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Shared spaces: Where motorists, cyclists and pedestrians get along

Interesting debates are happening over innovative “shared spaces” civil engineering projects in the UK.

A shared space is a public space where there is no distinction between the pavement and the road. Vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians can all use the same areas and there are no kerbs, lines, or road signs.

It sounds dangerous, but shared spaces are usually very safe. The uncertainty of the situation means drivers slow down and pay attention.
Many local authorities and civil engineers have embraced the idea.

But shared spaces have their flaws. The blind rely on kerbs to be able to feel with their white sticks where the traffic will be, and their dogs are trained to understand conventional street layouts.

They would find it extremely hard to navigate past vehicles in a shared space, unable to see where cars are or have eye contact with drivers.

A number of UK street − including London’s Exhibition Road (pictured above) and Kensington High Street, New Road in Brighton and the ring road in Ashford, Kent − have become shared space developments.

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