Pedestrians and cars "mingling"? Sounds like a law-suit waiting to happen doesn't it? But apparently Kensington & Chelsea Council think it's great idea.
As the Times reports today, Exhibtion Road is to be turned into a "shared space", whereby traditional signals and barriers used to separate the road and pavement will be removed and "the question of who has priority will deliberately be left open".
Even the kerb will be eliminated.
Londonist hopes that the scheme works out (if only for the health of those in South Kensington) but we'd just like to point out some slight innaccuracies we've spotted in the theories behind the scheme:
"All street-users are equal". Wrong. Some street users are more equal than others. See, for example, mini-cab drivers.
"Drivers will be forced to slow down and establish eye contact with pedestrians because they will no longer be able to assume that they have right of way". Wrong. Drivers will always assume they have right of way. On the roads, Darwinism rules.
"The maximum speed through the shared space will fall to 20mph, as it is impossible to establish eye contact when travelling any faster." The average speed of traffic in London is around ten miles an hour, and yet we're still waiting to make eye contact with the bloke who nearly knocked us off our bike last week. Plus, it's difficult to make eye contact with someone who's behind you, no matter how slowly they're going.
"The concept of 'shared space' was pioneered in the Netherlands, where...the approach has reduced the number of crashes and made car journeys quicker." Great. Good for them. But we are not like the Dutch, a fact made clear by the 'legalisation' of cannabis in Brixton a few years ago.