Transport for London Streetscape Guidance

Streetscape Guidance

My thinking has been prompted by four publications, Jan Gehl’s Life between Buildings[1], The European Transport Ministers’ document on Accessible Transport[2], The Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic by CROW[3] and Complete Streets[4].

Gehl asks as first principles to note:

  • What is next to the streets
  • What numbers and types of entrances are there to private and semi private spaces
  • What are the average speeds, and why.

Complete Streets uses similar ideas. It:

  • Includes a vision for how and why the community wants to complete its streets
  • Specifies that ‘all users’ includes pedestrians, bicyclists and transit passengers of “All Ages and Abilities”, as well as trucks, buses and automobiles.
  • Encourages street connectivity and aims to create a comprehensive, integrated, connected network for all modes.

I also wrote personally to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Equality Act stating the following:

We do not now have public and private realms that achieve “any journey is only as good as its weakest link[5]. To do this includes all parts of all journeys, including getting out of bed, going to and using bathrooms and toilets, getting around a home including up and down various levels, getting out of a front or back door, and using pavements. It includes all public transport being fully accessible and able to carry all types of mobility equipment, including cargo trikes and mobility scooters.”[6]

The Streetscape guidance has a typology of streets that appears incomplete – where are play or residential streets for example? This may have happened because of a possible misunderstanding of the law[7]

I understand that everything is public highway upon which there is a common law right to move or not. Various types of highways then have various rules attached to them – footpaths, 20, 30, 40mph, lit, pedestrianized areas, home zones etc.

I understand that maintaining and repairing and building “highways” should be done equally – motorways and footpaths should in principle have equivalent levels of expenditure per square metre. This has never happened and I understand the result is directly discriminatory against protected groups.

I formally ask that the documents are rewritten from a clear inclusive perspective. Inclusion currently appears like afterthoughts, not key design principles and therefore I believe fail the Public Sector Equality Duty.

I have the strong impression that the practice and professionalism of highways and street scene engineers is in need of urgent review, as continuing errors occur – like 30 speed limits in shared spaces, which I understand in law do give children the right to play in them!

The Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic continually asks a series of questions; who is doing what, where, when, why, how, what effects do those actions have, what should logically happen?

[1] Life Between Buildings | Island Press. at <http://islandpress.org/book/life-between-buildings>

[2] International Transport Forum. Improving Transport Accessibility for All. at <http://internationaltransportforum.org/pub/pdf/06TPHguide.pdf>

[3] http://www.crow.nl/publicaties/design-manual-for-bicycle-traffic?page=1&searchsort=score&pagesize=10

[4] http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/complete-streets/changing-policy/policy-elements

[5] International Transport Forum. Improving Transport Accessibility for All. at <http://internationaltransportforum.org/pub/pdf/06TPHguide.pdf>

[6] http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/equality-act-2010-and-disability-committee/equality-act-2010-and-disability/written/20334.pdf

[7] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199899/ldjudgmt/jd990304/jones01.htm

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