Thursday, February 08, 2007

The evils of pedestrian guardrails

Where I was in fuller agreement with Alan Duncan was over his strictures against street clutter – he made reference to a roundabout near Kettering where he counted more than 200 poles, signs etc.

This is hardly a new issue. My own bugbear is the hideous pedestrian guardrails, that seem to be installed as part of almost any new urban traffic scheme. In theory they are designed to protect the pedestrian. But in fact they box us in, restrict our freedom and make roads look like racetracks so that drivers feel more confident in going faster.

The one council that has really tried to counter this ‘clutter culture’ is the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (Conservative, unfortunately, not Lib Dem), whose Kensington High Street improvements scheme was based on creating a pedestrian-friendly environment through the removal of excess ‘street furniture’.

I understand that the council had great difficulty getting the scheme past the safety fascists because it broke many of the supposed rules of such scheme – for example cycle parking racks on a central reservation.

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