CONTACTTRAFFICABOUT TOM VANDERBILTOTHER WRITING CONTACT ABOUT THE BOOK

Eyes on the Street

Photo by Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

Twin Cities reader Matt sends along this link to another kind of novel traffic calming (at least, “informal” traffic calming), a series of unorthodox signs by artist Steven Woodward, who, is apparently, former artist in residence with the St. Paul Public Works Department (and how great it is that the public works department has an artist in residence?). The artist’s goal is to help give neighborhoods a sense of place, at least in the eyes of passing drivers. My personal favorite is the one above, as it makes me wonder if the persuasive powers of eye contact, even simulated eye contact, might induce drivers to slow down. In any case, it’s certainly more interesting than a “Resident Parking Only” sign.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, August 24th, 2008 at 1:42 pm and is filed under Traffic Culture, Traffic Signs, Traffic Wonkery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Eyes on the Street”

  1. gwadzilla Says:

    I have seen similar efforts

    cut outs of children playing were a favorite
    well…
    the cut outs were cool
    but someone put their full living room on the street
    which must have slowed traffic a bit

    I have wanted to put up a sign leading into my neighborhood

    WELCOME TO MOUNT PLEASANT
    your cross town short cut is our neighborhood
    please drive gently

    sadly…
    so many of the speeding cars in our neighborhood are the residents of our neighborhood

    decent people turn into assholes as soon as they get behind the wheel

  2. Amit Patel Says:

    This might be using “priming” to plant moods into one’s head. It’d be interesting to experiment with this, by placing photos of rock singers or other sorts of rebellious figures, to see if that leads to more people breaking the rules.

  3. DanC Says:

    From the BBC: Big Brother eyes ‘boost honesty’:
    The feeling of being watched makes people act more honestly, even if the eyes are not real, a study suggests. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5120662.stm

  4. LBJ's Love Child Says:

    “…signs by artist Steven Woodward, who, is apparently, former artist in residence with the St. Paul Public Works Department (and how great it is that the public works department has an artist in residence?).”

    As an Urban Transportation Planner for a major US city, who took his undergraduate degree in Conceptual Art and Humanities, I’ve always felt I was the artist-in-residence with my Public Works & Transportation department.

    I believe grid-lock has a certain Carl Andre-ish simplicity of form.

  5. LBJ's Love Child Says:

    As an Urban Transportation Planner for a major US city, who took his undergraduate degree in Conceptual Art and Humanities, I’ve always considered myself to the “Artist-in-Residence” of our Public Works & Transportation Department.

    Gridlock does have a certain Carl Andre-ish simplicity/repetition of form.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

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