The Poynton Experiment in Shared Space
It’s been nearly a year since a major traffic light was removed at an intersection with 26,000 vehicles per day, heavily used by truck traffic in Poynton, Cheshire, England. (Map here.) A section of the town’s High Street was also renovated so that pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles all mix. The volume of vehicles is nearly double the upper limit for “shared space” intersections according to industry standards.
“This was the most ambitious shared space project — certainly in the UK — any anywhere else that I am aware of,” says Ben Hamilton-Baillie, a British urban designer who led the project.
Accidents have gone down so far, although Hamilton-Baillie cautions that it is too early to draw conclusions on safety. Traffic queues have been drastically reduced, despite an increase in pedestrian space of more than 100 percent.