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Archive for July 28th, 2009

Streets Ahead in Ashford

I’ve been looking at some before-and-after photos of the “shared space” scheme in the English town of Ashford, which we’ve written about here before.

The first pair below shows West Street before the scheme, a rather drab slab of pavement and railings, forbidden to pedestrian crossing, with all the charm of a drainage ditch.

The image below is of the after, and I had to check the nearby buildings to make sure it really was the same vista.

The next set shows Elwick Road, which is virtually crying out for a speed problem.

And the after, with trees and sculpture by Simeon Nelson

The changes have of course not been without controversy, similar to some recent schemes in London, as the columnist Simon Jenkins notes. He writes, about Ashford:

If they cannot afford a trip to the Netherlands or Germany, they should visit Ashford in Kent. Here the local council, in collaboration with the designer Ben Hamilton-Baillie, took a leaf from the work of the Dutchman, Hans Monderman, and turned their town into the most progressive in England.

In the new shopping area, all distinction between road and pavements was erased and shallow drainage gullies redesigned by a local artist, with new lighting and street furniture.

The roads have acquired a new dignity and people comment on a new sense of community and courtesy. Cars must make their way gingerly through other road users, but since they are no longer held up at red lights their average speed has risen.

Astonishing as it may seem to the enemies of progress, the accident injury rate in Ashford has fallen to zero. Even the far more modest scheme in Kensington High Street has led to a 44 per cent cut in accidents.

Hardly the mass carnage predicted by Jeremy Clarkson…

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Posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 2:26 pm by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Paperback Ahead

Just to let everyone know that in a mere few weeks, the paperback edition of Traffic will be published, by Vintage. But you can grab it for the time being for a sawbuck and some change from Amazon.com.

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Posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 9:10 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Round and Round

Another follow-up on the Slate roundabouts piece; reader Alan sends along this time-lapse video of a Canadian roundabout. I find it strangely soothing (perhaps pair this with some Brian Eno), though I wonder if the main trunk of traffic is entering a bit too fast due to some gentle curve radii.

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Posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 8:02 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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The Politics of Parking

Via the Forward comes news of violent clashes in Jerusalem over contested ground — only this time it’s parking.

In the months of June and July, there have been mass protests, turning violent at times, against the decision of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to open parking facilities just outside the Old City on the Sabbath…

In early June, Barkat set out to tackle a strange situation concerning Jerusalem’s Old City, the jewel in the crown of Israel’s tourist sites. Because Sunday is part of their workweek, most Israelis make their visits Saturdays. But not only does public transport come to a standstill over the Sabbath, requiring people to drive their cars, but parking lots near the Old City also shut down to please Jerusalem’s Orthodox Jews.

“It was a pain. People parked and double-parked all over,” said Mark Feldman, CEO of Ziontours Jerusalem, a large travel agency.

The mayor responded by opening a new parking lot, outside the Old City, which hardly quieted those aggrieved.

Despite the continued protests, Barkat considers the issue closed. “The mayor found a real solution to a real problem and has now returned to tackling the economy and education,” his spokesman, Stephan Miller, told the Forward.

But experts believe that the conflict will continue. “It’s a question about who runs the city — it’s a power struggle in the city,” said Noam Shoval, a geographer at the Hebrew University.

Isn’t it always?

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Posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 7:29 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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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.

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage: krunde@randomhouse.com.

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency: zoe@zpagency.com.

For speaking engagement inquiries, please contact
Kim Thornton at the Random House Speakers Bureau: rhspeakers@randomhouse.com.

Order Traffic from:

Amazon | B&N | Borders
Random House | Powell’s

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U.S. Paperback UK Paperback
Traffic UK
Drive-on-the-left types can order the book from Amazon.co.uk.

For UK publicity enquiries please contact Rosie Glaisher at Penguin.

Upcoming Talks

April 9, 2008.
California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
San Francisco, CA.

May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Bloomington, MN

June 23, 2009
Driving Assessment 2009
Big Sky, Montana

June 26, 2009
PRI World Congress
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 27, 2009
Day of Architecture
Utrecht, The Netherlands

July 13, 2009
Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP)
Phoenix, AZ.

August 12-14
Texas Department of Transportation “Save a Life Summit”
San Antonio, Texas

September 2, 2009
Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting
Savannah, Georgia

September 11, 2009
Oregon Transportation Summit
Portland, Oregon

October 8
Honda R&D Americas
Raymond, Ohio

October 10-11
INFORMS Roundtable
San Diego, CA

October 21, 2009
California State University-San Bernardino, Leonard Transportation Center
San Bernardino, CA

November 5
Southern New England Planning Association Planning Conference
Uncasville, Connecticut

January 6
Texas Transportation Forum
Austin, TX

January 19
Yale University
(with Donald Shoup; details to come)

Monday, February 22
Yale University School of Architecture
Eero Saarinen Lecture

Friday, March 19
University of Delaware
Delaware Center for Transportation

April 5-7
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
McMurrin Lectureship

April 19
International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Organization Management Workshop)
Austin, Texas

Monday, April 26
Edmonton Traffic Safety Conference
Edmonton, Canada

Monday, June 7
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, July 6
Fondo de Prevención Vial
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, August 31
Royal Automobile Club
Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 1
Australasian Road Safety Conference
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday, September 22

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
Traffic Incident Management Enhancement Program
Statewide Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wednesday, October 20
Rutgers University
Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Piscataway, NJ

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
Injury Prevention Forum
Toronto

Monday, May 2
Idaho Public Driver Education Conference
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, June 2, 2011
California Association of Cities
Costa Mesa, California

Sunday, August 21, 2011
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
Madrid, Spain

April 16, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Gardens Theatre, QUT
Brisbane, Australia

April 17, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Centennial Plaza, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

April 19, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne, Australia

January 30, 2013
University of Minnesota City Engineers Association Meeting
Minneapolis, MN

January 31, 2013
Metropolis and Mobile Life
School of Architecture, University of Toronto

February 22, 2013
ISL Engineering
Edmonton, Canada

March 1, 2013
Australian Road Summit
Melbourne, Australia

May 8, 2013
New York State Association of
Transportation Engineers
Rochester, NY

August 18, 2013
BoingBoing.com “Ingenuity” Conference
San Francisco, CA

September 26, 2013
TransComm 2013
(Meeting of American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
Communications.
Grand Rapids MI

 

 

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