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Poynton Regenerated

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248,508 views
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Published on Jan 31, 2013

A community in decline, divided by decades of anti-social traffic engineering, is reunited and revitalised by streetscape redesign

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I work for Free Wheel North, the Glasgow based special needs cycling and access charity. We work with thousands of people with additional mobility needs. Poynton village is an exemplar of how things should be, combining human access rights with a vast increase in quality of life and safety. We are advocating similar changes to the town of Kirkintilloch near Glasgow. Once people see it action they usually can see how shared space works. This is a return to public space for people, the foundation of civilisation as it evolved over thousands of years. Contemporary examples regenerate community rich in shops, cafes, post offices pubs; the fabric of village, town or city life. This was how it was before cars destroyed  all our urban spaces. We visited Poynton and sent a small boy across the main junction without hesitation. No problem. See youtube clip Poynton Village shared space Free Wheel North.
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+norman armstrong Please read what I actually wrote. Whenever I have been to Poynton the majority of the cyclists have illegally been on the pavement with pedestrians. Most of the cyclists on the road were lycra-clad "dedicated" cyclists. Those on the pavement were exclusively "normal" people in everyday clothes.
+norman armstrong Your philosophical claptrap about institutionalisation (etc) is demonstrably false. (1) the more people used Ashford, the more they wanted changes. In other words, familiarity breeds fear of shared spaces. (2) desire lines were not followed; people huddled against the edges out of fear! (3) The majority of people, and 91% of women, felt anxious there. Take the trouble to read the UWE report http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/17937/ and you will see how "unusual" your viewpoint is.
I visited Poynton in 2013 and witnessed the best example of how deregulation can build a caring, supportive and collaborative society; and it involves cars!!! Poynton is typical of small high street towns in the north of England, it was a mining town originally and eventually became part of the greater Manchester conurbation. The main high street is a major trunk road ( A road) with a steady stream of N/S traffic. Also typical of many UK high streets, the shops have struggled and many were closing down due to the GFC and general poor environment.   Low a miracle.....someone was inspired to sort it out from an urban design point of view and develop a deregulated, uncontrolled shared surface concept. The local council and the transport authorities embraced the idea and had the courage to say yes!! This as many know is not a new idea, but one that is hard to get over the line especially in Australia!!   I see this as much more than a great example of excellent urban design or even social engineering. It is a metaphor for how we should be approaching many issues in society, in health, education, housing. Let us remove the burden of control and regulation which breeds expectations that, somehow it is someone else’s responsibility to manage the individuals interaction with their environment and within their community. We have all to varying degrees abdicated responsibility for our own actions, There is clearly another way to  get us Poynton in the right direction. Australia should look and learn David Bagshaw -architect change by design
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Martin, Loved the video and the concept.  Hoping cities in the US can follow this example...though it would definitely require a reversal of current trends.  My question for you is: are there any metrics taken from Poynton before and after the change (average time to navigate the intersection, average speed of moving cars, average number of pedestrians, and safety statistics)? The video alludes to all of those aspects, but didn't present any stats.
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+Martin Cassini I went through Portishead and was surprised to see the pedestrian crossing is being reinstated. Right now, not planned! I then googled and found that article, so the date is irrelevant. Designed for "equality", implemented, found unsatisfactory, being removed. People don't feel equal with HGVs, busses, white vans etc. Shame that your dream of equality doesn't work in Portishead (and elsewhere).
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+Martin Cassini BTW, not my negative outlook. That's the considered opinion of the people in Portishead, based on hard-won practical experience of the shared space, not some mere theoretical concept. When reality contradicts the theory, reality wins. (Unless you are a political or religious extremist, of course)
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It looks brilliant! Will fast moving Bostonians buy into it?
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+Lori Wadsworth Why wouldn't they?
Hopefully they will do a little research, and can see the emperor has no clothes.
It would appear that some people don't care if visually impaired citizens can't use these ill-conceived 'shared spaces' - not really sharing if part of the population can't use it.
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This project is a great example for cities in America to take note of. I think it demonstrates improvement for Poynton, no doubt! However, I wish I could have seen more about the prototyping stage of development - it's true that designs aren't always "perfect" at first blush. I think some of the criticisms (hard to distinguish dark pavers at night / unfamiliarity for out-of-town drivers in the rain) could have been designed around if there had been a few rounds of iterations in order to discover and consider solutions to all those pesky unforeseen problems that always pop up. Granted, this is difficult to prototype in such a busy intersection!  Nonetheless, good work, I hope you get the chance to continue to modernize and HUMANIZE streetscapes over in your area, continuously learning new and better ways to accomplish this!
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Unfortunately. And still no response from Hamilton-Baillie. Again.
Antti, I know what you mean, and you are referring to Monderman-inspired wisdom, but I see it differently. Given streets designed for equality and a social context - as distinct from streets designed for priority and a traffic engineering context - we rediscover our humanity, our empathy and our manners.
