Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Georgetown resident: Top speed when driving on 'em is why we have 'em, so get us through New Albany as fast as humanly possible.

A comment at Develop New Albany's street survey page:

#5 Reed Wrege 2013-11-22 21:57

The purpose of streets is to transport people as efficiently as possible from one location to another.

The intent of making more streets in New Albany two way is to slow down traffic. This is already being accomplished by the horrible lack of synchronization of the traffic lights.

I am not interested in having traffic slowed further...particularly as the volume is increasing!

Note that Reed is my mom's neighbor out on Baylor-Wisman Road in Georgetown, so I'm not bullying a stranger, merely trying to introduce him to a world of urban ideas outside his own pre-determined notions.

He neatly recapitulates the traffic engineer's traditional wonks-only, mono-argument (streets have only one purpose: to move automotive traffic). But credit him for grasping one key element of my platform (yes, slowing traffic IS an aim -- speed compromises walkability and quality of life, and contradicts revitalization efforts), but he grasps it for the wrong rationale: Traffic's always moving, and our stop lights work quite nicely IF one is driving at the posted speed limit, to which lights are synchronized, and not faster -- which  majority of drivers insist on doing.

Because: When motoring from Silver Creek to the I-64 interchange, losing two minutes to a couple of red lights is utterly traumatic. I imagine Reed would propose to solve this currently non-existent "problem" by increasing speeds, seeing as he believes speed for the pass-through is the only issue.

Reed is "not interested" in traffic slowing further, but then again, he doesn't live in one of the neighborhoods where a speedy one-way traffic dynamic clearly helps diminish the quality of life. You wouldn't see him advocate for one-way streets in Georgetown; suburbanites understand that such a scheme would lower their property values, and while degradation is fine for city residents ... well, you know the rest.

Here's how I reply to Reed's suburban argument:

Suggesting that the sole purpose of streets is to transport people as efficiently as possible from one location to another is like suggesting that the sole purpose of sex is procreation. Surely, engaging in both forms of commuting can be about more than merely a speedy arrival at the destination.  

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