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Exhibition Roadworks

Jan 16 2005 19:30
James Devine
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea have appointed Sir Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones to work on constructing detailed plan for the creation of a ?shared space? for motorists and pedestrians on Exhibition Road.
The future for Exhibition Road?

The announcement signalled the Royal Boroughs intention of bringing Exhibition road into the new century. The formal selection of Dixon Jones Architects and Ove Arup and Partners for the design of the project was confirmed back in August 2004. There is a strong commitment by the project team to respect the views of local residents, treating them as ?experts? on the local environment.

The project will aim to make the most of the famous buildings along the road, including The Natural History Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Science Museum and The Royal Geographic Society. The vision is to create a finished environment which will set new standards in urban design, whilst also delivering an improved quality of life for the local people. Key focus points for the development will include building recognition of exhibition road as a place of cultural and educational significance. Specific measures are included in the proposal to address the poor state of the pedestrian tunnel from South Kensington Station to the Science Museum.

The most dramatic changes proposed by the scheme, although yet to be fully detailed, are made in regard to traffic management. Apparently the designers want to make the road an attractive place for pedestrians, without excluding road traffic. The scheme will reduce the driver?s certainty about the road environment, re-defining the ownership of road and pavement space, drawing largely on experiments undertaken in Holland. Trials of the new approach have produced substantial reductions in road traffic accidents.

The project is one of Ken Livingstone?s 10 flagship projects for re-development of street space. However there are substantial questions over how the project will be funded. The project is being financed by the City of Westminster, the Mayor and Transport for London (TfL). It is estimated that the project will require at least £25 Million in order to achieve completion, yet current funding stands at only £550,000 contributed by TfL. Other sources of funds currently being considered include the department of Culture, Media and Sport, the Government Office for London and even the National Lottery.

An extensive public consultation exercise is due to begin shortly. The proposal appears to be positive news for all the users of Exhibition road, however if it is ever to reach fruition, the substantial funding shortfall will need to be addressed. There is also the more open question of whether changes in the road landscape will be sufficient to change the behaviour of London drivers.

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Discussion about “Exhibition Roadworks”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Jan 16 2005 19:36

Sorry for the delay in the publishing of this article; this is mainly due to my incompetence and laziness.

2. amram   
Jan 16 2005 23:27

What do they mean exactly by "shared space" for pedestrians and motorists? Is that a euphemism for making a narrow road weven narrower as a part of fascist ken's war on the motorist?

Perhaps the idiots don;t get it but if you continue to fight the motirst in this city with more ridiculous pavement indentations, islands, longer red light times, more unneccessary bicycle lanes (like the stupid rectangles thast mean one has to stop 2m back from the traffic light for no good reason at all) then this city will continue its decline into 3rd world status. This plan reeks of livingstone's destructive powers.

agtain back to my albania analogy. In albania the roads were narrow, but that was no problem because the only people who could use them were the communist party leaders as they were the only people who could afford cars. that is why people did not have enough to eat (lack of adequate transport of supplies) medicine was poor (much like the NHS or our local monster the IC health centre). On the subject of Ic health centre, I think that a prize should be given to the secretary- something like most incompetent jobsworth 2004...

then again a certain female doctor could be given the title of most anathemous species closely related to humanity....

oh leftists/ communist s trade unionists can;t you all go off to north korea and leave us law abiding hard wolking folk free to pursue our lives in peace!!!

Jan 16 2005 23:33

by the way i include, in my definition of leftist abominations, and creatures anathemous to normal law abiding hard working humans, certain tiddbits and smithies.

Jan 16 2005 23:42

By shared space they mean exactly that. No pavements, no traffic lights, no crossings. People would be free to mingle with cars - neither cars nor pedestrians would have right of way, so it's first-come first-served for occupying roadspace.

Probably not the best idea to try this on a road full of school-children for a large proportion of the year.

Jan 17 2005 09:26

So this would be reverting to the types of road that used to exist in London 100 years ago, perhaps? Curious.

Jan 17 2005 11:17

Wot, not that "Red" Fascist Ken Amram?

