The blue marker shows the intersection where the lights are down
What would happen if we took out all the signal lights in Grande Prairie and instead relied on drivers to work with each other through 4-way stops?
As per the release below, the traffic signals at the intersection of 99th Avenue and Resources Road (the Royal Bank intersection) have been down for a few days now. It's a change for sure and I know that it will take some time for people to get used to - but is it really a bad thing? I haven't found it too difficult to navigate and it seems like traffic is moving pretty efficiently. (let me know what you think by taking the poll on the right side of the blog)
A few years ago a friend pulled me aside to say that he thought that GP had waaaaay to many traffic lights. He implored me to think about finding ways to build safe streets without putting up more lights. At the time I wasn't sure what the alternative was but now looking at how the traffic is behaving with that set of lights down I can see that moving away from standard traffic signals might be possible.
In fact this idea is getting a lot of a attention across the pond in Europe. There they are taking the concept even further, calling it "Shared Space" and taking away all traffic control signs, lights and markings from entire towns and villages! The early results show that accidents have decreased - people are suggesting that drivers pay more attention and drive slower. From Der Spiegel:
"Drivers will force the accelerator down ruthlessly only in situations where everything has been fully regulated. Where the situation is unclear, they're forced to drive more carefully and cautiously."
Read this Entire Article for more and view the basics behind Shared Space here on YouTube.
So, is GP ready to jump on to the Shared Space bandwagon? I'm not so sure about that. But I do think drivers can be more careful, take more responsibility and that we can draw on some of the lessons from Europe as we build our community.
City Media Release on Downed Lights:
Major Intersection Lights Under Repair
Friday, March 13, 2009 2:46:00 PM
Motorists are advised it could take up to two weeks to repair traffic lights at 98 Street and 99 Avenue and the City’s Transportation Services Department urges caution at this busy intersection.
Extensive damage occurred to the signals as a result of a motor vehicle accident on Thursday evening. One of the main poles supporting the lights was completely destroyed and its base needs repair.
The control cabinet was also demolished in the mishap.
“Repairs could take up to two weeks,” says Transportation Field Supervisor Brian Veitch. “A new cabinet and pole will have to be installed. We ask motorists to be patient at this intersection.”
An all-way stop has been established at the intersection.