IAM survey: 48% want to remove pavements

Will the Dutch way of thinking make its way to the UK?

IN A recent survey by the IAM, 48% of the 4,000 respondents think the Woonerf concept – with no pavements, giving cars, pedestrians and cyclists equal use of the same road space – is a good idea for use in the UK.

Fifty-eight per cent of people think that drivers should be held legally responsible for accidents between cars and more vulnerable road users in pedestrian-priority zones, according to the latest poll by road safety charity the IAM.

Woonerfs are a concept which come from the Netherlands. The key distinction of a woonerf is the elimination of continuous curbs, placing the car and the the pedestrian on the same level. The benches, trees, and plants serve to direct the car through the street. They are designed to be used at walking pace to make them safer for more vulnerable road users and encourage cycling and walking.

When asked where these zones should be sited primarily, 16% think they should be used on all residential roads.

The biggest benefit of the system, as voted for by more than half of the respondents was the removal of street clutter including kerbs, signs and railings. Improved pedestrian and cyclist safety were also popular at 49 and 43 per cent respectively, and only a quarter believed there would be no benefit at all.

Opinion on whether the respondents themselves would want to live in such a zone was evenly split, at 39 per cent each.