Comment 61131

By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted March 17, 2011 at 21:48:12

Pedestrians will take the shortest most convenient route to their destination. "Carrots" designed to encourage pedestrians to walk elsewhere, like signs, are largely ineffective. Similarly, "sticks" like barriers/guardrails and fences are of limited efficacy (as is seen in the video above).

The best example I can think of is Toronto, near union station, between the bus terminal and the train station - people run across that street, climb the barrier, and run across to the other side, despite the signs, and the barriers, even though the intersection is not even 30 metres away (or you could go up the stairs and over). People always take the shortest route, even where it's not safe. Acknowledge human nature, and move on to implementing solutions.

Cars, by contract, respond very well to both "carrots" (opening new high speed roads elsewhere) and "sticks" (converting roads to two way, introducing on-street parking, or making a street one-way in the wrong direction of their travel). They respond to "carrots" well because everyone is looking for a quicker route, and they respond to sticks well because they have no choice in the matter, you can't drive the wrong way into oncoming traffic, and you can't drive where cars are parked, etc.

While you could really screw over cars, and make the whole system a pedestrian utopia, the best solution is to design streets with pedestrians in mind, in order to achieve a reasonable compromise between pedestrians and vehicles, which is I think what Ryan is advocating.

Realize that pedestrians are much likely to want to take the shortest route, while cars pretty much have to put up with what you throw at them, and design a compromise solution that keeps them both happy and safe.

Permalink | Context

Events Calendar

There are no upcoming events right now.
Why not post one?

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools