As an apparently successful experiment, several European cities are doing away with traffic signs in hopes that drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists will interact in a free and humane way.
Cities in Denmark, Scandinavia, and Britain "are dealing with traffic through what might be called creative chaos: They're removing signs, lights, and guardrails to create open public spaces, where cars and pedestrians mix freely, ungoverned by any rules."
From the article:
"European traffic planners are dreaming of streets free of rules and directives. They want drivers and pedestrians to interact in a free and humane way, as brethren -- by means of friendly gestures, nods of the head and eye contact, without the harassment of prohibitions, restrictions and warning signs...
'The many rules strip us of the most important thing: the ability to be considerate. We're losing our capacity for socially responsible behavior,' says Dutch traffic guru Hans Monderman, one of the project's co-founders. 'The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people's sense of personal responsibility dwindles.' "
From the earlier Christian Science Monitor article:
"Evidence from Dutch towns is impressive. Safety records have improved, local officials report, and accidents, when they do happen are far less serious, because of the slow speeds. Yet overall cross-town speeds are no slower than before, because intersections are far more fluid and snarl-ups are rare."
Thanks to Grist Magazine