There are some great traffic engineers out there, some of whom frequent this board a lot. However, I get the feeling that there’s still a big section of that profession who would think that this is a good outcome:
From Manila in the Philippines – hat tip to Gordon Price.
It’s amazing how many discussions I’ve had with traffic engineers that result in them suggesting a pedestrian overpass or underpass around a busy road – supposedly for pedestrian safety but I think more realistically to limit delays for vehicles. Slightly more enlightened engineers will discuss the various options for trying to provide better pedestrian facilities without affecting traffic flow. It seems to take a really enlightened traffic engineer to understand that, particularly in areas with a lot of pedestrians (like the whole of Auckland’s CBD) we might actually want to negatively impact upon vehicle speeds in order to make life better for pedestrians.
The typical defence from said engineers is that they’re only trying to give effect to a policy decision made by others to maximise roading throughput. Does this excuse fly? When looking at the CBD, it seems like the policy documents have been saying forever that pedestrians are important yet we still end up with high-speed defacto motorways all over the place. I’m not entirely sure whether this excuse is valid – what do you think?