A CRASH on the new ‘shared space’ junction above the Ring Road near to Coventry station has prompted safety concerns.
But council highways chiefs insist the new £15million bridge deck at junction 6 of the Ring Road is working well in its first week.
The red-coloured space is similar but larger to other so-called ‘shared space’ junctions introduced in the city centre since 2011, where traffic lights and road signs have been removed with new 20mph speed limits.
It was designed to improve the first impression of visitors to Coventry arriving from the station, and the walk to the city centre via an expanded Greyfriars Green.
It was also championed by Coventry City Council leaders as a major road improvement on the old roundabout and pedestrian underpass which would boost the planned adjacent Friargate office development.
The council is to move staff from city centre offices into a new building in Friargate to become the first tenant in the hope of attracting more companies to Coventry.
Just days after the junction’s opening, two cars collided on Monday evening.
Some people have complained there is confusion as to who has priority between motorists and pedestrians.
Other pedestrians say they have been forced to wait too long to cross the road at busy times.
Colin Knight, the council’s assistant director of highways and transport, said traffic through the new junction was being closely monitored by cameras and the traffic control centre.
He said the two drivers involved in the accident were both apparently driving too fast when entering the junction.
He added: “Most drivers are approaching it absolutely correctly, going slowly but not stopping, watching out for other drivers and if they see the way is clear, they’re going.
“The important thing is not to jump into doing something. We need to carry on monitoring. The traffic is going through it better than through the old junciton. There was always a congestion problem with the old junction 6 and a road safety problem.”
Mr Knight has long insisted Coventry’s version of ‘shared spaces’ are not pure ‘shared spaces’ but are a less radical solution based on the same principles. Some signage, raised curbs and other features remain in place.
He says the new junctions have a good safety record in Coventry, and have been audited by road safety professionals.
Mr Knight says the traffic light junctions they replaced were dangerous, with many motorists not being sufficiently aware of pedestrians.
The concept of Coventry’s shared spaces is that motorists and pedestrians are forced to slow down and look out for each other more.