Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Santa Monica's Wilshire Boulevard is an oddity. Posted speed limits never exceed 30 mph, and crosswalks mark the road at regular intervals. Despite these best of design intents, real-life Wilshire is a hotbed of tension, road rage, and regular crashes. Once, I even saw an SUV flip completely over. Serious stuff for a local 30 mph road, right? The problem of course lies not in the design's intent, but in the actual manifestation of the design itself, whose seven rail-straight lanes of smooth asphalt implicitly promise freedom but explicitly (through signage) tell drivers to use restraint. It's this dishonesty in Wilshire's design that causes all the frustration. So, builders? Signs + road paint just polish the turd past a certain point. If you really want to make a street safer, you should... narrow it down!
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