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Hans Monderman

Impromptu Shared Space Calms Soho Intersection

11:17 AM EST on March 5, 2009

Reader Tim Koelle sends this report of a busted traffic signal gone terribly right at the intersection of West Broadway and Grand yesterday morning:

I watched for an hour while cars, trucks and pedestrians shared this space quietly... with civility! Little honking, no aggressive driving, no traffic cop. Why? Because the light was out.

No one had to speed up and honk to make the green light on time; no one honked or changed lanes to take advantage of the narrow window of time the light granted them. Everyone came to a stop, looked around (wondering why the light was dead, and what they should do), and proceeded slowly thru.

Instead of a line of cars waiting for the light to change, alternate sides vying with each other for the few precious moments allowing them the right to pass thru... no one had to wait very long. And in fact the alternate sides traded back and forth, almost at a one-to-one ratio. No one had to wait, so no one got stuck in a line, so no one sped up, so no one honked, so there was no need for aggressive driving! Even pedestrians got their due.

Someone should examine this closely. Reminds me of similarities to Hans Monderman and Shared Spaces.

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