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05/26/2006

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Spider

Speak to anyone who is visually impaired and they will give you a different view of the efficacy of "naked streets".

Philipp Schumann

Point taken---with reservation: I fail to see how visually impaired drivers can observe traditional signage (see the Wired article I linked to: not all signs are bad, only most ones) better than simply observing traffic, or rather, the neighbouring vehicles (something a driver needs to do anyway)...

Gavin Bowman

I think maybe he meant visually impaired pedestrians, they must have a hard time crossing.

Interesting aside... After we had a flood in our city, there was no power to some important traffic signals for quite some time. It was noticed that traffic was flowing through the junction more smoothly without the lights. Rather than just ignore the evidence, they ran a pilot scheme for a while which kept the lights turned off. Now, they only operate on a part time basis, in peak rush hours (maybe a total of 4-6 hours per day). The rest of the time it's just a free for all.

I don't drive often, but as far as I can tell, it works. I doubt anyone would ever have been brave enough to try it if the original experiment hadn't been forced by the flood.

Philipp Schumann

Ah, that's a good point.

If we were talking only about blind people, it would be easy, they would have to rely as much on help by an accompanying person or dog as today (and indicate this visibly, also through their white cane, to others). Partially visually impaired people are different though.

It should be noted that naked streets are not per se removing all regulation and letting all traffic participants roam freely ("anarchy"); rather, it is a less-is-more road design approach, but still "road design", i.e. humans thinking about and implementing better traffic designs for all people. I have a hard time imagining that road designers such as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Monderman would not consider people with special needs in their work.

Keith Casey

Actually, they're not the first ones to do it... Andy Hunt writes about when the Brits did a similar thing:

http://www.toolshed.com/blog/articles/2005/01/27/removing-all-the-traffic-lights

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