Action on road “shared spaces”

Enfield Users Transport Group (ETUG) has been involved in the national campaign to end the use of ‘shared space’ arrangements. Some ETUG members attended a ‘demo’ back in September and a ‘day of petitioning’ organised by the National Federation of the Blind UK in which ETUG members John Williams and Linda Miller were amongst a group of people who met with the Minister for Disabled People, Sarah Gayton to discuss the problems created by shared space.

ETUG can report that last week the Department for Transport published a new Policy paper “The Inclusive Transport Strategy: achieving equal access for disabled people”; included in it was the following:

Shared Space
8.9 “Shared space” schemes, where features such as kerbs, road surface markings, designated crossing places and traffic signs are removed, have been introduced in many town centres in recent years. There are mixed views, however, on their impacts, and many respondents to the draft AAP consultation raised significant concerns about them. Groups representing visually impaired people expressed concern that ‘shared space’ schemes were dangerous and difficult to navigate.

8.10 We recognise that the issues around shared space are important to disabled people and note that many of those responding to the draft AAP consultation called for a ‘moratorium’ on shared space schemes, and for the withdrawal of the Department’s Local Transport Note 1/11: Shared Space. The Women and Equalities Select Committee report into Disability and the Built Environment, published on 25 April 2017, made similar recommendations. The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation carried out a review of shared space, which was published on 9 January 2018. This made a range of recommendations, which we are currently considering. DPTAC have provided their own assessment of the CIHT review, which we will also take into account as we develop our response.

8.11 While we consider CIHT and DPTAC’s recommendations and how to take them forward, we are requesting that local authorities pause any shared space schemes incorporating a level surface they are considering, and which are at the design stage. We are also temporarily suspending Local Transport Note 1/11. This pause will allow us to carry out research and produce updated guidance.

Apparently the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Transport, Nusrat Ghani MP has written to all Highways Authorities (which we imagine will include Local Authorities and, hopefully, Transport for London too) to ask them to put any shared space schemes which incorporate a level surface and are at the design stage on hold.

ETUG are seeking clarification as to whether this request applies to bus boarders.

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