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Manchester, United Kingdom
Tyson is a beer hound and cheese addict living in the beery metropolis paradise known as Manchester
If the people are buying tears, I'll be rich someday, Ma

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Kerb It, Boris

Bonkers Boris, the two-nails-short of a plank, Mayor of London got a reality check this morning. He was greeted at work by protestors angry at his latest crackpot idea. Unfortunately, this one isn’t just daft, it’s dangerous.

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.

13 comments:

toni said...

Blundering Boris would be more apt.The government rightly gets stick for not listening and here's BJ doing the same.

Curmudgeon said...

You should try googling "Hans Monderman" and "Drachten" before dismissing this out of hand - the concept of shared space on the roads has a very respectable intellectual pedigree.

ian said...

who voted for him???

Tyson said...

I'm aware of its pedigree and its appeal. It can be a part of urban planning, but it seems to me, only in very specific circumstances.

Ignoring expert advice from a myriad of bodies about the future of Exhibition Road is just plain arrogance. Or stupidity. Before something like this can go ahead, agreed alternatives have to be in place.

vanessa said...

I'll-judged, I'll-thought out. Of course it's backed by Boris.

Curmudgeon said...

It seems to me some people object to segregration between pedestrians and motorists, and when the segregration is removed, they object to that too.

What do they really want?

Tyson said...

Personally the more segregation, the better. I think those in the disabled community who are seeking a compromise would just like to be heard on viable options. After all. is it worth them losing their sense of freedon just to help "prettify" parts of London?

Curmudgeon said...

European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs

Tyson said...

Hmmm. I can't wait to visit one of these traffic utopias. Preferably not in London, though...

Curmudgeon said...

I really would have thought a self-proclaimed "anarchist" would be in favour of a more give-and-take approach on the streets, and against a plethora of railings, traffic lights, prohibitions and hectoring signs.

Tyson said...

Well I'm happy to believe, although it doesn't personally affect me, that there are too many road signs etc. Let's get rid of them by all means.

However what we are talking about here is the removal of kerbs and other items that actually benefit people. That can make the difference between feeling safe and feeling scared to venture out. To be replaced by...? Just to fit in with some trendy urban planning concept. What we need are more facilities for the disabled, not less.

Anarchist or not, I'd be silly to support a scheme that will make life much more difficult for me and many others.

Curmudgeon said...

Now, the interesting thing is that "shared space" is basically a left-wing, anti-car idea. Segregation was widely viewed as giving drivers unreasonable priority vis-a-vis cyclists and pedestrians.

Now, I'm an unrepentant petrolhead and proud member of the Association of British Drivers. I'm all in favour of urban flyovers and railings to keep pedestrians off the road.

So I find it rather funny that a leftie non-driver is so vehemently against shared space.

Tyson said...

Well I’m not sure it’s a question of Left or Right but I’m intrigued. I understand the association of the Left with anti-car sentiment, but why would this idea be seen as anti-car? Colleagues at work haven’t put it that way (and they’re pretty quick to moan) nor has the “green” element been mentioned at meetings. And it’s being implemented by a right-wing administration who certainly aren’t anti-car and wouldn't know a left-wing idea if it landed on their head.

It’s been presented as an aesthetic improvement, aiding traffic flow and reducing accidents. Supposedly a winner for everyone...except if a “dedicated petrolhead” and a “leftie non-driver” are against it, albeit for different reasons it appears, then it must be dodgy.

As I said, it’s not a question of politics. Even if it were a “left wing” idea, I’d be against it. You petrolheads cause enough problems for me without other people trying to get me killed:)