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Highways to Hell

I haven't posted much on the issues of the day because I just haven't been able to summon enough contempt. There are so many things.... the needlessly twee and toddler-aimed "memorial" to Flight 93, the mewling illegal alien coddlers (my favorite argument so far is the sobbing calls -- mostly from, alas, Christians -- to "remember that these are human beings" -- as if calling them "aliens" meant that we think Mexico orbits Alpha Centauri!), a Democratic majority clearly bent on staying in power even if it means selling out the country they are trying to stay in power over, an addled administration trying to please everyone while actually pleasing no one, the "peace" (of the grave) "movement" (which considering the people at the forefront of that cavalcade of trash might better be termed a bowel movement), and so on.

So much stupidity, so little time... Here for your consideration, then, is this delicious little item from our friends across the pond, who are experimenting, for no good reason, with doing away with traffic signs in several of our cities:

European traffic planners are dreaming of streets free of rules and directives. They want drivers and pedestrians to interact in a free and humane way, as brethren -- by means of friendly gestures, nods of the head and eye contact, without the harassment of prohibitions, restrictions and warning signs.

Beautiful. I'm so glad that I never did go on a second trip to Europe with that friend who wanted to rent a car instead of taking trains and taxis like a normal tourist. The rest is a paean to moony ideals of somehow getting people to be more considerate and sociable by putting their lives in increased danger. Hm, actually, that just might work... And if you didn't know you were reading this in a German publication, you'd know it after reading the assertion that "[a]bout 70 percent of traffic signs are ignored by drivers."

Via Tom McMahon's news links.)

Comments (3)

...streets free of rules and directives...drivers and pedestrians ... interact in a free and humane way, as brethren

It's called San Francisco. The pedestrians tend to be the ones who end up dead.

I wrote a post about this stuff a couple of years ago, and assumed it would never amount to much. Looks like I was wrong.

And I've noticed since then that whenever there is an uncontrolled traffic situation, people DO cooperate remarkably well.

As for SF, I live here, and the driving is bad and the jaywalking is worse. The people who dash across in the middle of the block are the ones who get snuffed. But at the intersections there is a lot of informal cooperation. A pedestrian at a crosswalk will communicate with body language or a wave that there is no need to screech to a halt---he will wait for a break in the traffic. And drivers are mostly tolerant of the vagaries of walkers. It is interesting.

But it's also maddening because I could accidently kill somebody at any time. Especially at night; there are lots of people walking or cycling in dark clothing. I was on a narrow sreet one night recently and a damned roller-blader loomed out of the dark coming down the street towards me and flashed past, cursing me for hurting his eyes with my high beams!!

"They demand streets like those during the Middle Ages, when horse-drawn chariots, handcarts and people scurried about in a completely unregulated fashion"...actually, if you were a medieval peasant and got in the way of a mounted knight, he would likely just ride you down.

The basic insight that "overregulation is bad" is of course a valid one, but in these cases it seems like it is being applied without much use of common sense. See my post The Proverb of the Poodle for more on the dangers of "expertise."

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Don't worry, he's just chopping broccoli.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 20, 2007 2:41 PM.

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