Steer Davies Gleave develops modular footpath for London trial

29 January 2018 3 min. read
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An innovative modular pavement design is currently being deployed in the London area of Lavington Street. The new walkway, which has been reconfigured by consulting firm Steer Davies Gleave to improve pedestrian access in the region, will be tested for six months.

As part of the development of the Bankside district of London, part of the wider London Borough of Southwark, the Better Bankside not-for profit organisation was formed in. The organisation works with location businesses, many of which pay a levy to the organisation, to improve various aspect of the district.

The Bankside Boardwalk project was developed by the non-profit in 2016. The aim of the project is to explore how changing situations in cities and district, can be seamlessly integrated through simple transformations of space to better facilitate the outcomes of the new conditions. Much of the public space in cities (up to 80%) are roads, even though many are underutilised.Steer Davies Gleave develops modular footpath for London trialFor the project in question, the project explores how a temporary reconfiguration of Lavington Street to a one-way street, provides freed up space, which can then be re-appropriated as an extension to the footpath. The new footpath will be modular by design, allowing it to be deployed quickly at locations when new configurations are deemed appropriate – such as during construction, different times of the year, as temporary hoardings or for roadworks.

Better Bankside ran a design competition for the development of the temporary footpath, with ten submissions of sufficient quality received by the firm, representing around 28 organisations in the wider submission development process. A panel of key partners Southwark Council and Transport for London took part in the selection of the consultancy to provide designs, with Steer Davies Gleave winning the tender process. The firm recently worked alongside Ramboll to help deliver a public transport overhaul in Southampton.

Steer Davies Gleave developed the innovative modular design for the new footpath, before it was manufactured and installed by Trueform. The walkway will be in place for a period of six months, during which time Better Bankside will study the effect of the project on peoples’ experience of the new built environment.

Peter Piet Associate Director at Steer Davies Gleave said, “We are delighted to see the boardwalk installed as the bright colours and striking pattern of the boardwalk dramatically enhances the appearance of Lavington Street while the area undergoes substantial building work. It creates space for people to walk comfortably along the street and has places where people can sit and talk. I would like to thank Better Bankside, Southwark Council, Transport for London and the local community for their contributions in developing this innovative streetscape product”.

Modular technology has been employed by several projects in recent years. Most recently, this saw engineering consultancy Arup leverage the technology to develop a new bridge for locations where traditional technology cannot easily be deployed.