Plans for Wales’ first shared space project at a major road junction are likely to be shelved this week amid uncertainty over new guidance.
Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC devised a shared space project for Stag Square in Treorchy, Rhondda Valley, where four busy roads meet. A public consultation revealed that support and opposition for the project were equally matched.
Stag Square Treorchy without the proposed changes
However, Roger Waters, service director highways and streetcare services, has said in a report to be considered by cabinet members on Thursday: ‘Responding to the concerns raised during the engagement day and the wider consultation exercise, and in light of the continued uncertainty regarding potential changes to official guidance of shared space, it is proposed that the council does not implement a shared space solution at this time at Stag Square.’
Mr Waters said a report on shared space by Lord Holmes, who is blind, led to a review of central guidance on design and implementation. ‘It was initially reported that new guidance would be issued in draft during March 2016 with the anticipation of publication during the summer.
‘At the time of compiling this report, the draft guidance is yet to be made available, though it is widely anticipated that it will include significant emphasis on providing greater definition and heightened formality for crossing points. This would be likely to erode some of the anticipated benefits of the shared space ethos by removing some of the efficiency generated by the informal integration of pedestrians with slow moving traffic in a shared space environment.’
Officers are now recommending alternative measures to improve pedestrian and vehicular flows. These include relocation of bus stops, restrictions on delivery vehicles and introduction of dynamic software to manage signal timings. These measures would not prejudice a future shared space solution, according to Mr Waters.
Officers have also suggested the shared space concept would be eroded if the guidance requires provision of formal pedestrian crossing points.