‘Give way to pedestrians.’
I thought signs like this would be superfluous with the fancy new street layout, which we were told would intrinsically suggest to drivers that they are moving through a pedestrian priority area. But evidently this isn’t the case. I also thought shared space advocates had a hostile dislike of ‘street clutter’ like this, which presciptively – and unnecessarily – informs road users of the correct way to behave. It seems that giving way is evidently something that is not coming naturally to motorists – perhaps it’s not that easy to get rid of signs.
Anyway, let’s see how ‘giving way to pedestrians’ works in practice.
If I had continued attempting to cross here, I would have ended up on the bonnet of this Peugeot.
Rather than ‘giving way’ to me, the Mercedes moves over to the right, preventing me from crossing. I’m then in the path of a taxi who makes no attempt to yield. I hastily have to retreat backwards – hence the shaky camerawork.
Having finally crossed the road when there weren’t any motor vehicles about – how I would have crossed the road anyway, in the absence of ‘sharing’ – I then crossed back.
Again, we see drivers failing to give way, in this instance, two taxis. It is interesting to note that the second ‘Union Jack’ taxi driver, like the Mercedes in the previous example, is able to use the increased width of the road to ‘outflank’ me, and prevent me from crossing. The third taxi – who flashes his lights – lets me go, but only, I suspect, because he was already slowing for a queue of vehicles at the lights ahead of him. Again, this would be perfectly ordinary behaviour in the absence of ‘shared space’.
I’m not really sensing a revolution in driver behaviour here.
I’m back in the area again tomorrow to see if things have improved. Wish me luck.