the King’s Head, Port Arms and Dunkerley’s. "Except this time as a shared space that people and traffic can use, offering a real opportunity for al fresco cafe culture on that part of the seafront." Cllr Killbery said the beach defence work this summer prompted the Shared Space idea and it is backed by the Dover District Cycle Forum as the area is part of the Sustrans bicycle route through Deal. Fellow campaigner Cllr Frost said: "I have been really pleased with the amount of support from people from all sections of the Deal community for our proposals. "They will provide adequate comfort space and seating of benefit to all while reducing the impact of motor vehicles, making the environment attractive to pedestrians and cyclists by cutting vehicle speeds due to the inherent ambiguity in the design allied with visual narrowing."

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Shared space concept to lift lower Brougham St

- Taranaki Daily News (NZ)
A $1 million redevelopment of New Plymouth's dingy lower Brougham St will put cars and pedestrians on the same level.

From March next year much of the street between Devon St and Ariki St will become a single level shared space for cars, pedestrians, cyclists and even skateboarders.

The redevelopment is to be funded from the council's $3.71m model walking and cycling community grant and will create a type of space increasingly used in street renewals around the world.

"We've taken notes from similar street redevelopments in central Auckland where there aren't separate spaces for traffic and pedestrians, but rather a shared space which has resulted in an open, fresh-feeling public area where once there was just a road," said Let's Go project manager Carl Whittleston.

"We are trying to makes this space pedestrian-friendly but we're not seeking to keep vehicles out."

To achieve this shared space concept, defined footpaths are gone and seating areas, planter boxes and a green space determine where cars and people can go.

A single lane of road will remain for buses turning right out of King St and parking spaces will still be provided for library users.

Mr Whittleston expected the design to be completed in January with plans put up for display in Puke Ariki. All going well, construction will start in March next year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Coventry: Shared Space Video

Blind man slams Coventry 'shared space' junctions

By Tina JundayNov 23 2011

...Coventry City Council has ditched traffic lights in eight busy junctions and put in 20mph speed limits to give drivers and pedestrians equal priority as part of a “shared space” scheme.

Council leaders say the schemes will lead to road users paying more attention and make the city centre safer, more attractive and pedestrian-friendly. But Jim Smallman, aged 62, of Green Lane, Finham, says the European-style changes have created “no-go areas” for the blind.

Read More

Friday, November 11, 2011

Exhibition Road Shared Space now open

A farewell to pavements
Is it a mad idea to turn roads and pavements into one great big shared space? London's grandest cultural artery will shortly find out

By Justin McGuirk

"...Roads and pavements are rules, keeping hard cars and soft pedestrians apart. Lane markings, pedestrian crossings and steel railings are another layer of rules. Do we really need such nannying? What if we relaxed the rules a little?

This is exactly what's happening at London's Exhibition Road, the great Victorian thoroughfare that stretches half a mile from South Kensington tube station to Hyde Park in London. In the last 18 months, it has been ripped up and remade to a new design that all but abolishes the distinction between road and pavement..."


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Really Sharing The Road Means Vibrant Urban Spaces

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Naked Street man wants to strip High Street bare

Kilkenny Advertiser, October 22, 2010.

By Naoise Coogan

Kilkenny had a visit from the Naked Street Consultant this week. Ben Hamilton Baillie was in Kilkenny at the invitation of the Kilkenny City Centre Business Association (KCCBA) to assess Kilkenny’s streetscapes and traffic management system.

Mr Hamilton Baillie is renowned for his radical and contemporary street layouts which includes the removal of signage, barriers, rails, speed limits and any other impediment that might obstruct the natural flow of both pedestrian and motorised traffic.

Unconventional as his views may be, Mr Hamilton Baillie has had his plans implemented in several other European cities including the Netherlands, France and of course his homeland in the UK.

Speaking to the Kilkenny Advertiser during his visit Mr Hamilton Baillie said that although he is not up to date on Kilkenny’s system, he is aware of other medieval cities like Kilkenny that have implemented his street designs.

“I’m not a fan of one way systems personally. I don’t think they work very well. I really believe that if you change people’s mindsets, put the responsibility back on them to be careful that they accept this responsibility with gusto and this makes the streets a safer place.

