Wyre Forest District Council has set out its plans to address issues that have been highlighted in the Stage 3 Road Safety Audit in respect of its newly installed shared space at Exchange Street in Kidderminster.
The audit, which is a normal part of the process in delivering new highway schemes, was carried out last month by independent highway engineers Mott MacDonald in consultation with the police and Worcestershire County Council as highway authority.
Cllr Marcus Hart, Leader of Wyre Forest District Council, said:“I’m pleased with the Road Safety Audit which re-affirms that the council has designed and implemented a safe shared space and recommendations in the report are designed to maintain the integrity of the shared space concept.
"The report advises that “care should be taken not to introduce excessive delineation and a clear route for vehicles. It is a concern that clear and obvious delineation between ‘carriageway’ and ‘footway’ moves away from a shared space philosophy and is likely to increase vehicle speeds”. I hope that once and for all this now lays to rest any scaremongering that the area is unsafe for pedestrians.”
The audit has made a number of recommendations to improve the layout of the shared space and the council’s designers, IBI Taylor Young, have now been able to respond to the recommendations and set out what measures are proposed to address them.
Cllr Ian Hardiman, Wyre Forest District Council Cabinet Member for Planning & Economic Regeneration said:
“We always said that it was important to understand all the facts before responding to ill-informed criticism of the scheme and we are pleased to have received the audit and for our design team to be able to respond to it. The matters raised in the report are generally very minor and we are happy to take them on board. This is a normal part of the process of implementing any highway scheme, big or small.
"Much was made about the location of new benches in the scheme and the report indicates that pedestrians using them might feel vulnerable in some locations, so we are going to look at that and supplement the seating to ensure that it is clear to drivers that they are entering a pedestrian space. We also plan to install some additional signage to alert drivers that they are entering a shared space where pedestrians have priority as well as re-enforcing the parking restrictions that apply throughout the area.”
The council plans to implement the changes as soon as its contractors are able to undertake the works.