Tuesday, November 21

Safety Dance

Traffic Calming
As I was heading down 41st to get a bike fixed, I ran into Joe, Ryan, and AmyEllen who were impossible to miss in their bright orange shirts. What these brave folks were doing was calming traffic on this semi-arterial known for speeding. The project was called Safety Dance, and these folks were Dancin in the Street to slow traffic. As I reported earlier, Americans are becoming increasingly frustrated with local governments which show little courage in keeping vehicles from threatening public safety. Folks are taking measures into their own hands in various forms. From Car Free Days, to political advocacy, to actions such as this which temporarilly ensure a safe throughway. I talked with the folks here about what could be done to humanize the street. It becomes difficult because the street is considered sacrosanct by the law. So it is illigal to put a blockage of any kind within the public roadway (of course sidewalks are okay). I suggested to them that one way to do this without a huge amount of work, would be to run a rope across the street and hang a safety banner above the traffic. This would be legal (I think) and effective. For the time being I applaud their efforts to regain control of our public thoroughfares for people.

"You can make a road for people, or you can make a road for cars.
You cannot make both."
Former Mayor Enrique PeƱalosa

1 comment:

heather andrews said...

About ten years ago, there was a program in Portland called "For Kids' Sake." They had a big banner that said "For Kids' Sake–Slow Down!" that neighborhood associations could request to be hung above residential streets that were commonly sped on by automobiles (exactly as you describe in your post). The banner stayed in each place for one month. There were also bumper stickers that matched the banner.

(At the same time, a possibly-related series of "For Kids' Sake" PSAs aired on KPTV, but they covered a bunch of kid-related topics, not just residential speeding.)

Recently as I've driven along the residential area of Johnson Creek Blvd., I've often wondered what happened to this program. The problem certainly hasn't gone away!