Shared Space at Holbein Place crossing, Sloane Square, London

11 Jan

Holbein Place crossing, Sloane Square - Shared Space

Holbein Place crossing, Sloane Square – Shared Space

The crossing directly outside of Sloane Square tube station was altered from the standard pavement – crossing – pavement arrangement to a shared surface in 2009. We believe this crossing was designed by Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council, reader feedback would be welcome. The crossing now comprises of a single level surface of a single material for both pavement and carriageway . This extends from building frontage to building frontage. The edged of the carriageway is de-marked by 300mm wide kerbs laid flush with adjacent surfaces. Warning studs were retrofitted at the edge of the carriageway and signs saying ‘pedestrians’ have been added at the request of a number of pedestrians.

Holbein Place crossing, Sloane Square  - Shared Space

Holbein Place crossing, Sloane Square – Shared Space

This shared space crossing has generated a lot of debate both prior to its installation and after. There was, and continues to be, a lot of opposition to this type of crossing due to it being perceived as dangerous. However, this does not appear to be backed up by the statistics. After being open for nearly three years (opened in February 2009) there has been one minor accident at this crossing, a pedestrian’s foot was run over. As the current climate is risk adverse this accident could have been significant to the local authority, pressure from the lobbyists increased to have this junction returned to its original configuration. However, the local authority stood firm and the crossing remains as a shared space. This is, I believe, a reasonable response as one minor accident in three year is low considering 350 vehicles per hour pass through this space.

Holbein Place crossing, Sloane Square  - Shared Space

Holbein Place crossing, Sloane Square – Shared Space

I believe this type of crossing is good for our cities. Admittedly drivers within our cities will need to adjust their understand of the rules of the road and be more cautious, but I believe this is not a bad thing. Vehicular traffic can move more slowly without affecting their average journey speed, this in turn will create a safer, less noisy, less stressful pedestrian environment. This type of junction, I believe, will help to achieve this end.

My only criticism of this scheme, although most probably not envisaged as part of the original scheme, are the large bins at the centre of the crossing. Not only are they not aesthetically pleasing but more importantly they obscure the drivers vision of the footway.


Davis Landscape Architecture


11 Responses to “Shared Space at Holbein Place crossing, Sloane Square, London”

  1. Tom Tierney 12/01/2012 at 15:45 #

    The article refers to statistics supporting shared space casualty rates but no source is quoted. Where can we find the staistical evidence please?

  2. Aruna Rout 28/01/2013 at 19:16 #

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your weblog. You have some really good posts and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to
    write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to
    mine. Please shoot me an email if interested. Cheers!

    • Davis Landscape Architecture 28/01/2013 at 20:43 #

      Aruna, thanks for the offer. All our posts are written within our practice and all the content is of particular interest to our staff. We have not, to date, had any guest writers and do not see the need for any. Good luck with your blog, I tried to have a look at it but it did not seem to be active.

  3. andrewslater408033352Andrew 23/05/2014 at 13:32 #

    By any chance do you know what paving type they used for the linear pattern?


  4. David Parry 28/07/2014 at 14:19 #

    I worked near Sloane Square for about 18 months, and used the junction in question every day. The main problem I found with it is that there was / is no clear indication as to who – pedestrians or vehicles – have priority.

    To my mind, vehicles are ‘driving up onto the pavement’ rather than pedestrians ‘stepping down into the road’, so surely those on foot should have right of way.

    However, I lost count of the number of times that a vehicle (and black cabs were far and away the worst offenders) would just come straight off the roundabout and across the junction, making no attempt to slow down whatsoever.

    There may only have been one accident, but I suspect that the near misses are in the hundreds!

    • Davis Landscape Architecture 29/07/2014 at 14:48 #

      David, I would tend to agree vehicles (particularly taxi’s) do tend to treat this as a normal carriageway in which they have priority. There needs to be a mental shift in the driver of the vehicle within London and other cities where they are more courteous to the pedestrian (and cyclists) and they need to realise how vulnerable pedestrians (and cyclists) are on our roads. I would advocate a 20mph limit on all London road in an attempt to get more people cycling and to create a more pedestrian friendly environment.

  5. Allegra 03/03/2015 at 13:55 #

    My 8 year old son was nearly run over here on Feb 22 as he unfortunately looked the wrong way, a car driving 50 k per hour and I not realising it was a crossing in time because it is so BADLY signed (eg. hardly at all). He was within an inch of being knocked over and run over. This crossing is the dumbest thing ever

    • Vicki Taylor 04/04/2016 at 14:57 #

      Both my husband and I nearly ended our lives here. We walked from the tube station and as it was quite busy with other pedestrians any sign of change to a roadway was not visible. We literally felt the draft of the vehicle on our faces and the gasp of people around us as a transit van passed. The scheme is idiotic and a illustration of some architects aesthetic over common sense.


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