|June 2009 image from Google Maps.|
|This photo has nearly the appearance of an architect's mock-up. But in this case it's a genuine photo, taken on 2013. Getting rid of the cars has really civilized this place.|
Now from the opposite end. 2009:
|Note how the cyclist has been pushed to the side in this view|
|The parked cars in the 2009 image have been replaced by buildings and cyclists use the centre part of the streeet without being concerned about cars.|
|The Ceresplein is highlighted in Green. Drivers now have to use the yellow roads to avoid the centre rather than driving through the Ceresplein|
The change in use here has also improved other streets in the city centre. Removing through traffic in the Ceresplein has greatly reduced the use of the streets which once led through traffic to it. This has worked precisely because they now have to leave by the same route as they arrived so there is no longer a reason to come to those streets by car unless you need to. These other streets are now nearly car free and this makes them a lot more more pleasant by bicycle than they used to be.
Pedestrianized - with bicycles
The Ceresplein is now a pedestrianized zone which allows bicycles. This is quite common in the Netherlands (another example) and it works very well with careful design. Such a zone should not be planned as a main through route by bike any more than it should be a main through route by car, but in a space as wide as the Ceresplein this is less of an issue.
It's also important to note that the area for cyclists looks like its an area for cyclists. In fact, it looks like a road. This is a convention which both cyclists and pedestrians are used to. If this space had no clear demarcation of cyclist and pedestrian areas then there would be more conflict.
The video below shows the Ceresplein now. It's now a relaxing space. It's ideal for shoppers, and therefore also for shopkeepers. When cyclists can take their bikes right up to the shops and when they will stay longer because the environment is more pleasant, shopping is made easier:
Compare this film with another film shot the same afternoon of a Shared Space with through traffic a few metres away.
Note that to the best of my knowledge, the Ceresplein was never formally referred to as "Shared Space". However, it had all the characteristics of Shared Space. Unlike other city centre streets in Assen which are nearly car free, this street embraced them. Motor vehicles used this as a through route and was it functionally a shared space. If it quacks like Shared Space and walks like Shared Space then to all intents and purposes, that's what it is...
Because the Ceresplein was never that popular as a through route, it actually worked better than many declared Shared Spaces. However it's still far better now without the through traffic. Certainly far better than an actual shared space a few metres away.