Historic Core Zone consultation – must see video

This is about Shared Space scheme now up and running in a small Cheshire village called Poynton. 26,000 vehicles, including very heavy lorries, pass through every day on a main road and cross a busy junction; there is no by-pass. In BoA 20,00 vehicles cross the bridge daily.

The video shows the junction as it used to be and as it now is. It provides a balanced view of things and it’s clear that the residents of the village had the same level of sceptcisim as some people in BoA currently have about the Historic Core Zone proposals, although the HCZ is not a Shared Space scheme, because there are kerbs and differences in levels between road and pavement; however, the principles do apply.

(Submitted by Gerald Milward-Oliver, Historic Core Zone, Priority for People)


    • This is an amazing an uplifting video -I recommend it to anyone who is sceptical about shared space within Bradford on Avon

    • Really interesting. I hadn’t realised that this type of scheme had been used where there was a busy ‘A’ road, especially one that busy. Residents there are obviously very pleased with it, and it looks like it’s made the town centre more welcoming. Just what we need.

    • Looks fabulous. Exactly the kind of innovation we need in the middle of town.

      Now if only we had a nice new footbridge….

    • Woweeeee! This is a ‘must see’ for anyone in town that moans about the traffic.
      What I couldn’t get over is how calm the flow of traffic felt once this brilliant new scheme was in place.
      Please, please can we have the Historic Core Zone in place NOW!!??
      So exciting to think that such clever and innovative solutions are out there. Let’s be the next town in the UK to lead the way in shared spaces.

    • Yep, I agree. Its really refreshing to see priority given to people. Looking forward to when this happens in BOA.

    • Unfortunately in BOA I dont feel there is the space to do this. This example shows previously 2x lanes of traffic in each direction.

      There was a simular initiative in Bath on Julian Road but smaller scaled installed in 2006. This was later removed due to near misses from it being unclear who had right of way and whether pedestrians treated the crossings like zebra crossings –

      I wonder due to the bottlenecks/crosshatching whether making Masons Lane one-way halfway up hill and Silver Street one-way down would alleviate the problems. I understand fears of speeding traffic. However traffic flowing more freely should allow greater gaps for pedestrians to cross. In addition, road space freed up would allow for much needed cycle lanes and wider pavements.

      • Hi Paul
        I agree with your assessment of the space required for the success of our scheme. I also agree that a one-way system is actually essential to make this proposal viable. (Despite vehement historic objections). As owners of ‘The Olive Tree’ we face on to the zebra crossing and observe many daily ‘near-misses’ to pedestrians. We have raised our concerns to the relevant authorities. This crossing must be one of the most dangerous in the UK, regardless of pedestrian age or ability

    • Well, now we know it’s working elsewhere let’s get our HCZ in place ASAP. The people of Poynton are clearly happy with the scheme, it’s seems to have brought the community together in so many ways.

    • Something like this could completely change the centre of town and make it more user friendly, how clever!

    • Yes.. I agree with all of the positive comments, and shared space seems the way to go for Bradford on Avon.
      Paul does make some valid points regarding our town only having a single lane 2-way & sheer volume of traffic.
      I do feel that serious thought should be given to making the town one way… now that would really be a transformation.

      • Would it? Have you thought about the massive trucks coming down Silver St?

    • The effect is amazing. I supported the proposal because the traffic issue is such a problem that something being done is better than leaving it as it is. One step at a time perhaps to assess the impact and introduce other measures if needed. Let’s hope the transformation begins soon!

      We are in a key position to witness the incidents on the zebra crossing every day, pedestrians step onto it in peril as drivers do not give way or obstruct it. If the traffic speed is reduced as seen in the video, then this reduces the risk presented.

    • It looks like a nightmare for anyone arriving for the first time. How do I know who has the right of way? I suspect this example which seems to be working well ….. at the moment ….. is irrelevant as far as Bradford is concerned because the circumstances are different. We have a VERY narrow part of the road which they do not have. It needs a clearly marked yellow box.

      • Why does it need a yellow box? It worked perfectly well for the previous decades! Quite simple, use brain, engage thoughts, give way to,oncoming traffic, and behave like a human being, be positive, give it a go, we don’t need, all these instructions, we are quite capable of clear rational thought.

