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10041Light-Free, Car-Free Day - Idea Factory

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  • Eric Britton
    Dec 2, 2006
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      With enormous respect to Martin Cassini and those who believe that human
      nature and civil behaviour alone is going to do the trick, I would like
      to add the following small variant for an eventual Light-Free, Car-Free
      Day in your city. But first a caveat:

      The very nature of the car is that it makes one impatient, and speed is
      a natural, inevitable, almost universal expression of this impatience.
      In all of us I am afraid, even those of us who stop and smile when a
      pedestrian is waiting to cross. It is, irrevocably, the nature, the
      pathology of the beast (the beast by the way in this case being that
      particular combination of man and machine - the roaring centaur of the
      20th century)

      So, what to do in those places in 2007 where they decide to turn off the
      traffic lights for the day and have a go at this interesting idea?

      Bear in mind that - in our skeptical version of this at any rate - the
      one thing that is needed to slow people down is to remove as many of
      those long straight lines that usually they have to run in. What we
      need to do is to make it physically impossible for them to speed. At
      least at the learning stage.

      So at every intersection on this one day, just before the lights go off,
      someone smart puts in an agreed obstacle, a large visible obstacle that
      everyone, every driver can see and be obliged to slow down for and creep
      around.

      Now this might for example be one or two parked cars in the middle of
      the intersection - a sort of improved roundabout.

      Even better perhaps if we can do something around whatever is the large
      visible object we pop there. For example turn it into a bit of convivial
      public space. Maybe with a couple of potted plants. An all day poetry
      reading from a chair and media link. Maybe a get up like the following
      from the terrific Rebar group --
      http://www.rebargroup.org/projects/parkingday/index.html -- but this
      time in the middle of the intersection.



      Anyway, you get the idea.

      Anybody ready to run with this?

      Eric Britton



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