Radical Experiment: Get Rid Of Stop Signs And Traffic Lights

"Second generation traffic calming" -- removing traffic controls and allowing people and cars to mix freely -- has been successful in Europe and is catching on in the U.K.
May 21, 2004, 10am PDT | Abhijeet Chavan | @legalaidtech
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"It's called 'second generation' traffic calming, a combination of traffic engineering and urban design...In practice, it's about dismantling barriers: between the road and the sidewalk, between cars, pedestrians and cyclists and, most controversially, between moving vehicles and children at play...

The shared-street concept is also intriguing for the way it challenges one of the fundamental tenets of American urban planning: that to create safe communities, you have to control them...

...Hamilton-Baillie argues that the key to improving both safety and vehicular capacity is to remove traffic lights and other controls, such as stop signs and the white and yellow lines dividing streets into lanes. Without any clear right-of-way, he says, motorists are forced to slow down to safer speeds, make eye contact with pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers, and decide among themselves when it is safe to proceed...

Research has shown that fatality rates at busy intersections, where two or three people were being killed every year, dropped to zero when controls and boundaries were taken away."

[This article is only available to paying subscribers.]

Thanks to Miles Hochstein

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Published on Thursday, May 20, 2004 in Salon
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