Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Stripped down, bare-asphalt naked streets are becoming popular in Europe. Gone are the days of stop signs, sidewalks, center dividers, or even little yellow lines down the middle. The objective of this radical makeover is safety. The idea is that if there are fewer elements along the road such as street signs or sidewalks to give drivers a comfort zone, people will cruise through more cautiously. They administered the "naked treatment" to an intersection in the Netherlands known for traffic problems. In the four years since, trip times have been reduced, as well as car speeds, and the number of accidents. There has yet to be a fatal accident there since. So now people are talking about doing more of this in the future. Does anyone else see a problem here? The only reason people are more cautious on "naked streets" is because they aren't used to them. If stop signs, and sidewalks cease to exist, eventually people will get comfortable with it, and they will find their comfort zone again. So that leaves us with a bigger problem. What then? Inflatable children that pop up in front of drivers? Eventually they'll get used to that too, which wouldn't be good. I say, as much as I love the idea of just me, my car, and the open road, this will eventually make things worse. This is what happens when you let Europe get ahold of stuff they don't understand, I guess they'll have to learn their lesson the hard way. Cheerio, and Happy Chinese New Year. Year of the cock already? Wow time sure flies.