Strong Towns Podcast
Episode 196

Ben Hamilton-Baillie, Take 2

Charles Marohn published on

Engineer and shared-space designer Ben Hamilton-Baillie returns to the podcast to talk about how to get started with building shared space, the chances of success in the United States and some memories of his father, a World War II veteran who lead and assisted a number of escapes from German prisoner-of-war camps.

You can follow Ben Hamilton-Baillie on Twitter, see more of his work on his firm’s website and watch the video, Poyton Regenerated, that was discussed in the podcast. The book about the escape Jock Hamilton-Baillie was invovled in is called Zero Night by Mark Felton. It is a really good read.

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  • Eli Damon

    Great interview. I have a few comments to make.

    Chuck mentioned that anti-lock brakes made him feel comfortable going faster because he the anti-lock brakes reduced his stopping time. This goes right to the point of how a false sense of safety leads motorists to take greater risks, and it does so in an ironic way, because he is making the very mistake that he is trying to illustrate. In fact, anti-lock brakes have no effect on stopping time. They prevent skidding, which helps the driver keep control over the vehicle, but the stopping time is the same.

    Regarding cyclists and "shared space" (I dislike that term, but I'll use it here anyway): There are cyclists on both sides of the argument. Some say that shared space increases cyclist safety and others say that it slows cyclists down. The safety issue is tricky, as some risks would be diminished and others would be enhanced, but it is definitely true that shared space would slow cyclists down. Of course, it would slow motorists down too, I would certainly oppose a design that arbitrarily slowed down cyclists, but this is slowing everyone down as part of a systemic improvement. I think that both sides miss the point in focusing only on the specific effect on cycling and ignoring the overall change in the urban environment. This just isn't about cycling and should not be treated as a cycling issue.