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News & Notes

Tootling [The New Yorker]

“At twenty [mph], you’d actually save time,” King said. “Going forty miles per hour doesn’t change your position in the next queue, at the next traffic lights.”

“You’re right,” DeCarlo said, and he nodded. “I’m a firm believer that, whether you do twenty or fifty-five, you’re going to get to the same place at the same time.”

New York Expands Pop-Up Cafe Program in 2011 [The Architect’s Newspaper]

The concept is simple: street space is limited and valuable. To that end, New York has been evaluating whether the highest and best use for street space along narrow sidewalks is storing cars. Like a glorified Park(ing) Day spot made (semi-)permanent and held on high, these pop-up cafés invite pedestrians to imagine their city in new ways.

Dreyfus Tees Up Center Leg Freeway [DC Mud]

Washington, DC developers plan to deck 3 blocks of the Central Leg Freeway which separates the city. When they are done, they are welcome to come to Route 95 in Providence.

Pedestrians take to the streets; motorists learn to coexist [New Urban Network]

Monderman advocated getting rid of the welter of traffic signs, pavement striping, and other devices intended to regulate conflicting modes of traffic. He believed that human beings — whether in motor vehicles, on bikes, or using their own two feet — could intuitively adjust their movement and manage to cross the streets and squares safely.

Monderman operated mainly in small towns, where traffic tended to be light. There it was fairly easy to count on pedestrians and motorists to keep an eye on one another, thus avoiding accidents. By contrast, Hamilton-Baillie has introduced the shared-space idea to streets in the center of a great metropolis — London.

US shared space: Starting small [New Urban Network]

Cambridge created two shared-space streets, both in 2008. The first was on Winthrop Street adjoining Winthrop Park, not far from Harvard Square. It’s a narrow, minor street near restaurants. People were already walking in the street, so it was a natural to be officially designated a shared space. A sign identifies it as shared by pedestrians and vehicles, with a posted speed limit of 10 mph.

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9 Responses to News & Notes

  1. Tony P December 7, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    Regarding that first one – 25 is adequate. However I have a gripe about traffic lights on Charles St. in Providence. You’ve got two lights about 100 feet apart for the entrances to the Home Depot. They’re not synchronized.

    And here’s one for RIPTA. How about outfitting all traffic lights to detect oncoming buses that would cause said lights to change to green in the direction the bus is traveling.

  2. Jen Coleslaw December 7, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    Tony: Why would RIPTA need that? They routinely run the reds all across town! In fact, bus drivers are near famous for running the reds downtown…When pedestrians have the light and are in the crosswalk…

  3. Jef Nickerson December 7, 2010 at 7:06 pm #

    Happened to me on the way home tonight.

    But actually, after being repeatedly veto’d by Governor Mumbles, RIPTA now has the authority to do that and will be rolling it out with the 11/99 rapid bus line.

  4. RunawayJim December 8, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    I’ve never understood the abundance of lights on Charles St right there. You’ve got the 2 traffic lights for Home Depot (which I just don’t get, why does a parking lot warrant 2 lights that aren’t even synchronized?). You’ve got the light at Silver Spring just north of Home Depot. I forget if the light at the entrance to Rt 10 is separate from the southern Home Depot light, but I’m pretty sure it is. Then there’s the light at Admiral.

    I’ll buy the need for a light at Admiral, 10, and Silver Spring. I’ll even say there’s a need for a light at Home Depot… but only 1.

  5. Jef Nickerson December 8, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    I always just assumed those lights weren’t done yet, you know, like Dean & Atwells.

    It is also a nightmare being a pedestrian there and trying to figure out which line of traffic speeding towards you has a green light and which doesn’t.

  6. brick December 8, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    The second light is there because the employee parking lot is across the street and there is a crosswalk with a pedestrian signal. The problem is that the light itself has a sensor and triggers for every person that uses that exit. IMO that exit should be gated and used only by larger commercial vehicles that can’t navigate the parking lot without endangering patrons. All other traffic in and out should go through the main entrance. The main entrance light is tied into the 146 light.

    The Admiral Street light is terrible by itself, it is much too long and biased in a direction that the least amount of traffic uses (from Admiral onto Charles St. North).

  7. brick December 8, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    Also, to be painfully truthful, I think the developer purposefully made it suck because they were forced to build to the street and were trying to say “see what happens when you don’t let us put the building way off the street behind a sea of parking??

  8. RunawayJim December 8, 2010 at 10:21 am #

    I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the intention of the developer, though I’ve never seen cars parked in the lot across the street.

    That exit is just silly. It’s often used as an entrance by cars driving south on Charles, even though there are Do Not Enter signs (heck, I’ve done it myself a few times to avoid waiting at the next light 20 feet down the road). A gate there would be ideal.

  9. Jef Nickerson December 8, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    I think they should tear down the whole thing and build a mill.

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