Accidents by Design: The Holmes Report into Shared Space

Lord Holmes and Lottie at side of Exhibition Road as taxi passes
Lord Chris Holmes and Lottie in Exhibition Road surrounded by cars

Stuck in shared space on Exhibition Road

 

On Friday 1st July I published detailed research into so called “shared space”.  This is the architectural conceit, the planning folly, which proposes that the removal of kerbs, road markings, controlled crossings such as zebras and pelicans and so on leads to a better experience for all users of our streets.  To be clear this means no road or pavement, no safe space, buses and blind people, toddlers and trucks sharing the same space.  Unsurprisingly, the research findings do not support a sunny view of shared space.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents reported a negative experience of shared space. Even more worryingly, thirty-five per cent said they actively avoided shared space, that’s over a third of people planned out of their local community, their local shops, their local support services.  This type of totalitarian planning would make even an old style Soviet feel some shame.  The research also indicated a significant under reporting of accidents in these shared spaces.

The findings are stark, the solution clear, an immediate moratorium on all shared space schemes until thorough impact assessments can be conducted.  This must be combined with a central record of accident data including “courtesy crossings”, which must be defined and monitored.  There is also a need for updated Department for Transport guidance to enable local authorities to fully understand their obligations, not least in relation to the Equality Act.  

Has so called “shared space” achieved an inclusive experience for all? No, it most certainly has not.  Has it opened up our high streets, increased safety and usability? Again, no it has not. Shared space is not a safe place nor a pleasant place, it has turned high streets into traffic free for alls, it has caused confusion, chaos and catastrophe.

In the words of survey respondents, shared space is:

 “Lethally dangerous” (Pedestrian)

“Absolute nightmare that I avoid if I can.” (Driver)

“Shared space is a false promise with poor delivery” (Cyclist) 

Holmes Report on Shared Space

Shared-use streets a safety disaster says, ex-Paralympian, BBC News

Halt city ‘shared spaces’, says report by Lord Holmes, BBC News

Cars and pedestrians don’t mix well concludes study into shared space schemes, Independent

Chaos, Confusion and Catastrophe, Politics Home

Lord Holmes calls for immediate moratorium on ‘lethally dangerous’ shared space, Transport Monthly

Shared space schemes labelled dangerous in Lords report, Architects Journal

New Report calls for a moratorium on shared space crossings, Transport for All

Top Town shared spaces branded ‘dangerous’ and ‘Third World traffic free-for-alls’, Grimsby Telegraph

“Dangerous and Costly” shared spaces should be scrapped, Lord Holmes claims, Gloucester Citizen

Ex-Paralympian in call to end shared space crossings, Swindon Advertiser

Time to stop sharing?, Lord of the Blogs

Blurred Lines #Shared Spaces, Unity Law Report

IHE Response to Holmes Report

Daily Politics asks if ‘shared space’ is safe….

End of the road for white lines on highway, The Times

Please tweet using #stopsharedspace,

Lord Holmes and Lottie at side of Exhibition Road as taxi passes

Still stuck on Exhibition Road

 

 

TED Talk ‘Seeing isn’t believing’

Chris standing on red circle giving TED talk at TEDx Event

Chris was delighted to give a TED talk at a TEDx Event organised along the theme of Momentum; Moving Forward, Gaining Speed and Building Traction. Chris’s talk was titled ‘Seeing isn’t Believing’ as he explained how a working class kid from the Midlands got from an underperforming comprehensive school to Cambridge University, from a rundown 25 yard swimming pool to the gold medal podium at 4 Paralympic Games, from a terraced house to the House of Lords. For Chris this path was not guided by the light afforded by sight, that sight having departed, without notice, overnight. Vision instead of sight and a clear path firmly built on the bedrock of self belief.

Watch Chris’s TED talk

TEDx Whitehall Women

 

 

 

Deputy Chancellor of BPP University

Chris was honoured to be installed as Deputy Chancellor of BPP University. He is a former law student of the university and was at London’s prestigious Guildhall venue on 13th May 2016 to receive the honour during the university’s graduation ceremony. Speaking on the power of higher education, Chris said he was “honoured” to be the university’s new figurehead and “delighted to play my small part in the on-going success at BPP as  the University goes from strength to strength, producing excellent graduates across the professions who will go on to make such a positive contribution to our country.” Chris gained a post graduate diploma in law (PGDL) whilst at BPP University’s Law School and in 2002 he completed the Legal Practice Course.

 

Keynote Speaker for the Vision UK 2015 Conference

Chris has been announced as the keynote speaker for the Vision UK 2015 conference on Thursday 18 June 2015 at Central Hall Westminster in London.

 

Titled ‘Working together to deliver the UK Vision Strategy’, the seventh annual Vision UK event will feature a brand new format, with delegates able to choose from one of five conference streams, focused on delivering aspects of the UK Vision Strategy and tailored for different professional interests.

 

Shared Space Survey

Chris strongly believes that shared space schemes which minimize demarcations between vehicles and pedestrians are dangerous. Shared space schemes remove features such as curbs, road surface markings, traffic signs, controlled crossings and regulations. In the UK, shared space schemes are increasing with many local authorities planning new schemes despite the inherent difficulties. Blind and partially sighted people have particular difficulties with the schemes but this survey also aims to generate evidence from other groups, such as other pedestrians and drivers who, anecdotally, talk of serious concerns when driving in these spaces. Thank you very much if you can spare five minutes to answer the survey.

 

Transport Network, ‘Paralympic champion Lord Holmes launches survey into shared space schemes

Transport Network, ‘Comment: Two Eyes in Inclusion’

Gloucestershire Echo, ‘Are Shared Spaces Dangerous?’

Transport Monthly, ‘Paralympic Champion and Parliamentarian Lord (Chris) Holmes launches survey to investigate public attitudes to shared space’

Facts Magazine, ‘Survey to investigate public attitudes to shared space’

Coach and Bus Week, ‘Shared space survey asks for bus drivers opinions’

Transport for all, ‘Two Eyes in Inclusion’

My Sight Nottinghamshire, ‘Have your say on shared space schemes’

 

New pension freedoms not without risk!

Centre for Policy Studies logo

centre for policy studies logo

Chris was at one point a lawyer specialising in pensions and was delighted to write a foreword for Michael Johnson’s excellent report for the Centre for Policy Studies, ‘Auto-protection at 55’, which considers the future of pensions and in particular the need for ‘auto-protection’ to address the dangers of ‘auto-enrolment’.   Chris’s time as a pensions lawyer informs his interest in this major policy area and he was happy to endorse the report’s central theme of how to make annuity liberalisation safe. The report makes many sensible recommendations including a not for profit national annuities auction house to automate the process of shopping around. Chris feels there is clearly value in a default system for pension protection while challenging the market to produce a still better service for clients and this report is an excellent start in that direction.

Full report

Chris speaking on Pension Schemes Bill in the House of Lords

Definitely Able, Doha

Chris speaking at podium in front of audience at Definitely Able Conference, Doha

 

Chris travelled to Doha to take part in the Definitely Able Conference held in the amazing surroundings of the Museum of Islamic Art. Sasol and the British Council, in partnership with Qatar Museums, partnered to organise the conference and accompanying ILHAM art exhibition. The two-day Definitely Able Conference addressed the theme of ‘together enabling inclusion’, which reflects the partners’ belief that through dialogue society can become more inclusive for the benefit of all.  The conference brought together an audience of more than 200 stakeholders in the disabled community, the private and public sectors.

Sasol and the British Council work together to challenge perceptions about disability.

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