“For example, a signalled pedestrian crossing has been proven to be two-and-a-half times more dangerous than no pedestrian crossing at all. This is because the lights and signage dictate your behaviour, however, if you are required to analyse the safety of crossing the road yourself, you are much more likely to be more careful — it makes sense,” he said.

Mr Hamilton Baillie also met with the county manager, Joe Crockett, officials and some members of the council on Monday morning for a consultation. Mr Crockett said that the concepts were interesting but at this point there were no definite plans determined for Kilkenny’s High Street.

“We are awaiting a report to be returned from WIT on research carried out on the affect of the one way system on businesses in the city and until we get this data, we really won’t know what we will do.”

The one way system trial was officially up after six months and business people are adamant that it has had a negative affect on their businesses. Some 100 people attended a meeting some two weeks ago organised by the KCCBA to voice their concerns, and this week more business people came along to a presentation by Mr Hamilton Baillie on his radical concept for traffic management.

“It’s customers that are saying to us that it is simply too difficult to get in and out of the city. They psychologically can’t get their head around having to drive all the way around the city to get to where they want to go because they cannot turn right from Bateman Quay onto Rose Inn Street and then they cannot drive up the High Street. We need to start from scratch and design a new plan for the city centre as the one in place is simply not working and this can be seen by almost every business in the city,” said Phil Walsh CEO of Goods on the High Street.

Cllr Betty Manning who is also a business person trading on the High Street was also adamant that something new needed to be done to sort out the problems and that the council needed to heed the voice of local business who made up the heart of Kilkenny city.

There will be several meetings of the council members and officials before a resolution is decided upon, and whether Mr Hamilton Baillie will be commissioned to design a new concept for Kilkenny’s High Street. Until then, the one-way system remains in place and Kilkenny businesses continue to count their losses.

Meanwhile pedestrians are happier and feel more confident and comfortable on the High Street as it feels safer and is less congested than before.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Birmingham Mail - News - Top Stories - Residents plead for road safety

Birmingham Mail - News - Top Stories - Residents plead for road safety

Birmingham UK - Residents plead for road safety

RESIDENTS of a Birmingham suburb today demanded urgent road safety improvements after five people were killed in two road death tragedies.
The safety calls were made in Moseley after a pensioner and four boys died in two separate incidents last month.

Teresa Queenan was in collision with a lorry as she crossed the junction of Alcester Road and Salisbury Road on November 9 while four boys died when the car in which they were travelling hit a wall in Salisbury Road on November 14.

Now, the Moseley Forum group has demanded a so-called shared space scheme in the suburb as soon as possible.

Shared space schemes integrate public spaces by removing the traditional segregation of vehicles, pedestrians and other road users.

The aim is to remove barriers, including road signs, bollards and lights, between car and pedestrian to turn the street into a self-regulated area used by all.

It has been pioneered with some success in Holland and is being introduced in various part of the United Kingdom.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It IS happening here !

Not quite the sign-free "Shared Space" - but it's a beginning:
Bikes, cars share Oak Street
New 'sharrows' signs on pavement give notice

By John Darling, For the Ashland Daily Tidings, November 18, 2009

"...Oak Street officially became the city's first "shared roadway" this week when crews laid thermoplastic signs on the pavement between Lithia Way and Nevada Street..."


Monday, October 19, 2009

Traffic light failure reduces jams

TRAFFIC light failure at one of Winchester’s busiest junctions produced a surprise result – fewer jams. [ Hampshire Chronicle 18th October 2009 ]

The fault occurred early on Tuesday (October 13) where Southgate Street meets High Street.

The bottleneck often forces drivers to queue for several hundred yards along Southgate Street and the city’s one-way system.

Yet there were only a handful of vehicles on both sides of the junction while the lights were broken. There were also no reports of accidents.

Nearby traders, who see the jams on a daily basis, said the traffic was much lighter.

Matt Lunney, a negotiator at Pearsons estate agents in Southgate Street, noticed the difference.

He said: “Everything is settling down and there’s only been one or two people going a bit too fast along Southgate Street.

“The traffic isn’t too bad. It often goes back a fair way from here but that doesn’t seem to have happened this morning.”

Across the road, Susan Whyman runs the Childhood’s Dream toyshop, and said traffic was flowing freely.

She said: “I drove through it to get to work this morning. There doesn’t seem to be any trouble outside but I’m not sure if it would stay that way if a large truck came around the corner.”

