People Friendly Big Streets

Main streets used to be the most important, elegant, and fashionable parts of a town. The growth in vehicle traffic changed all that, bringing noise, pollution, severance and danger. They aslo brought the ugliness of traffic engineering, and a tendency to brutalise what were once fine streets with infrastructure that is wholly out of scale with the surrounding context. 

Schemes such as Poynton have demonstrated that it is possible to accommodate significant flows of traffic, without the need for a thighway aesthetic. There are examples of boulevards in the UK and overseas that handle even higher levels of traffic. Yet conventional highway design remains wedded to multi-lane carriageways, complex signal controlled junctions, and large land grabbing roundabouts.      

What can we do to humanise these vitally important spaces? Is there an answer to the health risk posed by air pollution and should we really be creating dense residential development along these corridors? Can we strike a compromise between traffic flow and liveability? Should some streets not be designed for people?

This event, kindly hosted by HTA Design, in the Making People-Friendly Places series will explore the options.

6.30pm : Introducution by Simon Bayliss of HTA Design

Followed by four short presentations:

  • Graham Smith, Consultant, UDG Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, formerly of Oxford Brookes with an overview of the history of Distributor Roads and what other places are designing instead

  • Ian Hingley of Urban Movement on the role of big streets within an urban context and sharing modal priorities

  • Duncan Berntsen of Medway Council on humanising an exisiting dual carriageway into a linking urban avenue to connect the Medway Towns

  • Nicholas Boys Smith of Create Streets on looking forward with ideal qualities of a successful big streets

7.30pm : 30 minute panel discussion and discussion

8.00pm : Event ends