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Old 04-21-2013, 04:22 PM
 
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Busy urban intersection with 26,000 vehicles passing through a day.

Before



After



The ugly asphalt and traffic lights are gone. What used to be a scary and unpleasant environment for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike now looks and works a lot better for all three. It may sound counterintuitive but traffic lights and stop signs can make intersections more dangerous than having no lights and signs. That's the idea behind shared space where the distinction between street and sidewalk are blurred. The increased foot traffic has revitalized the area and is a boon for local business.

Shared space is an urban design approach which seeks to minimize demarcations between vehicle traffic and pedestrians, often by removing features such as curbs, road surface markings, traffic signs, and regulations. Typically used on narrower streets within the urban core and as part of living streets within residential areas, the approach has also been applied to busier roads, including Exhibition Road in Kensington, London.


Poynton Regenerated - YouTube
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:54 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 27 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,034 posts, read 102,707,476 times
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How long have they been doing this? (Please don't tell me to watch the video. I can't stand them.) This sounds like about as bright an idea as the old bike share program in Boulder in which they didn't ask for ID to get a bike and then were surprised when most of the bikes got stolen/vandalized. Anyone who thinks drivers are all so honest and polite that they will all obey the laws about "car on the right has the ROW" (which I never understood b/c it depends on whose right the car is on) has another think coming.
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:05 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
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I think a roundabout sans traffic lights could work quite well in some busy urban intersections, but entirely removing things like traffic signs and sidewalk curbs is asking for trouble. I could see modern traffic circles improving pedestrian and motor safety alike, but making things a complete "free-for-all" is just too much. Drivers need yield signs to remind them that they do not have the right of way until they enter a traffic circle. Drivers need pedestrian crossing signs to remind them where and when other people have the right of way. The thud of a curb can prevent can help an errant driver avoid colliding into storefront windows and crowds of people. "Patently obvious" signs like "winding road" or "bridge freezes before road" serve an extremely valuable purpose, and even the world's widest road is going to have a guard-rail separating motorists from a high drop into a ravine. "Common sense" is not so common, and all it takes is one momentary lapse of judgment to set off a chain reaction and cause an awful tragedy.
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:16 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Anyone who thinks drivers are all so honest and polite that they will all obey the laws about "car on the right has the ROW" (which I never understood b/c it depends on whose right the car is on) has another think coming.
It's not honesty and politeness, but driver confusion and almost all drivers are afraid of being in an accident. Watching what happens at intersections when the power goes out; drivers go slow and are extra cautious. The intersection in the center of my town in a power outage was crossable by pedestrians and they ended getting the right of way. In general, it seem to lower car traffic speeds. Not a good way to move a high volume of car traffic.
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Michigan
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Basically, it's a pedestrian mall with low speed limits for cars. Pretty cool though that Google has a before and after view (probably unintentional).

Before
Exhibition Road, London, United Kingdom - Google Maps

After
Exhibition Road, London, United Kingdom - Google Maps
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:26 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,270,566 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
How long have they been doing this? (Please don't tell me to watch the video. I can't stand them.) This sounds like about as bright an idea as the old bike share program in Boulder in which they didn't ask for ID to get a bike and then were surprised when most of the bikes got stolen/vandalized. Anyone who thinks drivers are all so honest and polite that they will all obey the laws about "car on the right has the ROW" (which I never understood b/c it depends on whose right the car is on) has another think coming.

Watch the video.

No but European cities have always had these informal shared spaces which are known as pedestrian or pedestrian-priority streets (which are still very common over there but not here). Shared space is a more recent term used to more formally define these kind of streets that give priority to pedestrians and cyclists. Shared space also takes it a bit further by applying the concepts not just to the street but to the intersection as well. Shared space used to be common in early 20th century US cities when motor cars were commonly seen on city streets but before traffic lights became widespread. People simply walked on these busy streets with the traffic and could cross anywhere they wanted to.



Trip Down Market Street 1906 (Restored Full Version) - YouTube
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:27 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 27 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,034 posts, read 102,707,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
It's not honesty and politeness, but driver confusion and almost all drivers are afraid of being in an accident. Watching what happens at intersections when the power goes out; drivers go slow and are extra cautious. The intersection in the center of my town in a power outage was crossable by pedestrians and they ended getting the right of way. In general, it seem to lower car traffic speeds. Not a good way to move a high volume of car traffic.
Often, in my town, drivers don't know what to do when the power goes out. They're supposed to treat every intersection as a four-way stop (or however many roads are intersecting), yet some people just plow through. Either that, or they just sit there, especially if they're trying to turn left.

One person in a hurry and not paying attention can throw a monkey-wrench into the whole thing in the set-up in the OP.
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:27 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
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@animatedmartian

Nice find!
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:06 PM
 
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Pedestrians, cars, buses, delivery trucks, cyclists all sharing a busy intersection seamlessly. There are no separate crosswalks, bike lanes or car lanes. They are all literally occupying the same space. It appears traffic lights and traffic signs were never installed here and has probably been like that since the middle ages.


Eröffnung "Shared Space" Sonnenfelsplatz Graz - YouTube
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:46 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
Pedestrians, cars, buses, delivery trucks, cyclists all sharing a busy intersection seamlessly. There are no separate crosswalks, bike lanes or car lanes. They are all literally occupying the same space. It appears traffic lights and traffic signs were never installed here and has probably been like that since the middle ages.


Eröffnung "Shared Space" Sonnenfelsplatz Graz - YouTube
That actually looks like a disaster waiting to happen--at least it in the States.
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