Tag Archives: City & Traffic Planning

Idea: Improve Traffic Flow With A Larger Right Turn Radius

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Another day, another town meeting over spending millions to “improve traffic flow” by building new roads and other expensive nonsense. Looks like someone’s buddy in the construction industry is hungry for tax dollars again. Here’s a series of roads I take every day.  Traffic, while moderate in volume, is awful due to crappy street planning, unsynchronized stoplights, and tiny right turn radii. Welcome to St. Louis. read…

 

Idea: Cul-De-Grid, Another Alternative to Grids & Cul-De-Sacs

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In my previous 2 posts [The Great Cul-De-Sac Problem] and [The Liquid Grid Street Layout] we discovered that people LOVE living in a cul-de-sac (dead end street). There’s no traffic on your street except locals, it’s just you and your neighbors, it feels safer, more hidden, more maze-like for strangers, and gives off a “cute little village where everyone knows each other” vibe that us white people of European ancestry subconsciously crave. We also discovered the downside. Cul-De-Sacs use up massive amounts of land, promote car use over walking and biking, create traffic bottlenecks, and while they do reward some neighbors with less traffic, they severely punish all other neighbors with heavier traffic and pollution. read…

 

The Electric Vehicles We Already Have (and how to deploy them on a massive scale)

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Will we ever see the rise of the ‘Scooter Commuter’? Probably not, it makes too much sense. We’ve been blabbing on and on about the benefits of light weight, low cost, low maintanance electric vehicles and how they can benefit society, etc… without realizing we ALREADY have tried and true electric vehicles. Today. Right now. And the batteries don’t explode, they don’t cost a fortune, and pretty much anyone can afford one. I bought one and used it shortly before having to return it due to a local ordinance in Orlando making it illegal to ride them on the street or sidewalk. read…

 

Idea: The ‘Liquid Grid’ Street Layout, A Replacement For Cul-De-Sacs & Block Grids

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Reversing urban sprawl and bringing back city living is going to take some major changes. Once people discover the joy of a suburban neighborhood, despite some serious drawbacks, it’s hard to make them go back to living in the city. So the city must change and evolve and adapt in order to compete with ‘Orange County’. And I believe, it all starts with a new street layout.   read…

 

The Great Cul-De-Sac Problem And How To Alleviate It

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Are you ready to lose faith in humanity? Now, I’m not entirely against suburbs, cul-de-sacs, and curvillinear loop street layouts. I can see why people (myself included) like them and what they find attractive about them. But, things have gotten so out of hand, that the damage they cause never be fixed and is permanant. Still, there something we can do to alleviate their side effects. read…

 

Idea: Using ‘Window Perfs’ as Massive ‘Street & Property Covers’

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Here’s a crazy idea. You’ve seen them on the side of buses and building windows. ‘Window perfs’ allow ads and art put on windows to be seen by people outside yet is see-through to those who are inside. So what if we took industrial strength vinyl used for billboards, made millions of golf ball sized holes in it, printed forests and rivers on one side and printed a black backing on the other side? You’d give everyone living in high-rises a beautiful view (and everyone below a tiny bit of shade from the sun). And let me not remind you how important greenery is, the more you see it every day the healthier, happier, and less stressed out you are. We can also cover up all those ugly parking lots, power stations, and junk yards. read…

 

Idea: Beautiful ‘Park Lots’ That Lure Potential Customers

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Massive asphalt parking lots in front of Walmarts and Targets might be full during the holiday season but are usually half to 2/3 empty during the rest of the year. And they’re also a huge waste of space and lack greenery. Yet at the same time, there aren’t enough parks around our neighborhoods, and the ones we do have are usually… not very well maintained. So what if businesses set up and maintained parks in the middle of their mostly un-used parking lots? Not only would it fulfill a need for more greenery but when park visitors need to go to the bathroom or eat, they’ll head straight for the store and become customers who would have otherwise never been. Also park visitors might curiously wander into the shops to see what’s on sale. read…

 

Invention: “Lane Spacers” aka “Signaling Gutters” for High Speed Highways

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These came into my mind a few years back as a way to keep vehicles further away from each other on the highway thereby making it more obvious when vehicles merge into other lanes. In other words it’s a way of visually warning drivers that you’re merging into their lane (because 99% of drivers are bastards who don’t use turn signals or ignore other drivers using them) and it’s also harder to cut someone off or accidentally drift into their lane. Vehicles can use the gutters to signal that they are changing lanes by driving one tire in the gutter so your vehicle stand out from the others and lets drivers know you are preparing to enter their lane. It also might have a psychological effect on drivers, making them more likely to stay in their lane and less likely to merge around (which is what causes random traffic backups [traffic waves]). read…

 

Traffic Planning 2.0: No More Blind Spots for Left Turners

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I can’t tell you how many countless accidents have happened in my old neighborhood because of blind spots for left turners. When I lived near UCF in Orlando, Florida one small intersection would cause a traffic accident nearly every week. It happens when cars queued in U-turn or left turn lanes face each other in intersections and block each other’s view. Next time you pass one, look near the ground and you’ll usually see broken glass near many of them, even with traffic lights. And these types of accidents could all have been avoided if only someone had made one little change to the intersection’s design. Here’s the right way to design left turning lanes… read…

 

City Planning 2.0: Low Cost City Art Using Creative Commons Photos

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What’s up with the lack of art in our cities? Every time I go out I see nothing but ads, traffic signs, and concrete. It’s sad when the only art we can find in a city are poster and billboard advertisements. We’re already overwhelmed by hundreds of logos and ads on a daily basis. I wish for once I could see imagery without it telling me to buy something. And whenever cities do put up art it’s always some ugly painting by 3rd graders (sorry kids), randomly welded cloths hangers, or some abstract, LSD induced “random shape” art. All of which, unfortunately, look like doo doo in my opinion. read…

 

City Planning 2.0: Mini-Marketplaces at Mass Transit Stations

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What if we could make sterile, cold, concrete, light rail stations a little more lively and human by allowing small-businesses to rent out little kiosks on the platforms of the more busier stations. Not only will this provide income to the transportation authority but it will also provide an extra set of eyes and ears (aside from security and cameras) and make the station feel more inviting and safer. Kiosks can be rented by the hour, day, week, or month to businesses or can be auctioned off to the highest bidder.  read…