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Shared street space guru to praise British progress

The UK's 'amazing progress' in redesigning its streets will be hailed by the creator of shared space street design when he makes a rare speaking appearance in London this week.

Hans Monderman created the first shared space schemes in the Netherlands under which traffic lights, guard rails and pavements are stripped out and the street space is shared between the driver and pedestrian.

He is expected to use events at the Greater London Authority and the Prince's Foundation this week to hail the progress being made in the UK to build shared space schemes.

He will also present his latest thinking on the shared space design concept.

High profile and successful schemes such as Brighton New Road have opened in the UK in recent months and major schemes are in the pipeline for Kings Cross in London, Westgate Centre in Oxford, Sherford in Devon and Manchester Ancoats Urban Village.

At least 12 major highway authorities including Hampshire, Essex, Suffolk, Gloucestershire, Devon and Dorset are looking at a major redesign of streets according to shared space principles.

"Having started rather late, comparative to most of our European neighbours, things are happening in the UK faster than almost anywhere else," said shared space consultant Ben Hamilton-Baillie.

"I know Hans has been very impressed by the speed and the scale of change in the UK recently."

As well as Monderman, WSP director Andrew Cameron will speak at the Prince's Foundation Transport Conference on how the Department for Transport's Design for Streets manual has been rewritten to encourage local authorities to redesign to shared space principles.

He co-authored the revised guidance and said that he was addressing concerns from Guide Dogs for the Blind that shared space streets were unsafe for blind and partially sighted people because guide dogs are trained to recognise kerbs.

"We need to make sure that we address their concerns very early on in the process when redesigning streets," he said.

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