The first modern Shared Space designs originated
in the Netherlands and have since become common
across other European cities. An area like this
recognises that people are equal and should be
treated as such. The perceived pecking order that
pedestrians must give way to cars is removed,
instead encouraging cooperation between users.
Cars no longer control the space and must allow
for pedestrians, this reduces traffic speeds and
makes the area less hectic. Cyclists can use the
area without being restricted to narrow cycle lanes.
The aim is for people to use this space courteously
Modern shared space is no longer being built in the Netherlands as it creates too much danger for pedestrians and cyclists. Instead it is absolutely and ONLY being used on roads where motorised traffic has been removed or excluded. https://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/getting-shared-space-the-wrong-way-round/
It is why Seven-dials fails. You do not build shared space on a through road. Saw Close is still a through road (of sorts) and it is important to ensure that the route cars take through the space is not a direct fast line. Ideally Cheap Street/Westgate Street would have rising bollards put in place to prevent motorised access during the day as has been done on Lower Borough Walls, to fantastic praise from the businesses on the street.
The cherry on the top would be to install rising bollards on Westgate Street and to reroute buses to pick up on James St West.
Also of significant note, the Bath Accessibility report presented at the Bath City Conference specifically highlighted those corduroy stones as too narrow and easily step-over-able by a blind person at only 350mm wide and that a more suitable 800mm wide ledge was better. I would even suggest a slightly dropped kerb.
I’m also concerned that no clear route through the space is being provided for cyclists. However the fact the road is still clearly “marked” does give some hope, however the council must learn from Lower Borough Walls where they installed a 2m wide shared path in front of a very busy pasty shop, rather than a clearly defined contraflow cycle lane that should have been part of the road.
Unfortunately it does feel that lessons are not being learnt from the Seven Dials fiasco.
As part of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s plans to remove obstacles for walking and cycling and reduce the dominance of motor vehicles in the city centre, the Council proposes to make improvements to Saw Close to re-establish the area as a key social space and a focal point for Bath’s entertainment quarter.
Saw Close experiences low vehicle traffic but is a busy pedestrian area that is largely occupied by carriageway. It is proposed to see the road narrowed to slow traffic and encourage pedestrians to make more use of the entire area.
The plans will be on display on Monday, 11 July, from 1pm to 6pm in the Brunswick Room on the ground floor of the Guildhall in Bath, where locals will be able to give their views on the proposals. Council officers will also be present to answer any questions.
Councillor Anthony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown), Bath &…
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