Along with lorries, many buses also use the junction, including the Bluestar 1 service to Southampton.

Alan Weeks of the Winchester City Residents’ Association often rides the bus into town, and went through the affected junction. While vehicles were doing fine, he said it was risky for pedestrians.

“The people crossing the road were taking their life in their hands, as there weren’t any gaps in the traffic,” he said.

Winchester Friends of the Earth spokesman, Chris Gillham, said they wanted pedestrians to have more priority over cars.

One idea to achieve this in Winchester is ‘shared space’, which includes reducing street furniture.

Mr Gillham said they would support having fewer traffic lights, not just as part of the scheme, but to reduce street clutter too.

County council engineers fixed the fault before Tuesday evening’s rush hour. Traffic returned to normal the next day, with longer queues.

The county council was asked if it might consider switching them back off as an experiment, but it said it would compromise pedestrian safety.

Apart from the Southgate Street lights, there are nine further sets on Winchester’s one-way system in Union, Eastgate, Upper Brook, St George’s and Jewry Streets, along with North Walls and Friarsgate.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs By Matthias Schulz for Der Spiegel

A project implemented by the European Union is currently seeing seven cities and regions clear-cutting their forest of traffic signs. A project implemented by the European Union is currently seeing seven cities and regions clear-cutting their forest of traffic signs...The utopia has already become a reality in Makkinga, in the Dutch province of Western Frisia. A sign by the entrance to the small town (population 1,000) reads "Verkeersbordvrij" -- "free of traffic signs." Cars bumble unhurriedly over precision-trimmed granite cobblestones. Stop signs and direction signs are nowhere to be seen. There are neither parking meters nor stopping restrictions. There aren't even any lines painted on the streets...[more]

Drachten is one of the pioneer towns for such schemes. Accident figures at one junction where traffic lights were removed have dropped from thirty-six in the four years prior to the introduction of the scheme to two in the two years following it. Only three of the original fifteen sets of traffic lights remain. Tailbacks (traffic jams) are now almost unheard of at the town's main junction, which handles about 22,000 cars a day [more]

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Anarcho Traffic Management: is it the Future?

by The Bristol Blogger 1/18/08

[Monderman]...also claimed that congestion, traffic jams and the rush-hour would be alleviated if not completely eliminated by removing all these state traffic regulations. He further argued that if traffic is slowed down it will actually move quicker.
At the heart of shared space lies the idea of integration. This contrasts with the traditional town planning practices of segregation, where traffic and people must be ruthlessly seperated. Monderman’s attitude - which is well worth Bristol City Council taking on board - was:
“If you treat drivers like idiots, they act as idiots. Never treat anyone in the public realm as an idiot, always assume they have intelligence.”
Of course for much of his life Monderman was himself treated as a dangerous idiot by traditional traffic experts, civil engineers and the huge and powerful corporate vested interests behind them. But where his ideas have been tried such as in his home town of Friesland, Holland and in Scandinavia they have been highly successful...

...Could this be the ideal place for the city to create a shared space scheme? What’s there to lose? If it fails then our traffic engineer traditionalists can lovingly recreate their pensioner death trap again in a few years time anyway. [more]

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pedestrian Safety in Sweden

"...The main result was that crossing at intersections where there is zebra marking seems to result in higher risk for an individual pedestrian than crossing at other intersections. It was also shown that signalized intersections do not provide a safe crossing situation for pedestrians...

...The general explanation to these remarkable results was that pedestrians experience a false feeling of safety when protected by zebra marking or signalization. Another way of expressing it could be that pedestrians cross more carefully when no help is provided...

...The conclusion from most recent research is that there is a need to guarantee either completeseparation between pedestrians and vehicular traffic, or create good conditions for properinteraction between the pedestrian and the driver... " [more]

