The Granary District

Creating walkable, urban, human-centered neighborhoods in the Granary District.

Shared Space: How to Make a Better Space for All

As we start thinking more about what design elements should be considered in the Granary District and executed at the charrette this Spring, it's important to think about an environment that is inclusive and equal for all pedestrians and transportation modes; it's called Shared Space.

Instead of designated space for bikes, pedestrians and cars, Shared Space creates an environment equal to all, creating spaces that are safer, and more comfortable to be in. For example, here's an excerpt from an article on this very topic:

"What happens is shared space. I'll give you an American example where this works so you can picture the mechanism. Say you are attending a concert or a sporting event where the overflow parking is in a field or some type of area where the stalls and driving lanes are not well defined. When the event is over, people (some of whom may be under the influence of adult beverages) are walking around this undefined space at the same time that cars (sometimes driven by those also under the influence of adult beverages) are trying to navigate the same space. Despite the chaos, nobody is run over and people don't die in this environment. Why? Because it is a shared space.

In a shared space, drivers expect pedestrians and look out for them. Pedestrians expect cars to be there and do likewise. Instead of the aggressive stop and go of a priority system, you have flow. Everything flows naturally and the public realm is shared amongst all traffic options. Cars, bikes, pedestrians, people with baby strollers, people in wheelchairs, etc. — they all are equally accommodated.

Counterintuitive as it may sound to the American used to the priority system, shared space works because the perception of risk makes people more alert, more accommodating and more cautious."

It's a great article that can be found here.

Not that all streets HAVE to be shared space in the Granary, but it sure would be nice to have SOME. Now it's just a matter of finding out where ...

What do you think of shared space? Is it something you'd want to see applied to the Granary District to some extent?

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Comment by Quinn McCallum-Law on February 24, 2012 at 12:20am

Great article James thanks for sharing! I love the idea of multi modal transportaion paths with less signage. I saw a lot of it in europe, especially in gothenburg sweden.

Comment by James Alfandre on February 24, 2012 at 3:27pm

Me, too! Think there's a place for this in the Gran? I do!


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