Time to share on the street

This charming sign was posted by the administrator of Wandsworth Living Streets, the organisation dedicated to improving street health and safety in my London borough. 

It is a valuable reminder that fancy terms such as ‘shared surfaces’ are actually just a return to an older way of thinking. This is a rustic sign and most of our proposed shared surfaces are in towns (and probably feature horses less prominently). But then, pedestrians may have a better time in cities than in many rural areas.

There are numerous problems with making our streets places for living rather than simply driving through, ranging from traffic jams to the safety of the blind. But fundamentally the concept is about not letting one piece of technology dominate the way that we live. Railways rarely ‘share surfaces’ although I have seen some running along the road in France and Switzerland, but the density of rail lines is far lower than of roads. if cars had priority on as many lines as rail does, and nowhere else, we would find ourselves in a very different, and better, place.

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