7. amram   
Jan 17 2005 12:27

Political extremes meet Mr.C . Ken is as much a fascist as communist just as the Nazis were national socialists.

Wow what a brill idea- no traffic lights, no zebra crossings, all victorian style. How fitting, not only are we reverting to 3rd world standards we are literally going backwards in time. perhaps we should all use horse and carriage instead of those pesky internal combustion engines!

Jan 17 2005 12:52

During construction of the Tanaka building, did College pay to replace the pavement outside? The pavement they're now going to dig up...

(They may not have done, I can't say I've paid much attention to the pavement).

Jan 17 2005 13:26


If you think we are reverting to "Third World Standards", not only are you politically incorrect in your terminology but you have also quite clearly not been to the "Third World."

We have the right to free speech in this country. Please try not to abuse it. To shorten a phrase used during the Second World War: "Careless talk costs!"

10. Seb   
Jan 17 2005 16:22


Hall of residents on one side.

Student union with cheap bar and late license on the other side.

No pedestrian crossing.

Accident waiting to happen?

11. B H   
Jan 17 2005 23:45

It has taken about 100 years for streets to become no-go areas, especially for small children. Car drivers like me now take it for granted, even in busy town centres, that people on foot should get out of our way. Why? Well we're bigger and 'arder than them.

Perhaps projects like this are the beginning of reversing that trend, by expecting car drivers to act like grown-ups rather than providing them with an environment that does everything for them.

More importantly, this is a sign of innovation and creativity in street design, which is in desperately short supply in an environment otherwise grossly dominated by regulation, jobs-for-the-boys over-specification, and standardisation; and worst of all, features that are built in the name of safety, but simply serve to help the cars travel faster and with greater ease.

Standardisation sounds safe, but can breed complacency to the point that we drive around in a Radio-based coma waiting for something bright to flash at us. Inconsistency sounds dangerous, but it forces us to think and to take real responsibility for our actions, just like those on foot have to.

Real innovation dares to risk failure. Without failure we cannot learn. Let's see how the baby-driver copes without being spoon-fed.

Can I bring my horse?

12. Sciv   
Jan 18 2005 11:51

Exhibition Road does take traffic lights surrounded by barriers a bit to the extreme but then if you've got 30 kids and about 3 adults to supervise them thats what you want- everyone else walks around the barriers and ignores the traffic lights.

The thing that makes me laugh (or cringe) is the fact that people research into low C02 emmission tyres and super-effiecient engines when you could cut emmissions by not making cars stop and start every 3 meters! (some places its justified but a lot of the time it's not)

I've started ranting now so I'll continue; traffic light controlled roundabouts and roundabouts with cycle lanes on them which would kill any cyclist trying to turn right who follows the lane- grrr!

Jan 18 2005 13:15

Knock it all down and bring Exhibtion Road back to it's 1826 glory.

Jan 26 2005 19:27

Dan Houcke from Mech Eng 4th year has been run over by a taxi in Exhibition Road and fortunately escaped unhurt.

Wonder what that'll do for the shared space plans- wake people up to the fact that there's real people using this road or can 'they' use it to argue that it wouldn't have happened if it had been a shared space?

15. Nia   
Jan 26 2005 19:53

I don't know what the statistics would be but there must be *some* number of accidents on the road every year otherwise they couldn't possibly have an "improvement" to announce after it's been naked for a bit.

I think the idea is that cos its nude the cars pay more attention. It's not like it's especially pleasant for drivers if they do hit someone. Obviously not all drivers will because the world is imperfect but if *enough* people are concentrating more *enough*...

I think it is an interesting experiment. I'm unsure of the wisdom of trying out in an area with so many massive (generally unaware) groups of children visiting the museums.

Jan 27 2005 00:10

Thank you Chris for raising the point of the Mech. Engineer involved in Tuesdays incident.

Can I point out that I was present at the incident and no he was not "run over", rather, only slightly scratched and well shaken as anyone would be. But interestingly it was the taxi driver who called the police and waited till they arrived, which re-inforces the belief in responsible driving.

I wonder if a porsche carrera 4s drivers would have cared....

Aug 27 2012 19:09

Well when you put responsibility of a thing to some irresponsible person that is invetible.

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