Read a wise article in the most recent Wired about a new trend in traffic management. A 30-year expert in traffic patterns and management, Hans Monderman, from Holland, talks about how they removed the road markings, traffic lights and some pedestrian crossings to a dangerous intersection where four roads converge….and the result was far fewer problems, no accidents, and a generally more friendly environment for the cars and the people. The gist is that chaos = cooperation.
Bringing people closer to the road and making the roads thinner enhances the contact between driver and walker. People negotiate crossings with a nod and a hand signal, drivers go slow to guage the intentions of cyclists and walkers, simply put, people take better care when they’re not told what to do all the time.
West Palm Beach FL converted some large thoroughfares into thinner two way streets, and that made people feel it was safe to walk there. More pedestrians leads to new shops, apartment buildings and higher property values. One manager’s comment, “people are prisoners of their cars,” and rethinking our approach to traffic is the wave of the future.