The anti-shared space protest planned for tomorrow (5.9.17) outside Parliament is misguided and misinformed.
Too often, shared space is confused with shared (flat) surfaces. Shared space prefers kerbs that are lower than standard, or dropped kerbs – these enable blind people to orientate themselves, and allow wheelchair users easy access – but it does not require or insist on the removal of kerbs, far from it.
Ben Hamilton-Baillie, who coined the term “shared space”, has ditched it in favour of “low-speed environments”. The venerable aim of shared space, or my term, Equality Streets, is to eliminate the conflicting speeds, neglect and aggression which spring from the anti-social rule of priority, and to make roads intrinsically safe by stimulating empathy and cooperation.
By opposing shared space and the reforms that are grotesquely overdue, detractors are supporting the egregious current system, which presides over an annual casualty toll of 20,000+. Ben has tried to communicate with them but they refuse to meet.