Challenging assumptions, Ben Hamilton-Baillie

Ben Hamilton-Baillie advocates replacing street clutter with social protocol

Allan B Jacobs has been described as ‘the ultimate student of the street’ by the Project for Public Spaces (PPS). The author of Great Streets and The Boulevard Book was asked by PPS to summarize the key conclusions from his long career as both a researcher and practicing urban designer. His response was two-fold. Firstly, he concludes that improving streetscapes and urban design requires utilizing the power of observation and questioning assumptions. Secondly, he advocates fostering interaction between pedestrians and cars in the public realm....
...Remove formal pedestrian crossings. They merely contribute to the conditions that, in turn, give them an apparent purpose. By introducing a false sense of safety to the pedestrian, they increase danger. Courtesy crossings are cheaper, simpler, and more appropriate. A wide-ranging review of pedestrian crossing types by the University of Lund suggests that informal crossings are significantly safer than puffins, pelicans, toucans, zebras and all the rest of the complicated and expensive zoological armoury...
... If any highway authority is nervous about risk or liability, refer them to the case of Corringe v. Calderdale. It is the duty of drivers to take the road as they find it…

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Building Good Roads

By Matthew Yglesias March 28. 2009

One problem in our transportation policy is that funding is unduly weighted to spending money on roads rather than spending money on mass transit. Another problem in our transportation policy is that funding is unduly weighted to building new roads rather than to doing the necessary work to maintain the roads we already have in excellent condition. But yet another problem is that there are roads and then there are roads. There are freeways, and there are boulevards. There are connected networks of streets that can be walked or biked as well as driven, and there impenetrable mazes of cul-de-sacs...[more]

This article is interesting - especially for the many reader comments that follow.

e.g. .."...the one on the left looks European, while the one on the right North American (gross simplification). In Europe the one of the left would have parks, footpaths and cyclelanes between the cul-de-sacs and would therefore be friendly to non-driving modes of transport."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Students Give Up Wheels for Their Own Two Feet

Original by By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL March 26, 2009

This story came via a note on the BTA blog :

Today's New York Times reports on a simple step that has already reduced car travel by 100,000 miles in the town of Lecco, in northern Italy: kids walking to school.
Just as Portland contemplates cutting the Safer Routes program that serves families and kids at 25 Portland schools, other communities around the US and the world are realizing how much traffic, pollution and ill health could be avoided if those families within walking- or biking-distance of their school sent their kids under their own power, and not by car


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Civic Trust Special Award - 2009

New Road, Brighton
...By adopting the concept of a shared space the scheme has transformed a traditional, motorist dominated street scene incorporating rigid features such as kerbs and crossings into one where pedestrians are able to move freely over the whole area and have priority over other users. The inclusion within the design of attractive features such as bespoke seating and lighting has improved the experience of many people who use the area, and has created a new café culture with a lively, welcoming atmosphere which is pedestrian friendly both during the day and in the evening. Local people were involved in the design process through a series of workshops and it is clear that the scheme has improved the experience for many people who use it...[more]


excerpt courtesy of Brand Avenue blog

Woonerf is a Dutch word that translates roughly as "street for living," and refers to Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman's innovative and increasingly popular contribution to urban design: a streetscape stripped of lane markers, curbs, sidewalks, zebra crossings and other obvious boundaries denoting spaces meant for single forms of transportation. While at first blush such an experiment would seem to make the street more dangerous for its users, the woonerf actually ensures increased safety for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike, because of how the ambiguous design mixes otherwise discrete user groups...
Blurring the boundary between street and sidewalk, woonerfs combine innovative paving, landscaping and other urban designs to allow for the integration of multiple functions in a single street, so that pedestrians, cyclists and children playing share the road with slow-moving cars.

Where the sidewalk ends

extract courtesy

At an intersection in Portland’s Chinatown, the asphalt street suddenly gives way to an urban oasis. A pair of massive, granite planters with palm trees flank the entrance to the street, which opens onto a one-block space paved with concrete squares. There are no white lane dividers or sidewalks. Instead, rough-hewn granite columns distinguish places for pedestrians and places for cars.
“The idea of this street is that it’s designed like a public square but it’s open to traffic,” said Ellen Vanderslice, a project manager for the Portland Department of Transportation. “We were very consciously trying to create a body language of the street that tells people something different is going on here.”