      • They engage their brains and drive carefully and stop,if there is a pedestrian about to cross! This is used in the centre of Bath and I suspect most of visitors to Bath are unaware that it shared space, in New Bond St. You just use on the pavement, look both ways – the cars slow, you cross, not rocket science.

    • Terry: the uncertainty over who has right of way is the whole point. It may seem counter intuitive but when all road users are less certain they have it (right of way that is) they are more cautious, more considerate and more courteous to all other road users.

      My main worry is that the HCZ plans may be too conservative and perhaps don’t implement Shared Space principles widely enough to succeed. As Nick pointed out Shared Space can fail if not designed well and I worry that such a limited initial deployment at just one subsidiary junction could be set up to fail before the parts that would help to make it work can be implemented.

      • The HCZ will be on the discussion agenda at the Town Council Meeting Tuesday 26/2/13 at 7p.m. in the TC Offices.

    • In my view, Poynton and Bury st Edmunds had space to change, whereas we have not. As I continually see cars and lorries stopped on the zebra crossing, I do not see why they will give way to pedestrians in the future, as it is on a hill. Speed, I accept, is not a problem as congestion solves that! Big lorries will encroach the pedestrian space. At present they ride the pavement, luckily not too often, but they certainly rub the kerb, which in future will not be there to restrict them

    • Please remember those who are red/green colour blind. It seems that people are not so aware these days.

    • An excellent video which greatly helps to appreciate how life will be after the HCZ is completed in Bradford on Avon.

      Key words that I picked out were relaxing, the courtesy that all users now show to each other, and how quickly a new way of behaviour has been adopted by the road users.

      I remember hearing a story from one of our long standing residents who told me how the horse trough in the middle of that junction had a similar calming effect as he drove through the town with his horse and cart.

      Well done and I am sure it will be a great step forward for our town and shoppers.

    • Wonderful solution for Poynton, brave move by those who designed
      the scheme. Excellent use of their SPACE. Congratulations!
      Unfortunately we don’t have anything like that here. The very narrow roads and pavements, blind corners, the almost continuous presence of delivery vehicles, means you cannot produce such a good scheme in that way.
      There may be something to be learned from the success of Poynton, but meanwhile I suggest we sort out things like the town bridge pavement. Add to the east side, at the expense of the west – simple! Zebra crossing St Margarets St. near the Station Approach.
      Immediate benefit, small outlay.

    • Listening to the HCZ people who know about this it appears that adaptation is the answer and regardless of how small the town centre and its holdups the plans are adapted to suit and elements are brought in that will work, and obviously BOA would have its own special needs. We need less signs, less crossings and allow pedestrians and car drivers (of which I’m both) to take up responsibilty for their own actions and let’s see if we can make this work. Goodness knows it can’t get worse, and something has to be done – the flow of traffic isn’t going to lessen and the increase has been dramatic in the last six months. We need to keep it moving and lessen the pollution.

    • The Town Council approved the HCZ scheme, with some amendments, at Tuesday night’s meeting (26th Feb.); here’s the tweet:

      “BoA Town Council ?@BoATownCouncil
      Historic Core Zone phase 1 as amended, unanimously agreed at Full Council last night”

    • I agree with Simon & feel that shared space principles need to be fully & properly effected in order to achieve the desired changes. I worry that ‘a bit’ of shared space may provide confusing messages to car drivers & may not give them the message that they no longer have priority on the road.
      I think there is sufficiently clear evidence (from other towns & cities) that it can work successfully in BoA if the principles are properly implemented. The problem is that many people are fearful that the removal of ‘markers’ for pedestrians (traffic islands, barriers, zebra crossings) will lead to chaos & accidents, but counter-intuitive as it is, Shared Space does appear to work – even for people with visual impairments (this being the counter-argument until recently). As a mother of 2 young children I would feel much more prepared allowing them to cycle independently down market street if designed as shared space than I would as it currently is, and with my ‘professional disability access’ hat on, I feel that shared space cannnot come soon enough for many in BoA who feel trapped out of town.

