Sunday, 8 November 2009

The Oxford Circus ‘scramble’

The brand new, much-publicised diagonal crossing at Oxford Circus is here cited as an example of ‘the naked street’.

This notion, known as shared space, or the naked street, was most vigorously popularised by the pioneering Dutch road engineer Hans Monderman. "If you treat drivers like idiots, they act as idiots," was his maxim.

Whereas once you adopt the ‘naked street’ approach, drivers no longer act like idiots. That’s so true! I discovered the truth of this on my very first crossing of the new-look Oxford Circus yesterday. (Below) Pedestrians cross on the green phase (the lights cut out after a few seconds to scare you into hurrying - I wasn't even half way across when this happened). A car which was in the 'pedestrians only' area at the start of the green phase, with the back wheels and boot obstructing the diagonal crossing. It's a BMW. Well, it would be, wouldn't it?