One of the things that I liked to see in Amsterdam was the quite common use of continuous footways across side roads:
This is also occasionally seen in Britain, but the designers often seem to miss the point. Here is an example from my home town of Bolton:
Here, the road is raised to the level of the kerb, but the whole design of the junction makes it look still as though the pedestrians are crossing a roadway, rather than motor vehicles crossing a footway. In fact it makes the priority completely ambiguous, which could conceivably lead to pedestrians and motorists both thinking they have the priority, with disastrous results. In practice, I rarely see motorists giving way to pedestrians here.
The key differences here are that in the Dutch design, the kerb-line does not deviate across the junction mouth, even though there is a dropped kerb, unlike the Bolton design; the surface material of the footway is continuous across the junction, whereas the Bolton design has a different coloured surface across the junction; and there are no kerb-stones around the junction mouth as there are in the Bolton design. In addition, the presence of the give-way lines aligned with the kerbs give the impression to motorists that they should block the footway whilst waiting to exit from the side road. For goodness sake, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing properly!
It seems to be virtually impossible in this country to get highway designers to leave behind this ingrained world view in which roads are for motor vehicles and anything else is to be fitted around that. The more I think about this, the more ridiculous and stupid it seems.
Update: I’m told by The Ranty Highwayman (who really knows what he’s talking about) that the Bolton example is not a continuous footway, but an entry treatment. I think this distinction is a technical one among highway engineers, though. The point is that if the council is going to do this, then why not do a continuous footway rather than just an entry treatment, which makes the priority ambiguous at the very least. He also referred me to some examples of good practice in London, including this one (Kenington Park Road/Magee Street), which appears to have been changed from a similar design to the Bolton one as part of the upgrade to Cycle Superhighway 7.