The shared streets scheme is a classic piece of urban planning gimmickry. The idea is to eliminate kerbs (and other street furniture) on Exhibition Road, thereby creating a “shared space” between drivers and pedestrians and giving it more of a “village” feel. Sounds lovely-if only it wasn’t a load of bollocks.
The reality is that, by removing natural markers such as pavements, you are putting the blind/partially sighted at immense risk. These schemes are dependent on eye contact between drivers and pedestrians to establish right of way-not too easy for the visually impaired. Guide dogs are trained on the basis of stopping at kerbs and find these situations very confusing. And they’re not the only ones. Children are taught from an early age the basics of the Green Cross Code: Stop, Look, Listen-but what if there’s no kerb?
That the Mayor has pledged £13M to disenfranchise and endanger a significant portion of the population is nothing short of a scandal. Mind you, I blame the misguided morons who voted for him. Exhibition Road is at the heart of London’s cultural centre and must remain accessible to all.