And then there is Route 50, a black ribbon that stretches from Ocean City, Maryland, to Sacramento. “For the unhurried, this little-known highway is the best national road across the middle of the United States,” wrote William Least Heat-Moon in Blue Highways, his classic 1982 account of driving the nation’s back roads in search of the nation’s heart. Fifteen years later, Time magazine called this same strip of pavement “The Backbone of America” in a cover story that was part travelogue, part sociopolitical pulse-taking. It is a long backbone, 3,007 miles in length, its vertebrae etched with names like Loogootee, Pruntytown, Poncha Springs and Majors Place.
There’s a 460 kilometre section of the highway, approximately between the borders of Utah and California, that has been dubbed the “Loneliest Road in America”… would that not be a journey to remember or what?
I’ve always found one way streets, especially as a pedestrian, somewhat disorienting. For instance I still look, out of habit I guess, both ways for traffic, as I cross one. It seems one way street systems do far worse than just confuse but a single person on foot though.
Crime rates rise, as do motor vehicle accidents, while property values, and the revenue of businesses situated along one way streets decrease, at least this is what was noted in Louisville, a city in the US state of Kentucky.
In 2011, Louisville converted two one-way streets near downtown, each a little more than a mile long, back to two-way traffic. In data that they gathered over the following three years, Gilderbloom and William Riggs found that traffic collisions dropped steeply – by 36 percent on one street and 60 percent on the other – after the conversion, even as the number of cars traveling these roads increased. Crime dropped too, by about a quarter, as crime in the rest of the city was rising. Property values rose, as did business revenue and pedestrian traffic, relative to before the change and to a pair of nearby comparison streets.
People who evaluate the situation for themselves and cross on their own terms. Finally, my personal ideal. These are people who don’t stupidly run across the street with a blatant disregard for their surroundings. Yet they’ll take a step forward, and as the last car passes they have no problem looking both ways and crossing. They realize that it’s pointless to sit and wait around for the last fifteen seconds while life passes them by and the street sits empty. They’re willing to take a calculated “risk” and not just follow rules blindly because “that’s the way it is.”
Traffic lights that incorporate a hourglass, giving motorists an indication of when the signal will change from one phase to another… while certainly pleasing visually, reservations have been expressed about the usability of such a system in some of the discussion accompanying the source article.
Under the proposal, a “flipper” would be incorporated along the connecting roadway, allowing Hong Kong motorists – who drive on the left – to switch safely and effortlessly to the right, the side Chinese drivers use, and vice versa.