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New Exhibition Road 'dangerous' say campaigners
Campaigners fighting a new 'shared space' in South Kensington say it will be dangerous for pedestrians to try and cross the road.
The council has spent just over £22m refurbishing Exhibition Road, with no yellow lines to determine the edge of the road, and no set crossing points for those walking - instead turning it into a shared space for cars and pedestrians.
West London Residents Association (WARA), the Knightsbridge Association and Imperial College all claim that the new road layout is dangerous, particularly for those who are blind, disabled, and the elderly, who could struggle to safely cross the street.
Gordon Taylor, chairman of WARA, said: "With no continuous yellow lines marking out both sides of the road and with signs telling drivers to give way to pedestrians, the layout endangers lives as people try to go from one side of the road to the other.
"Without proper road markings, vehicles can park anywhere including the pavements which are at the same level as the road. The exception is in the resident parking areas."
David Cowdrey, campaign manager for Guide Dogs for the Blind added: "The council knows that the blind, the elderly and other disabled groups require a controlled crossing to safely negotiate the road.
"It is shameful that one has not been installed, although provision has been made for one."
But a council spokesman said: "Pedestrians are able to cross Exhibition Road safely over its entire length, and indeed are doing just that, rather than being restricted to designated crossing points.
"Anyone who has ever visited the museums during the school holidays will know how inadequate the old narrow pavements were.
"Exhibition Road gives a dramatic reassignment of space for pedestrians without pedestrianising the road, which can sometimes sterilise an area and make it difficult for deliveries and disabled access.
"Clearly pedestrians must exercise caution as they would when crossing any road, but in Exhibition Road, traffic is restricted to a maximum speed of 20mph and visibility sightlines are excellent for both drivers and pedestrians.
"The scheme has been meticulously assessed throughout the design stages and we are now monitoring the road to see how it is used in practice."
The road attracts around 12 million visitors every year, and this year it is likely to increase with the Queen's Jubilee celebrations and the Olympic Games.
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