George Monbiot on traffic calming and control, in The Guardian
Summary: Direct, physical changes to neighborhood streets that reduce the volume and speed of traffic increase personal safety and community quality of life. Some drivers get very angry when they feel their need to move swiftly through city neighborhoods is impeded.
My take: We’re getting a little of this with the speed humps the City’s putting in. It’s just a beginning. GoBike’s bike lane tests are showing us another part of the way forward. Monbiot makes a good point about how the effects of reducing traffic volume and speed are different for bigger and smaller streets. Also, efforts to calm biggers streets can push it through neighborhoods, to bad effect. Neighborhood streets are full of those pesky pedestrians, cyclists, old and disabled folks and little kids, often because they’re avoiding the local stroad.
“There could scarcely be a more reasonable policy. Low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) seek to stop residential streets being used as escape valves for overloaded arterial roads. They replace a privilege exercised by a few – rat-running through local streets – with rights enjoyed by the many: cleaner air, less noise, safe passage for children, cyclists, users of wheelchairs and mobility scooters, stronger communities.”
“The angry drivers insist that LTNs have been imposed on them. Well, whether they agree or not, there are consultations. But no one was consulted about their streets being used as short cuts. No one was consulted about facing a higher risk of asthma and dementia as a result of air pollution, or seeing their communities split by walls of traffic. No one was consulted about losing the places where neighbours could talk and children could play.”