Streetscapes: new book on how to design and deliver great streets

page 23 streetscapes

You’ve been here before. You are trying to explain the subtleties of a local walking strategy and its application to real place making and improvements to your own street. Across the table the official traffic experts just doesn’t get it. Totally impossible. Won’t work. Against the Regs. What you need is a decent big road. Built to proper standards. The result? No place-making.

But look at it from the other side of the table. Along come these local ‘amateurs’. No idea about the efficient movement of people and goods. Total disregard for road safety and all the other regulations, orders and demands made on the public highway.

An exaggeration? Unfortunately not according to the recent experience of some enthusiasts among the London Living Streets fraternity. But as local activists, we could possible achieve more if we had a little wider understanding of the objectives and limitations of action of some of the other main players, particularly the highway and transportation professions.

The good news is that the last five or so years has seen some remarkably achievements. Formally unwelcoming, depressing main roads have been turned into really attractive places. At a busy main road crossroads at the centre of a suburban village, thirteen sets of intrusive traffic lights were removed and replaced by elegant pedestrian-friendly crossings. Here, without any ugly traffic signs, white lines, guard railings, or special legal requirement, drivers stop at the crossings as soon as they see that anyone, including people with disabilities, want to cross.

This and other schemes as well as the technical background are fully explained in a lavishly illustrated new book, Streetscapes, by Colin J Davis, available free of charge for London Living Street supporters and all enthusiasts at https://streetscapes.online.

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