It’s a sign that drivers haven’t got the message
YET again Ashford’s shared space is under the spotlight. This time the focus is on a new moveable sign installed in Elwick Road to give motorists a visible indication of how fast they are travelling. Stick below the 20mph speed limit and the sign displays your speed in green. Go above 20mph and it shows your speed in red. The hope is that motorists will react and slow down to stay within the speed limit. But isn’t this somewhat of an admission of failure that, despite all the publicity that the whole philosophy behind shared space has generated, the message still doesn’t seem to have registered with many motorists? Yesterday we carried out a brief and very unscientific survey of speeds being registered on the new solar-powered machine as cars passed by. We found that many drivers were travelling above the 20mph limit. Ashford’s scheme, based on a Dutch idea of traffic calming, is the first large scale shared space project in the country. Apparently others are now in the pipeline. One of the basic elements of shared space was that all unnecessary street clutter – such as signs and signals – are removed, to allow the boundary between the driver’s space and the pedestrian’s space to become blurred so they can share the same area. So isn’t it ironic that a sign is now being used to tell drivers if they are complying with the shared space speed limit and concept?