Velochick has been blogging about the shared road space in Ashford. My understanding (and I haven't been there yet so forgive me if I'm wrong) is that a large proportion of teh main ring road around the town centre has been turned into a shared space for cars, pedestrian, cyclists and lorries. I understand that it has a 20mph speed limit (can't see many pedestrians breaking that though).
I think the principle of pedestrians having priority on roads, followed by cyclists, buses etc. is generally right, however there is a great deal of opposition to the Ashford scheme.
I suspect the problem is three-fold:
1. It seems that all users have equal priority / rights over the area. I would suggest that is like putting a child in a ampitheatre with a hungry lion and suggesting they have equal rights, so all will be fine and dandy. Given that this is a busy route, there needs to be very strict controls in place to prevent lorries travelling at speed through pedestrian areas.
2. Culture change to a Euro system of road use is desperately needed.
3. Why put it on the main ring road? It would have made sense to do all the residential streets, and when the culture change has happened and drivers accept that they don't have foremost rights to the roads, then think about doing the ring road.
I likel Velochick's suggestions to get this to work on the ring road:
1) 100s of working secret speed cameras over the Shared Space area
2) It is so awful that motorists actually start avoiding it
3) If it is 7mph
4) Ashford start Congestion Charging (Motorists don’t like paying up)
5) Lorries get banned