Tuesday 26 July 2011

‘Shared space’ in Covent Garden

Long Acre at the junction with James Street, looking east, on a weekday last week, early afternoon. This is just across the road from Covent Garden tube station.

This is ‘naked street/shared space’ in action, i.e. a condition in which a tiny number of motor vehicles (most of them black cabs) dominate an urban space where supposedly all users are equal. In reality at this location pedestrians vastly outnumber drivers but remain subordinate to vehicle flow which takes precedence by virtue of brute force and laws designed to protect pedestrians which are not even minimally enforced.

This is the sickness which car-supremacist Transport for London and London’s car-centric councils have bequeathed the capital city. (The air pollution at this site, needless to say, is invisible.)

The car shown above is moving. This is not the case with those vehicles shown in the photographs below, which are all stationary on the zebra crossing. The law states that no vehicle should stop on a zebra crossing, an offence which can result in a fine up to £1,000, 3 penalty points and discretionary disqualification from driving. Needless to say, London’s under-performing and car supremacist police force has absolutely no interest in enforcing this legislation. But then the Metropolitan Police is run by a clique of middle-aged men who, as Commanders, enjoy the perk of a chauffeur-driven car.

There is nothing to add about the inherent design failure of ‘shared space’ which I haven’t already broached here and which has been much more substantially critiqued here and here.