Monday, August 30, 2010

first foray

last friday evening we did this scattermass traffic-calming pedestrian action l. is calling "the human speed bump project." all two of us met outside the star e rose and went inside for a cup of something before hitting the streets. the organizer required us to swear commitment to "safety first." at five promptly we went out into the field.

one by one, at a distance of roughly a block apart, we crossed each and every zebra striped crosswalk, two at each intersection, working our way east to 31st and then back, sometimes the same crosswalk twice in a row if the opportunity afforded. we gave buses and fire trucks and even cyclists a pass.

the idea was to start into the crosswalk just an instant before the gesture would seem political, but when the effect would still be to cause the motorist to slow down. if the motorist had to stop, i would give a friendly wave thank you. l. had one situation where the motorist simply veered around her, a big red pickup. but that was unusual.

even with just the two of us this was surprisingly effective. we often succeeded in slowing motor traffic for two blocks at a time. with a much larger scattermass the effect might be to take back the street for primary pedestrian use. this is something people can actually do.

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