Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Traffic Anarchy= Safer Roads?

I wrote here back in 2009 about a plan in Drachten, Holland to remove all traffic control measures in the city of 50,000. It was a traffic engineer's idea to make streets safer. I wondered how that idea had worked. The National Motorist's Association reports it worked well, reporting that traffic accident's went down after they put the idea to practice.

"Der Speigel noted in 2006 that the number of accidents in Drachten 'declined dramatically' after the open traffic design was implemented. Other European cities similarly minimized their traffic control systems with positive results."

I'm still leery of the idea but, when you think about it, many of the traffic "calming" measures we've taken in the U.S. do the same sort of thing. Those concrete and brick islands they've put up in the middle of at least a couple streets in Eureka seem to me more of a hazard than anything else, and I do pay special attention to them. The same could be said of claims made over the street tree program.

But we can't just let the roads be hazardous by themselves, can we? We have to physically create obstacles to make them more hazardous.


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