Traffic management inspiration from New York

This week, we came across a demonstration of how one
particular New York intersection is both dysfunctional and more than a little
dangerous. For his master’s thesis at the School of Visual Arts in New York
City, Ron Gabriel created a campaign called 3-Way Street to examine how
“pedestrians jaywalking, cyclists running red lights and motorists plowing
through crosswalks” combine.

He trained his camera on the intersection of Park
Avenue and 28th Street in Manhattan to capture examples of this dysfunction. In
the resulting video, annotated with Gabriel’s graphics, this otherwise average
urban intersection becomes the stage for a series of near-accidents and
death-defying dodges.

Gabriel claims that the expansion of bike lanes in New
York has exposed a clash of long-standing bad habits on the part of
pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike. Old habits exacerbate attempts to
expand ways to use our streets; existing issues makes change more difficult.

Whilst our first reaction could be to think that this
can happen ‘only in New York’, it’s very likely that should we closely observe
any number of intersections in Australia’s capital cities for any period of
time no doubt we would end up with a similar collection of near misses. This
video is a reminder that there is a lot of room for improvement in our cities to
accommodate the growing number of competing users!

The Sydney Morning Herald may have come across one possible answer, however, regarding a new safety device that is fitted to bicycles. The innovation, called BLAZE, projects a bright green laser image of a bike on to the road ahead – alerting motorists to its presence, increasing their visibility and ultimately motorists’ awareness of the cyclists. Read more on the site.

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