Op-Ed: Why, if driving is an addiction, we aren’t calling for it to be treated like other addictions.

Not everybody loves Car Free Days equally

                                         Not everybody loves Car Free Days equally

Simon Norton comments on “Thursday”: A breakthrough strategy for reducing car dependence in cities

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* Most definitely not a city without cars, but a city in which living without a car is, on the grounds of convenience, comfort and economics for many preferable to living with one.  It is not about government interference or compulsion. It is a scenario which offers more and better choices.  (Does your city offer that choice?)

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The Psychopathology of the Everyday Driver. Part II: Brainstorming Protective Measures

little-girl3Upon reading the World Streets article of 25 Oct. on ‘The Psychopathology of the Everyday Driver’, Dr. Mah Hui, a city councilman in George Town Malaysia, commented:

It is very interesting and promising proposition which i can agree with substantially. But suddenly you break off when you just made the point that its more effective to design the roads to slow down vehicles. Do you have section 2 to suggest what types of designs have been used and might work?

In Penang, our council is using speed tables to slow down cars with limited success partly because it’s not well designed as I see the motorists and especially motor cyclist speeding up and crossing the speed tables at over 30 kph !  Even  with better designs how do we reduce their speed over stretches without the tables?

Regards/ Mah Hui

Oops. You are so right Ma Hui. I admit I was being a bit lazy in that first blast, but as luck would have it I have given this quite a bit of attention over the years and have had a  chance to observe both better (less) and worse (more) treatments in cities around the world.  And while I am by no means a traffic engineer, what I can offer this morning is a quick shortlist as it comes off the top of my head and memory, and with more than a little help from US Institute of Transportation Engineers Traffic Calming Library (www.ite.org/traffic/), along with an article just in from Partners for Public Spaces by Jay Walljasper entitled  “How to Restore Walking as a Way of Life”.

And now, in to the answer to your query, starting with a first lot of ideas for Slow Street Architecture:

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Op-ed: The Psychopathology of the Everyday Driver

speeding car pedestrian crossingSometimes life is simple:

Question: How fast will car drivers speed on any given stretch of road or street?

Answer: As fast as they can.

Qualification: And if that is not true for every driver on the road, it is true for enough of them that if road safety is the goal, then this brutal, uncompromising reality must be taken into serious consideration.

Question 2: Now what if anything can we do about it?

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Why transportation?

Why in all the welter and chaos of those many issues and trends that threaten our planet have we decided to focus on the much-needed, long-overdue, massive overhaul of the transport sector as our goal?  To understand this choice made some years ago have a look at this table which appears in an article by the noted physicist and  international environment scientist  Dr.  Robert U. Ayres in the latest edition of Exernomics http://exernomics.org.

rua on exernomiics fig 3


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