Monday, June 23, 2008

Fewer Traffic Signs, Better Safety?

From Rita thanks

When social interactions are more powerful than rules.
Imagine what would happen if you took down road signs and traffic signals. More accidents would surely result, or at least significant confusion and slower traffic. Or would it? The surprising thing is that a number of cities around the world have actually done this, and experienced dramatic declines in traffic accidents.

The idea is based on an urban design philosophy known as “shared space.” When drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists are forced to develop their own natural ways of interacting with each other, goes the thinking, they work out better social behaviors than the rule-driven behaviors dictated by professional traffic engineers. This does not mean an abandonment of design considerations, but rather a commitment to the larger public space designs instead of overly prescriptive traffic control devices such as traffic lights, signs and road markings. read more here


clintpatty said...

I thought about this when I was running after work today. There is an understood crosswalk at all intersections in Alabama where one is not marked, and pedestrians always have the right-of-way at the intersection. But the speed limit on the road is 45, and I could wait on 2 automobiles for like 5-10 seconds and go then. I did not exercise my right. Should I have? How many drivers in Alabama realize this is the law? Is there a more effective way for pedestrians and motorists?

I like having more contact with people instead of just vehicles. I'd be ready to ride like that and not stop at all stop signs if they made that the law. You challenge a law every time you break it, and so does a motorists who does something illegal and dangerous out of contempt for cyclists.

Bello Velo said...

Once again I think all of these rules and signs give a feeling of false security. More places around the world have less structured ( chaotic ) road rules than we do here and far fewer accidents. You think you are safer so you take more risks.

Plus it is all set up for cars here.

John Hubbard said...

There is an excellent article in the July/August issue of The Atlantic on this very subject. It is not available on line yet, unfortunately.

Tyler said...

clint I see you still read the blog why don't you come ride with us you are missing out.

Bello Velo said...

Send it over John when you get it. will repost. thanks

Bello Velo said...

I have a few questions for clint. I stop at stop signs lights etc... most of the time.

What am I suppose to do when a great majority of lights are weighted?

What about lights like the one on Airport or Seminole that change to red by the time I am half way through them.

clintpatty said...

I'm at Food Not Bombs on Fridays if I'm in Huntsville that late. I like to stay at work until right before that, but tomorrow I may leave early due to rain, and I have left early before due to rain.

I treat red lights that are not triggered as stop signs. I don't know what we're supposed to do. The laws sort of fail us with that. And changing to laws or changing light timings when we complain is cheaper than redoing intersections to make the triggers bike compatible. Insufficient time is also a problem for pedestrians at intersections with designated and timed crosswalks.

Bello Velo said...

Ok, so you just like a lot of people break the law.

clintpatty said...

Yeah. If I stayed there and waited on it to change I would be breaking the law due to loitering. So I'm just picking a law to break since the system does not accommodate me and allow me to follow the law. It's not like if you break the law once you've broken it 100 times.

Bello Velo said...

Therefore common sense not laws should prevail.

Sorry you wont make the critical mass, the art exhibit and space looks great maybe stop in later @ lowe mill about 9pm or after if you can have some food and fun.

Oh bring your own fork:)