Hackney goes Dutch: New shared space makes cyclists and pedestrians kings of the road

Leonard Circus

Pedestrians and cyclists will rule the road in London’s most advanced shared street space yet, pioneered by Hackney Council.

The Council used a Dutch design model to transform Leonard Circus, in Shoreditch, into an attractive, people-orientated brick and granite public place.

Kerbs have been removed and road markings and traffic signs minimised to de-prioritise vehicles.

Motorists at the low-traffic junction are expected to adapt their behaviour, drive slower and give way to those on foot and bike.

Trees and seating take centre stage in the new layout, at the junction of Leonard Street and Paul Street, in the nod-to-Continental urban hub.

Super-sharp LED lighting, the first in the area, and soon-to-go-live CCTV cameras, will allow the space to be enjoyed safely 24 hours a day.

An electricity point means mini festivals and secret cinemas are a possibility in the future.

The Council also plans to bring Wi-fi to the site to cater for those working in the nearby Tech City and to turn the junction into a vibrant, social focal point.

The space replaces the confusing and vehicle-biased ‘Hitchcock’s Reel’ plinth, reintroduces the original diamond-shaped layout, and is now more user-friendly for people with accessibility needs.

Hackney is leading the way in creating forward-looking traffic management. More commuters travel by bike than car in Hackney and we’re determined to cater for their needs. The new layout means the car is no longer king here, instead the environment encourages more walking and cycling, which is a key part of our transport vision and strategy.
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Hackney Council

David Rowe, Head of Borough Projects and Programmes, said: “We are delighted to support this new pedestrian and cyclist-friendly scheme in Shoreditch.

"Transport for London (TfL) recognises and supports the growing number of cyclists, and is committed to ensuring all road users are able to travel safely and conveniently on London’s roads.

“TfL provides funding to each London borough through the Local Implementation Plan to fund schemes such as this, which benefit local communities.”

The Reel has been relocated to Shoreditch Park.