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+Tom Gardner Tom, I am not in your debt. If you weren’t so snide, demanding and self-important, and if you used the word “please" and meant it, I might feel more inclined to find the time to edit my substantial correspondence with Kay into chronological order. So you can whine and whinge all you like but I will do it in my time, when I have time. 
+Martin Cassini I'll ignore your strawman points. The information Kay has published in the newsletter directly contradicts your assertions. If you make vague assertions about what other people have said, then it is your responsibility to justify your assertions. You say you will justify them, but then fail to do so - which makes you look bad. Doesn't do your arguments much good either. Over to you...
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Recently I while visiting the UK I went through this "shared space" It was a mess. Terrible.
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+Robert Walker Part of the point of voonerfs is UNCERTAINTY. The "green light" gives drivers no reason to think and every reason to drive fast. Yes, but you are not comparing this exact intersection to the before version, which was also a "horrible mess". This looks to be a lot better than what this town had before, especially for the pedestrians and people breathing the air. There are just too many cars. Congestion pricing of this and nearby roads for peak times would help.
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+StreetsAre ForPeople I don't want to have to guess what the other guy is going to do, Using your logic we should get rid of all road signs. If someone makes a wrong guess people die.
Shared Space shows an astonishing lack of understanding and concern for those of us with disabilities. I walk on crutches and have previously fallen in a crosswalk and had trouble getting up. I wasn't hit because I had the light, the traffic was stopped, and drivers could see me. How would that have worked out in a shared space? Why are the needs of disabled people put on the bottom of the agenda for what is essentially an aesthetic ideal and not a compelling public interest on a par with my safety and the safety of other people with disabilities, the elderly, and children? I shouldn't be afraid crossing the street; I shouldn't have to ask for help; I shouldn't have to avoid shared space junctions, and I shouldn't have to risk being hit or killed thanks to the ego of a few urban designers.
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+Tom Gardner You can certainly be relied upon to offer no constructive suggestions. You demand evidence from a fledgling movement that strives to transform road-user relationships, safety, efficiency and quality of space, but gets no support from the traffic control establishment which refuses the trials that could provide the evidence (it would undermine their empires). The problem the world over is that vehicles have been allowed to dominate public space. I haven’t visited India, Vietnam or Palermo, though I suspect that egalitarian road culture would bring mutual respect and authentic safety anywhere. In Poynton, cyclists use, or could use the wide strip between carriageway and pavement. The carriageway itself is single track, and cyclists don’t want to hold up motor vehicles unnecessarily. This might be my last post for a while.
+Martin Cassini Nonsense: shared space advocates make claims they can't substantiate, and that's morally reprehensible - even if it is commercially/politically acceptable. E.g: you haven't visited India/Palermo/Vietnam, but you repeatedly make emphatic false statements about them. Typical. Stop waffling and address some issues: tell us why ordinary (not lycra-clad) cyclists choose to cycle illegally amongst pedestrians in Poynton, when they choose to cycle on the road outside the shared space area. And tell us why it is acceptable and required that pedestrians are afraid in shared spaces (Ashford, Hamilton-Baillie statements referenced above).
Great piece Martin. This just shows that drivers and pedestrians can co-exist and share the same space. I hope to see more of this throughout the world.
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It is a roundabout without clear lane makings! People will get killed!
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+DARKOvibrations No, it isn't safe to say that. Someone being killed is a rare event, so it is unlikely to happen in any given time period. There have been several narrow escapes; remarkably one looks like it might have been caught on film, and if that's the case it suggests they are relatively common occurrences! See the background at http://vimeo.com/118137432. Also see http://www.macclesfield-express.co.uk/news/local-news/poynton-shop-crash-ignites-new-2528455 which would probably have been prevented by full-height kerbs.
+DARKOvibrations No it isn't safe to say that - KSI incidents are rare. I suggest you find out about the statistics of infrequent events. Have a look the unscripted incident in the background at 3:50 in http://vimeo.com/118137432 - perhaps the elderly pedestrian felt he had nearly been knocked down? Also http://www.macclesfield-express.co.uk/news/local-news/poynton-shop-crash-ignites-new-2528455
Forced to drive through the "shared space" recently, witnessed one near collision when a truck was attempting to negotiate the imaginary roundabouts but I'm sure, if you want your village to look like a cheap seaside resort (without a beach) then it is fine. I think it has turned a really pretty village into an unsightly area full of brick paving and scared drivers and pedestrians, if that's the look you were going for...nailed it!
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I take it by "all Users" you mean blind people too? Or are shared space people anti-blind?
Put a Fork in it the argument is done.
I would never drive through Poynton ever again, Used to love visiting but the ''improved'' roundabout scares the hell out of me. Even taxi drivers don't like driving through there. Well done Poynton, you killed your village.