...The approach appears to be working, she said. “Pedestrians tend to just mosey across the street every which way,” Vanderslice said. “And drivers slow down and pay attention.”
Portland’s so-called “festival street,” which opened two months ago, is one of a small but growing number of projects in the United States that seek to reclaim streets used by cars as public places for people, too. The strategy is to blur the boundary between pedestrians and automobiles by removing sidewalks and traffic devices, and to create a seamless multi-purpose urban space...
[ lots more ]

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

'Sharrows' aim to help cars and bikes share roads

...Caught between the need for a continuous bike lane and the demands of drivers, Portland transportation engineers finally came up with a solution. Next month, the city will fill the gaps in the network with new shared-lane pavement markings, called "sharrows." Stencils of a bicycle with two chevron markings above it will be painted, two per block, in areas too narrow for a bike lane. The idea is to keep cyclists away from parked cars while promoting awareness of their right to use the road.
"The sharrow sends the message to cyclists, 'yes, you are welcome here,' "...
...Pioneered in Denver in the mid-1990s, sharrows are attracting the attention of transportation officials around the United States. But the markings are controversial. In June, Boulder, Colo., became one of the few cities outside of California to install the shared-lane markings... [more]

See also story about introduction of SHARROWS in Cincinnati

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Main Street Dims Its Lights

Ashland's award-winning investigative reporter Bob Plain who for many years sleuthed for the Daily Tidings "City Beat" has returned to his hometown of East Greenwich, RI and is now Managing Editor of a newly-launched online local newspaper .

A recent article shows that East Geenwich is, like Ashland, having ideas about street lighting, sustainability and safety issues.
Main Street Dims Its Lights
"...“We wanted to see if the cobra lights are really needed,” he said. “If people decide it’s not working, we’ll change it back.”The idea percolated out of the Downtown Planning Initiative, a subcommittee of the East Greenwich Planning Board. The town council approved the idea in December and National Grid turned off the cobra lights last week.He said the change will also save the town money on its electric bill and said the reduced light will have a “natural traffic calming effect” on Main Street. “Traffic will definitely slow down”... [more]

Another article in the newspaper shows that they too are also looking at light rail options for their community.
article: An East Greenwich Train Station

"...East Greenwich and the state have expressed interest in locating a rail station in East Greenwich since 2004, and some conceptual groundwork for transit-oriented development zones in town has already been completed..."

ICE VIP gets tour of town's shared space

The President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Dr Jean Venables was given a tour of Ashford’s [UK] shared space scheme on Tuesday...
...Judith Armitt, managing director of Ashford’s Future, said: “Our shared space scheme has set the standard for transforming a major town centre road and several local authorities are looking to follow our lead. Following several high profile visits we are delighted to welcome the President of the ICE. Shared space is helping unlock the commercial development potential of Ashford and has made the area much more attractive to residents and visitors.”

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In Ashland, Cars Rule - OK?

A local resident recently wrote to the Editor of Ashland's Daily Tidings newspaper:

Pedestrians, save gas by not making traffic stop for you
Pedestrians! Don't make autos stop for you at crosswalks! Although autos are required by law to stop for pedestrians, we'd use less gasoline and create less pollution if pedestrians waited for traffic to clear before crossing, or walked half a block to the closest stoplight...So all you oh-so-green Ashlanders, do your bit to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lessen the risk of global warming — don't make vehicles stop for you at crosswalks!

read entire letter at [link]

Perhaps a better solution might be to eliminate all the traffic signals and reduce the speed of vehicles such that pedestrians could safely cross anywhere between the slow-moving traffic. Drivers would be watching the pedestrians rather than the green-for-GO signal above them.
Sounds like - Shared space ! see video - Introduction to Shared Space

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Impromptu Shared Space Calms Soho Intersection

by Ben Fried on March 5, 2009 courtesy of

...Reader Tim Koelle sends this report of a busted traffic signal gone terribly right at the intersection of West Broadway and Grand yesterday morning:
I watched for an hour while cars, trucks and pedestrians shared this space quietly... with civility! Little honking, no aggressive driving, no traffic cop. Why? Because the light was out.
No one had to speed up and honk to make the green light on time; no one honked or changed lanes to take advantage of the narrow window of time the light granted them. Everyone came to a stop, looked around (wondering why the light was dead, and what they should do), and proceeded slowly thru.
Instead of a line of cars waiting for the light to change, alternate sides vying with each other for the few precious moments allowing them the right to pass thru... no one had to wait very long. And in fact the alternate sides traded back and forth, almost at a one-to-one ratio. No one had to wait, so no one got stuck in a line, so no one sped up, so no one honked, so there was no need for aggressive driving! Even pedestrians got their due...
[more, with comments]

