Just read for the first time the Wired 2004 article on the “less is more” approach to traffic management, as interpreted for the US audience. The Dutch, as always, credited with innovation in this area.
Like a lot of transport people I went to look at the Kensington High Street scheme (above) when the Borough dramatically changed the streetscape and also removed a significant % of the street furniture. Not being an engineer I liked what I saw of the £5m project but could see how it would upset the highway standards based approach. A recent LTT article reminded me to go back and see what it is like now, after a few years to bed in.
Pedestrian behaviour was interesting, with people who I presumed to be visitors still not certain where their territory starts and the car rules. (I would have though the Italian tourists would have felt at home, having sampled their “freeform” approach to traffic management.)
Since 2003 a number of other UK cities have looked at similar treatments, although it has to be recognised it isn’t going to be deliverable everywhere. CABE and Transport 2000 are promoting such schemes to “reclaim main roads from traffic”, but plenty of engineers rightly question the safety impacts of removing all guardrails, for example. Others where I work can say whether or not I am taking a too simplistic view.