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I am struggling to see how Poynton has killed its village. Poynton is evidently thriving. You on the other hand could do with getting better at driving by the sounds of it. I sense a bit of village envy. One way to check if a village is dead is to check the house prices/market..... Nobody would want to pay good money to live in a dead village now. Would they?
Have a look at this https://vimeo.com/118137432 video, particularly the at 3:50 in the background. Have a look at this http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/17937/ unbiassed peer-reviewed report (i.e. not an "infomercial") into a similar scheme, which notes (among many other interesting findings) that 91% of women are anxious in the shared space, and that the more people used it the more they wanted changes.
I received an alert about a post by Tom Gardner claiming Poynton has seen a tenfold increase in accidents since the scheme opened in 2013. Jiggered if I can find the post, so I'll reply here. The following traffic incident data is from the Cheshire Constabulary Force Command. It includes all incidents with codes TA1(Fatal RTC), TA2 (Injury RTC) and TA4 (Damage only RTC) within a 200m radius of Fountain Place: 2009-10 total of 58 accidents (48 damage, 10 injury). 2011-12 roadworks. 2013-14, total of 20 accidents (13 damage, 7 injury). At least one of the injuries reported since the scheme opened was on private land. There have been no deaths or severe injuries since the scheme opened. So Tom Gardner, your credibility is shot. Please do the decent thing and find another forum for your prejudiced posts.
Try harder, and don't misquote me. Google is your friend. http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/11274430.Police_boss_vows_to_keep_Bradford_on_Avon_HCZ_safe/ Pedestrian accident rate before shared space: 0.2/year in a shared space: 2/year, i.e. SHARED SPACE HAS 10* MORE PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS. (Pedestrian accidents 2005-2010: 1; 2012-2014: 4)
Another reversal in the face of reality: "A pedestrian crossing is being reintroduced in Grimsby's Bethlehem Street. The original crossing was removed as part of the multi-million pound regeneration of the town centre in 2013, when the controversial shared space was introduced at the junction of Station Approach." http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/Pedestrian-crossing-installed-Grimsby-s-Bethlehem/story-27448405-detail/story.html
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+Janet Martin That's a sane sensible report without anything that could be mistaken for "religious fervour". They focus on something that is directly important to everybody (a safe space), rather than focus on some abstract philosphical principle that isn't bourne out in the real world. As an example of the latter, consider that in many parts of the world the "shared spaces" (where there are no rules and everybody is equal) turn out to be extremely rude, uncivilised and downright dangerous spaces - as witnessed by the accident statistics.
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Seems like cyclists are against it too - so that's the blind, partially sighted and cyclists.
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+Janet Martin Yes indeed. My daughter noted that most of the cyclists in Poynton were whizzing along the pavement narrowly missing pedestrians - and accurately pointed out that means the cyclists felt afraid to be on the shared psace with traffic. For a balanced, nuanced appraisal from a cyclist, see https://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/poynton/ plus the comments and some of his other blog posts.
+Janet Martin Shared space proponents fail to acquit themselves well, and don't do The Cause any good. Sample comments: "Your message is completely incoherent." "You’re really quite, quite mad." "It is irresponsible to encourage people to break the law merely for the convenience of your agenda" "As other have already pointed out, this is a horrible mis-use of statistics." "You’ve again dodged the question." "I haven’t seen a clearer example of Orwellian NewSpeak and DoubleThink in a long time!" "Again, your position is inconsistent." "Mere repetition doesn’t make the statement valid, nor even sensible."
+Janet Martin I hadn't noticed that the article now alerts people to teh dysfunction aaspects of shared spaces. I hope that doesn't get edited out.
Martin Cassini wrote "If the Cabstand junction in Portishead is anything to go by (lights scrapped in 2009), congestion and quality of life will see permanent improvements even with an increase in traffic" They weren't: the traffic lights are being reinstated. See http://www.northsomersetmercury.co.uk/Peak-time-traffic-lights-return-Cabstand-resort/story-26266061-detail/story.html
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+Martin Cassini Oh, the old "any problems with the shared space is because it isn't a true shared space" excuse. Also known as "no true Scotsman" fallacy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman . The Portishead shared space features are being rolled back because of the problems they introduced. Stop trying to deny reality. (And don't forget that pedestrian accidents have gone up ten times in Poynton since the shared space was introduced there) Derived from a Freedom of Information request described in http://m.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/11274430.Police_boss_vows_to_keep_Bradford_on_Avon_HCZ_safe/ and http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2014/04/where-crashes-are-shared-space-and.html
+Tom Gardner Portishead isn't unique... "A pedestrian crossing is being reintroduced in Grimsby's Bethlehem Street. The original crossing was removed as part of the multi-million pound regeneration of the town centre in 2013, when the controversial shared space was introduced at the junction of Station Approach." http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/Pedestrian-crossing-installed-Grimsby-s-Bethlehem/story-27448405-detail/story.html
/link/watch-poynton-regenerated-on-youtube