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16th Jan 2005 | 23:16

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1105614487492&call_pageid=970599119419

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1427660,00.html

I'd like to see them try this in Cambridge, if only because the clutter on the streets in the city centre is incredibly ugly. This is assuming, of course, that it has the right effect on taxi drivers and other cretins. But given that our councils have very old-fashioned and rules-bound approaches to road design, I don't have much hope.

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Comments {17}

Nicolai The Hand Grenade of Courteous Debate

from: _nicolai_
date: 16th Jan 2005 23:28 (UTC)

I can see one problem: it seems to assume that everyone can pass everyone else. One of Cambridge's main traffic problems is around the bus station, where the road is not wide enough for buses to park and pass at the same time.
They also don't mention visibility - you can't make allowance for something you cannot see, such as a darkly-clad pedestrian or illegally unlit cyclist.
I'm curious how they would get around those two problems. Bright streetlighting may deal with the latter, but brings its own problems - cost, light pollution, annoyance to people in nearby houses trying to sleep, unattractive skyline.

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 17th Jan 2005 00:07 (UTC)

As far as space is concerned, you have to be selective about where you apply different traffic management designs. In fact common sense is required in general. Don't make yourself invisible, and don't drive so fast that you can't stop in time.

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(Deleted comment)

cartesiandaemon

from: cartesiandaemon
date: 17th Jan 2005 11:42 (UTC)

They it's working, but how long has it been working for? I seem to remember someone comparing safety when a traffic change I can't remember, but was something that sounded like it should be more dangerous; at first accidents decreased, presumably because everyone was scared and driving more carefully, but later, everyone got used to it, and accidents increased back up to slightly higher than they were to start with.

Other problems would be things like turning onto a busy road. Will people let someone in ahead of them if the traffic lights are removed? Or think 'someone else can'?

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ewx

from: ewx
date: 17th Jan 2005 13:01 (UTC)

That seems to suggest that if you want to keep accidents down, you should continuously change the rules. Of course, people might get used to that too...

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cartesiandaemon

from: cartesiandaemon
date: 17th Jan 2005 13:46 (UTC)

And then change the meta rules, eg. not changing the rules for a bit.. And then the meta-meta-rules. And soon, the w-meta-rules...

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Sion

from: sion_a
date: 17th Jan 2005 13:28 (UTC)

Trinity Street already effectively operates on this principle, and it's quite clear that it "operates" not "works". At least from the point of view of anyone other than a pedestrian. Many people already seem to resent having to accommodate bikes and cars on the road—to make it their right to behave without consideration for other road users will make a street indistinguishable from a pedestrianised zone. Not that pedestrianisation is necessarily a bad thing, but this is not a genuine alternative.

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 17th Jan 2005 14:07 (UTC)

Why would you say it fails to work?

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Sion

from: sion_a
date: 17th Jan 2005 14:51 (UTC)

Because it requires the pedestrians to be aware of road traffic and care about it.

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 17th Jan 2005 15:08 (UTC)

And why do you think they are insufficiently aware and careful? Why is their behaviour a problem?

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Sally

from: atreic
date: 17th Jan 2005 15:12 (UTC)

Because nothing can go sufficiently fast down the road to hurt them, because of all the unaware pedestrainas in the way...

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 17th Jan 2005 15:27 (UTC)

Sounds like a success to me.

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Sion

from: sion_a
date: 17th Jan 2005 15:42 (UTC)

(a) Because people are like that.
(b) Because it severely impacts the usability of the road for non-pedestrians. As I said, it effectively provides a pedestrianised road, whereas the goal appears to be maintaining general purpose use.

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Arnhem

from: arnhem
date: 17th Jan 2005 20:00 (UTC)

My own experience is that the only time it impacts the usability of Trinity St (and friends) is when there is an extremely large number of users of the road (eg hordes of pedestrians on Saturdays, or hordes of cyclists at 8:55 during term-time).

But then, the same can be observed on the M25 ...

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kötturinn

from: kotturinn
date: 19th Jan 2005 17:23 (UTC)

Which junction/street/whatever would you suggest? I can't see it being applicable to many, in part because so many have lousy sight-lines. Personally, I'd rather see it applied somewhere where the relationship between different groups of road (including pavement) users were a bit less acrimonious than here :-(

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 19th Jan 2005 18:10 (UTC)

Most of the city centre, e.g. Bridge St, Trinity St, King's Parade, Bene't St, St Andrew's St (outside Bradwell's Ct), etc. Remove the bollards along the pavements, drop the kerbs, let everyone make their way with consideration for other people rather than using rules to justify selfishness.

For example, the speed of traffic through the width restriction outside Magdalene is too high, and it is too narrow for a car and a cycle to fit side-by-side comfortably especially when they are travelling in opposite directions. A cyclist can try to own the road but will suffer abuse from taxi drivers who prefer to play chicken rather than respect the give way instruction. The pavements are too narrow for people to walk side-by-side or to pass each other comfortably. If this area was paved completely flat with no bollards, pedestrians would be able to use whatever space they needed, cyclists would be able to travel in the opposite direction to taxis without risking a crash, and cars would have to travel at a reasonable speed.

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kötturinn

from: kotturinn
date: 20th Jan 2005 15:36 (UTC)

I quite agree that the current state outside Magdalene is dire. I'm just not as sure as you seem to be that the outcome would be so positive. I have a nasty feeling that many drivers would still play chicken - using the size and weight of their vehicle as the determining factor.

The closest analogy I can think of is areas of the country where much of the driving is down narrow, unmarked, country lanes. Some people do courteously make the best of the situation when they meet traffic (of any sort) in the opposite direction. Unfortunately there are those who make no effort at all to accommodate other users (a completely unscientific sample-of-one suggests this behaviour is on the increase).

On a (possibly lightly related) side issue it would be interesting to have some idea of/statistics for accidents human/vehicular behaviourin the days before tarmacadam et al. - although I grant you I have no idea how reliable any extrapolation of behaviour would be :-)

I am a pessimist of course.

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