    • Good to see such a can-do approach. There has been talk of bypasses and one-way system for years, neither of which are likely to solve the problem. This new idea looks like something we have to try. if we can’t change the quantity of traffic then we should try to change attitudes of drivers. We could also be pioneers like the town in the film.

    • An excellent video – really encouraging.

    • Brilliant video – balanced yet shows what can be done with determination to make things better. Well done to the council in BoA for approving the HCZ scheme. The one thing that is missing now is the one way system. Lets take the same attitude to making that happen and perhaps we can look forward to enjoying our beautiful town rather than suffering the misery of traffic.

    • We have just spent the weekend visiting relatives in Bramhall Cheshire who advised that they and their friends did not like the traffic scheme in Poynton although we are told on this forum of its success. They are using a road with traffic calming humps rather than face the uncertainty of the “roundabouts” with people dithering over whose turn it is to proceed. Also, it is causing traffic to build up on the Heald Green Road.

    • How can you compare the junction in Poynton with B on A? We don’t have a junction with traffic lights & we already have a roundabout system which causes huge queues @ peak times. The road system in our town is a funnel & I cannot see how introducing paving is going to ‘assist’ the traffic flow. All this plan will do is stop people from coming thru’ the town as they will find another easier/faster route. Maybe that’s what you are hoping to achieve but has anyone given a thought to what might happen to the town centre shops? Most of them, aside from the coffee shops/gift type shops, cannot survive on local trade & tourism alone. The road is actually the life blood of the town bringing our traders to the attention of people who live in the surrounding towns & villages. I think before all of this goes ahead the main agenda should be on providing car parking particularly on the Bath side of the town, that’s where the money needs to be spent. Parking for visitors & also for those who currently work in the town. Like it or not cars are here to stay & they won’t be doing away with them anytime soon, so surely it makes sense to provide somewhere for people to park? I can see what will happen if Market St does get the paved treatment next summer, most of the traffic will then use New Rd, Springfield & Silver St in order to travel thru the town. That’s madness for a start, making a main road thru’ a residential area & you can bet your life there will be double yellow lines appearing everywhere, so those of us who currently park there whist we are working will be pushed even further out of the town. As the sign says Bradford On Avon is a working town, I fear this scheme will turn it into a museum with only eateries & shops selling trinkets. Surely a more sensible & far less costly idea would be a one way system, even the Poynton scheme hasn’t deterred the huge lorries. It’s all very well & good making the pedestrian king, but do you want a town centre for community events or do you want one with real shops in?

    • This is inspiring and about flow.

      In Bradford, we already have a roundabout at the centre, we also have restricted vision creating a look and see caution approach. I can see this as relevant on the Trowbridge road.

      I would like to see a single double pavement on the bridge so I dont get tapped by cars when I am passing another on coming pedestrian, maybe something around the Westbury gardens road area, another town bridge.

    • The one way system is the only answer to stop the gridlock at the town centre. If lorries take the B3105, which is a wide road, it will stop lorries going through the town. There is already a sign diverting lorries along the B3105, it should be enforced. Are there any statistics on how many vehicles are travelling to BoA and how many are travelling through BoA? A pedestrian crossing would be useful along the Frome Road where the children cross from the playing fields. Cars may be here to stay but let’s have a little more favour toward the pedestrian and a little less favour to the motorist: pedestrians are also here to stay.

    • I agree a one way system with traffic travelling up Market St & down Silver St with a Left turn only out of Church St would mean the end of congestion in the town centre completely. Surely it makes economic sense to at least try a one-way system before spending such a huge amount of money & causing months of disruption to the traders & the locals? You could make it a 20mph zone to slow the traffic down.
      I really feel this shared space idea is not workable with the blind corners & the narrow roads in the town centre & can see accidents happening. The Poynton junction is a completely different set up & the video is so obviously ‘staged’ in order to promote it. I wonder what happens when the emergency services come screaming thru’ the town at speed which they frequently do here in B on A, do pedestrians still have right of way or do they have to jump out of the way? In an ideal world it would be lovely to have a traffic free town centre but in the past when Market St & Silver St have been closed for periods of time the traders have all suffered immensley & in these harsh economic times many of them would struggle to survive without the people who ‘pass thru’ the town en-route to somewhere else. I fear the shared space scheme would put off many people using the town as a thru’ route, especially as I have been in touch with several different people who live several miles from Poynton, who all say they now avoid it like the plague! This is not because the congestion is any worse or any better, but because although they are confident drivers they are extremely nervous of driving thru’ the shared space. Please can somebody see sense & at least give a one way system a chance, before paving over the streets & allow many of the small independent businesses which make our town such a brilliant place to shop, to continue to thrive.

