Roads Gone Wild

I just picked up an old Wired magazine from Dec 2004 that was lying around and discovered this article I can't believe I didn't read the first time round.

In it the writer interviews a road engineer from Holland who is pioneering safer roads without signs and road markings. At one point, to demonstrate his theory, the engineer walks backwards into traffic at one of his sites without looking and the traffic passes around him.

It also touches on how North American cities like West Palm Beach are giving over space that was once set aside for the car to pedestrian areas and (surprise!) the area has become more liveable.

"In West Palm, people were just fed up with the way things were, and sometimes, that's what it takes," says Lockwood, the town's former transportation manager. "What we really need is a complete paradigm shift in traffic engineering and city planning to break away from the conventional ideas that have got us in this mess. There's still this notion that we should build big roads everywhere because the car represents personal freedom. Well, that's bullshit. The truth is that most people are prisoners of their cars."

Read it here