We had a good discussion on Saturday about paving, but there wasn’t a clear consensus on the best way to move forward. With the timescales being what they are, we don’t have long to make a decision on the type of materials we use. I set out here the case for developing a bold pattern and it would be great to hear the community’s feedback.
As a team we are motivated to ensure the designs make the neighbourhood feel special and unique. Why? If a neighbourhoood looks and feel like it is ‘owned’ by the community and obviously different to just another ‘normal’ road, people are more likely to treat it with respect.
As a community, your priorities included slowing traffic speeds, a better ‘definition’ of the neighbourhood, and encouraging people to show ‘respect’ for the area. Creating a ‘bespoke’ pattern can help to address some of these objectives. A pattern can challenge the perception of a road and the behaviour of drivers. In a previous project in Oxford, average traffic speeds were reduced to 16mph as a result of a pattern being painted on the road. A pattern also has the potential to create a visual ‘thread’ to tie the neighbourhood together.
Some people felt the use of ‘Charcoal’ and ‘Natural’ tones were not colourful enough. Others felt that the pattern should be more random. The colours and pattern proposed were chosen because they offered a good contrast and simplicity. However, the use of other colours and a more random style might be more interesting and could still achieve this effect – your ideas are encouraged!
However, we would still argue against the use of red blocks. Red is by far and away the most commonly used colour in highway design, you see it everywhere, bus lanes, cycle lanes, busy junctions as well as in more conventional traffic calming projects. It is also the colour of choice for retail parks and supermarket car parks. It is argued that red provides a good contrast and drivers are less inclined to park in red areas. However, if we really want to make your neighbourhood (whatever you decide to call it) truly special, we argue that we need to be bolder and opt for something more striking.
This is your neighbourhood, what do you think?
I attach a photo of an example (of random block work) from Holland.
We welcome your ideas!