      • Whilst a one way system might seem intuitive to many I can’t help feeling it will have already been considered for BoA by the original consultants? In addition to some boring practicalities (like where you move the bus stops to on Market St) one way systems tend to increase traffic speeds and this appears to be at odds with “priority for people”. Also in BoA the layout forces all traffic up the steeper, and as a result perhaps the more polluting, route up Market Street/Masons Lane?

        I suspect the outcomes may not be as clear cut as they at first appear?

    • Shared space by itself is not a very pedestrian friendly approach. Part of the solution (whether shared space or anything else) has to be reducing the amount of motor traffic. If the traffic stays the same, it will dominate the shared space in the same way it does the road.

    • I can see that the scheme worked in Poynton but I fail to see that the 2 towns are comparable. Bradford is an old town with narrow roads and bridges- with the routes determined by the historic buildings and the river. Poynton looks like a 1930s layout with pre-existing wide roads in a very planned and relatively modern layout. I can’t see that spending a lot of money on a scheme to share space will make any difference. As one commenter has already said, most cars already pass through the centre with caution and the Highway Rules for roundabouts seem to go out of the window- but in a good way- with drivers giving way to vehicles in greater need to get through the box junctions and allowing pedestrians to cross in non-designated areas already.

      What we really need to do is reduce the amount of traffic. Stop and survey the drivers and see what percentage that pass through actually come back and shop here. Judging by the steely determined look on most drivers’ faces as they navigate through town I think most town traffic comprises people on their way to somewhere else- their employment. My feeling is that the shops’ main custom is tourists and residents- not drivers on their daily commute who just happen to see a bargain in the hardware store (for example) as they pass through.

      Are we certain that re-routing traffic or making the town less traffic friendly to deter through-put would cause problems for local businesses? Surely the increased town population through the various new housing developments will off-set any potential loss in custom through reduced passing trade? Show me the evidence- I am open minded!

    • Shared Space schemes do have kerbs. Some Shared Space schemes have utilised Shared Surfaces, resulting in the lack of kerbs – and it’s these schemes that are most often reported.

      One of the first Shared Space schemes was in Drachten, Netherlands, where kerbs, footpaths and bicycle lanes were all included. Shared Space is a thought process, rather than a rigid idea as to how a street should look and function. It grew out of the Dutch woonerfs, where citizens successful took control of their streets back from engineers and engineer thinking. This is why if you walk around a Dutch town or city you may come across a street with a children’s playground or flower bed in the middle of it.

    • Having seen the video and driven through Poynton I can see how effective that scheme is. But any comparison with the layout of roads and buildings within Bradford on Avon seems extremely tenuous as the two towns differ so much. Given the estimated cost of the HCZ scheme why don’t the council have a traffic flow simulation model produced. Then the different variables specific to Bradford on Avon could be explored and changes made to achieve the best outcome; based on the criteria for success or failure being defined. There are modelling techniques available that will enable human behaviour (driver/pedestrian) to be used as inputs. This seems a far more rational approach than to just draw lines on paper and hope it will work.

    • Rather late in responding and acting however these changes may make differences and I don’t wish to be a not in my ‘back yard’ but the huge increase in traffic through BOA and sooner or later through and from Holt worries me considerably. (One ways in the past make major diferences to other roads. Not least since parking has forced or encouraged drivers to park and create danger zones in areas which did not have an issue previously (New Road) Accepting my inactivity I have often expressed views regarding speed humps. better speed signage particulary as you enter or leave BOA and why not 20 mph? The video is positive but is clearly promoting and emphasising that Poynton has apparently benefitted on a junction type which has little or no comparison in BOA?
      In terms of cost ‘the bridge, the by-pass, etc’ all too costly but thier lack has not stemmed in anyway the increased traffic in the area!

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