It reminds me of when a power cut in Downtown Ashland happened just at evening rush hour, shutting down all the traffic signals.
Everybody just quietly took their turn - bikes, pedestrians and cars all watching each other, rather than waiting for the eye-in-the-sky to tell them to GO !
I have also heard reports of early morning commuters stopped and waiting at red lights on Lithia Way - for the non-existing cross traffic. Do we actually need traffic signals in Ashland?
Comments welcome.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

New Inn Hall Street to get revamp

A £625,000 scheme to create a shared space for all road users in an Oxford city centre street is about to get under way.
The West End Partnership will start work on Monday to transform New Inn Hall Street, following the completion of the £2m facelift of neighbouring Bonn Square in December.
The resurfacing project will last 20 weeks and is designed to encourage vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists to be courteous and give way to each other.
Although the full width of the street, including pavements, will be at the same level, the pavement areas will still be clearly marked.
Oxfordshire County Council, which is planning to pedestrianise more of the city centre as part of its Transform Oxford project, is providing £125,000 towards the work. [more]

Sunday, March 01, 2009

America before streets were civilised

Some Reflections from 2017
by Ben Hamilton-Baillie Hamilton-Baillie Associates Limited, Bristol, United Kingdom

Contribution by the author to the world wide collaborative project “Messages for America: World-wide experience, ideas, counsel, proposals and good wishes for the incoming Obama transportation team”. See for latest version of this report of the New Mobility Agenda

Looking back at 2009 from the closing days of Barrack Obama’s presidency, it is sometimes surprising to appreciate how much has changed in the relationship between people, places and traffic, and to grasp the effect of the dramatic policy change that took hold back then. Aware that successful cities are judged on the quality of their public realm, policy makers began to transform city streets from soulless arteries for vehicles into spaces shared equally by pedestrians, cars, taxis, buses, bicycles and every kind of social activity. Given the huge benefits that sprang from the multiple use of public urban space for safety, movement, accessibility, and economic vitality, it is now hard to recall how different typical streets once looked.Until 2009, they looked like everywhere else. In those days. the roadways providing running space for vehicles were carefully separated from pedestrian spaces. Kerbs, steel barriers, bollards and paint markings reinforced this separation. Different organisations looked after the two worlds that this segregation created, one managed by “traffic engineers”, the other by “urban designers”. Traversing this divide required specific crossings controlled by traffic lights, buttons and beeping signals. Standardised signs, traffic islands, poles, control boxes and illuminated bollards littered the spaces between buildings. Behaviour in the roadway was controlled by the state via cameras, and normal social courtesies were discouraged.Inspired by pioneering examples from Europe, and particularly by the work of Hans Monderman from The Netherlands, people suddenly realised that all this highway clutter was no longer needed. Without traffic signals, signs and markings, traffic flowed slowly and more smoothly. Congestion diminished. Casualty rates, particularly for children and vulnerable pedestrians, declined sharply. Shops flourished as pedestrian footfall increased, with people negotiating their way through slowly moving traffic using informal communication and courtesy. Bus companies reported more reliable running times. Every street in America began to reflect its history, context and purpose, reflecting the richness and diversity of the country’s huge geography and infinite variety.Only the most busy traffic arteries remained segregated, such as the freeways and major arterial highways. All the remaining city streets became “shared space”. Back in 2009, most found the change surprising and a little daunting. It seemed almost perverse and counter-intuitive to take away rules and regulations, signs and signals, and to rely on people’s commonsense and adaptive skills. And yet, just as crowds seem to develop an intuitive choreography in busy complex spaces such as railway station forecourts and departure lounges, so drivers and pedestrians engaged in a new respectful relationship at busy intersections. Speeds remained below 20 mph. Delaying a bus or lorry became a serious social gaffe. Eye contact and hand signals became more sophisticated. Driving behaviour adapted to the times of day and rhythms of the city, with quite different styles when schools were coming out, when the bars were closing, or when streets were empty before dawn. Pedestrians walked where they wished to walk. Bicycling became the norm in the low speed, smooth flowing streets. Taxi drivers still grumbled. Traffic signal engineers were retrained as park keepers and window cleaners. Civility flourished.So many changes in the past eight years, but none more significant for the quality of everyday life in America as the moment when engineering merged with creativity and commonsense.