Shared space applied to high-volume intersection
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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. 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.
Poynton is on the A523, also called the London Road, connecting Manchester to Stoke-on-Trent. Construction took two years, partly because a primary sewer line collapsed and had to be replaced, which raised costs to 4 million pounds ($6.4 million).
A truck and cars navigate the primary intersection with its two “roundels.” Photos courtesy of Ben Hamilton-Baillie
The number of traffic lanes were significantly reduced