Sticky: Mr. Majeed Neky of Living Streets UK to talk about Naked Streets or Shared Space concept

September 5th, 2010 by Pat Wisher

Mr. Majeed Neky from Living Streets UK will talk about the Naked Streets or the shared space concept at the Living Streets meeting on Thursday 16 September 2010 beginning at 7.30 pm in the Emma Ferbrache Room of the Princes Elizabeth Hospital (PEH).

In the town of Drachten in the Netherlands traffic lights and other street furniture were removed with the idea that motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians co-exist more happily and more safely using eye contact to negotiate through an area.

Hans Monderman, who was responsible for the Drachten experiment, said: “The trouble with traffic engineers is that when there’s a problem with a road, they always want to add something. To my mind, it’s much better to remove things.”

Wikipedia states that “safety, congestion, economic vitality and community severance can be effectively tackled in streets and other public spaces if they are designed and managed to allow traffic to be fully integrated with other human activity, not separated from it. A major characteristic of a street designed to this philosophy is the absence of traditional road markings, signs, traffic signals and the distinction between “road” and “pavement”. User behaviour becomes influenced and controlled by natural human interactions rather than by artificial regulation.”

It is said that when road users are segregated vehicles travel faster because they assume the road “belongs” to them. If it isn’t clear whether cars should be there, they travel much more slowly.  In Kensington High Street where street furniture has been removed road casualties have reduce as car drivers take more care.

As a pedestrian safety group, Living Streets wishes to encourage more islanders to walk and therefore if the shared space concept will lead to a calmer and more sociable way of negotiating our busy roads, we need to consider it.

There will be an opportunity for questions after Mr. Neky’s presentation.

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