The Marks Gate DIY Streets project recently featured in the Barking and Dagenham Post, which was exciting. The full range of concept designs can still be seen in a display at the Marks Gate Community Centre, where we welcome comments in the feedback box. Some of these designs are shown in the article and a previous blog on this site.
The designs can also be seen in maps, which you can find at the following links:
We will be running a Final Ambitions drop-in from 6-7.30pm on 23rd February at Marks Gate Community Centre to discuss the designs with residents.
Feedback from people who read the article ranged from comments about where to paint in Marks Gate to whether the designs were suitable for partially sighted users. Below are some of our responses.
“Im no designer but sure save some of that money of yours and maybe paint the blocks of flats!? People drive through marksgate and see the buildings not whats on the pavement!… Id also like to mention that the seating area outside the shops are a bad idea! It will make the youth that loiter in that area become very comfortable late at night and I can only imagine that it will cause alot of ASB issues within that close vacinity!”
While we’re happy to pass on recommendations about painting the buildings in Marks Gate to the relevant housing officer, the DIY Streets project’s focus is on the public Highway. While working on minor complimentary measures for enhancing the surround, such as the subway painting that’s been delivered and the ongoing artwork for the Rose Lane shop shutters, we are primarily redesigning roads and footways to make them safer and more attractive. We have worked with the community to identify local issues and come up with design solutions. The Yellow Brick Road is one such idea and was thought up by a group of parents at a workshop we ran at the school.
The shutters along Rose Lane are a work in progress and won’t be completed until the artist Tom Berry is back from holiday. We can’t wait to see the birds take flight!
We will be running a seating trial on Rose Lane from 26th March to 10th April with events and close monitoring. Our surveys show 13.1% of people recommend more seating as a way of encouraging socialising in the area, which was second only to a social space with 14.8%. 72% felt the area doesn’t currently offer space to socialise. We are happy to hear from more residents on this issue and either move the seating or design it out of the plans. If the public realm is well designed it can attract more positive use and help tackle ASB.
Other comments were about blind and partially sighted pedestrian use of the space.
“Shared surfaces rely on eye contact between pedestrians and drivers – so this completely fails to take into account the needs of blind and partially sighted people.”
We are creating the sense of a shared space, not a shared space. We are raising the level of the street along a small stretch of Rose Lane and de-cluttering the area, but will still separate people on foot from people in cars.
“Navigating the street without designated crossing points will mean depending on drivers to notice and stop when a blind or partially sighted person wants to cross. I am seriously worried about safety issues and want to see safe crossings included in street design.”
We do have designated crossing points; the zebra crossings that are currently in place are to be maintained. By de-cluttering the area we also hope to improve visibility of pedestrians by drivers.
“Kerbs are a very important part of street layout for blind and partially sighted people, yet shared surface schemes mean kerbs are removed. The kerb is vital for street orientation for long cane users, whilst guide dogs are trained to navigate by them. Removal of the kerb risks putting people in danger as it is difficult to work out where the safe area stops and the roadway for vehicles begins.”
In our proposal we do not remove the kerbs. The street area that is raised is different material to the pavement, which retains its current material. Tactile pavement is placed infront of crossing points to navigate visually impaired people. Formalising the parking spaces and the bus stop make sure that people have best access to the crossing points and not free access to the street from everywhere. What we have suggested in other schemes and has worked in other places is a 25mm level difference between the pavement and the street level. This is something groups that represent blind and partially sighted people are in favour of. We can introduce this to Marks Gate as well.
“In order to create a shared space scheme, a road can be wiped clear of all markings, signs and street furniture, sometimes including tactile paving. Tactile paving is vital to street navigation and informs people about risks and safe places to cross the road. Without it, yet another aid to mobility and safety for blind and partially sighted people is lost.”
The designs do include tactile paving – some of this level of detail was not included in the consultation drawings but will be included in the final scheme. Again we are creating the sense of shared space, we are raising the space in front of the shops to be flush (or almost flush) with the pavement. Road markings and zebra crossings will remain the same.
“A fear factor will cause another barrier to blind and partially sighted people. Without a defined safe space away from traffic, blind and partially sighted people will lose confidence. Blind and partially sighted people will stop using these streets and local businesses will miss out on the economic benefits.”
As mentioned above, despite the raising of the space, the pavement and street are well defined due to the existing green space or the formalising of parking spaces.
Finally, the concept drawings are starting the conversation with residents and local groups, making the designs very fluid and as such no Equality Impact Assessment or Safety Audits will be done until the scheme starts to take robust shape.
We will be running a Final Ambitions drop-in from 6-7.30pm on 23rd February at Marks Gate Community Centre to discuss the designs with residents. They will then be drawn up as detailed designs and building will begin in spring. Please get in touch using the comment box or directly with Louise, if you want to have your say.
Mobile number: 07879 809 169