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Three Wishes

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Three Wishes

Old 10-11-09, 10:33 PM
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Three Wishes

If the government could wave a magic wand and make three improvements to your cycling facilities, what would they be?



Here are mine:
  • I want wider roads in the cities and towns .... not bike lanes, just wider roads ... and shoulders on all the highways.
  • I want secure bicycle locking facilities at shopping centres, malls, schools, offices, etc. Strasbourg had some good ones.
  • I want more public transportation, specifically trains on which bicycles would be allowed.
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Old 10-12-09, 02:52 AM
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1)Reduce the speed limit for all motorized traffic to 25 mph except on highways where it would still be limited to 45, the best speed for gas milage.

2)Improved public transportation all around. Buses with bike racks that run 24/7, light rail, long distance high-speed trains.

3)Eliminate all government spending on auto infrastructure including subsidies for parking.

Too extreme? Maybe, but its my fairy tail.
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Old 10-12-09, 04:18 AM
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To be honest, I really have just one wish. All I want is to be able to ride my bike on whichever road I happen to be riding on at that time in peace, without loser motorists trying to honk at me or run me off the road, or loser cycling "advocates" questioning why I would want to ride on said road. Everything else I can either work with or work around. That said, here are three things I think would be useful

1. Zero tolerance policing of ALL traffic offences for ALL road users, with set mandatory minimum penalties for breaches (which would depend of the seriousness of the offence and would increase for every prior conviction the offender has). If there aren't enough police for that, spend some of Mr Rudd's "stimulus" money on something other than middle-class welfare and fix that problem. Better yet, hold a comprehensive review of all things that are currently traffic offences and abolish any laws put in place solely to protect idiots from their own stupidity, and instead divert the resources used to police those into policing breaches of law that would involve the idiot hurting someone other than him/herself.

2. As pointed out earlier, it would be nice to have public transport that allowed bicycles, it would also be nice if said public transport was actually on time occasionally.

3. I'd actually be quite content with 1 and 2 on this list, and I'm having genuine difficulty thinking of anything to add here. Still, neither of them are ever likely to happen, and number 1 was a big one, so maybe that counts as two.
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Old 10-12-09, 04:23 AM
  #4  
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I would go with both sets of dreams (communal dreaming?)

More trains and buses period, with bikes being properly accommodated.

Better training and harsher penalties for drivers. Right now it seems they basically can do whatever they want with little or no repercussions. The laws need to change/be enforced to protect the vulnerable.

I also agree with reductions in speed limits on all but limited access highways.

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Old 10-12-09, 04:53 AM
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My fairy tale?

1. Dedicated bicycle pathways throughout the country - interconnected citywide, regionally, and nationally. City "beltlines" for bikes/peds. Also, federally mandated on-road wide bike lanes for a minimal % of local roads - meeting requirements not just for spacing, markings, and signs, but also for logistics/efficiency (expected distance to ride/walk between two points).

2. Education campaigns on TV, Web, etc that inform motorists of safely SHARING the road with cyclists. That, and enforcement of existing laws (what a concept!) and a media blitz showing enforcement of the laws. Mandatory "biker's education" as part of "driver's education" *before* getting a driving license, including hands-on and written tests.

3. Actual infrastructure to lock up bikes. Not just bike racks, but bike lockers, racks with built-in locks, and surveillance cameras to deter theives - where cyclists don't have to worry about seeing their bike again, and they don't have to load their bike with locks/etc. You can even charge a nominal daily/monthly fee to support the new system.

How to pay for all this? Huge taxes on gasoline to support/encourage all of the above, and discourage traffic, pollution, etc.

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Old 10-12-09, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris L View Post

1. Zero tolerance policing of ALL traffic offences for ALL road users, with set mandatory minimum penalties for breaches (which would depend of the seriousness of the offence and would increase for every prior conviction the offender has).
I believe a "zero tolerance policy" would be one in which a particular punishment was given out regardless of the seriousness of the offense. We already have "mandatory minimum penalties" which increase for every prior conviction. A zero tolerance policy would be one that gives out the same penalty to everyone for any road violation.

I agree with you that it would be nice if there were harsher punishments for abusing the privilege of piloting a few tons of metal at high speeds. However, I dont think that paying for massive amounts of new police (also driving huge pieces of metal) is a very good way of doing that. Over here in South Korea there are simply speed cameras set-up on every few miles of roads, even rural roads. Korea also uses extensive amounts of closed circuit television cameras.

How about, for every traffic violation, regardless of severity, your current license becomes void and you have to retake drivers training and go back to the DMV and wait in the 4-hour line to get a new one? Also, you are only allowed three licenses every 5 years. Maybe you could be required to let other drivers know how many traffic violations you have accumulated by having the same number of big yellow warning flags streaming off of your car wherever you drive?

There are lots of good ways to get people to drive better without necessitating a massive police force that would, ideally, have absolutely nothing to do all day long. Ever get pulled over by a cop in a small town?

I know, nows whose dreaming right?

Last edited by zeppinger; 10-12-09 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 10-12-09, 12:06 PM
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My main wishes have been mentioned, so I'll just elaborate a bit.

In the inner cities, I'd like to see "complete streets" that are totally redesigned to put cyclists, peds and buses on an equal (at least) par with cars. Not just sidewalks, bike lanes and bus lanes, but more innovative approaches where the whole street can be used by everybody.

In the suburbs, I'd like to see a return to grid street patterns with 90 degree controlled intersections. Get rid of the merges, diverges, complex intersections and yield signs. Back to the square!

In rural areas, I'd like to see wider lanes and good paved shoulders that are maintained, swept and plowed regularly.

Minor point--I'd like more public drinking fountains all over the place.
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Old 10-12-09, 03:39 PM
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I have recently moved from Maine to California where I am living car free, and there are big differences between what I would wish for in one place vs the other, however, looking at it from the 50,000 ft level, the one big issue that I have with both places is that the infrastructure is designed to be car-centric. There is pretty decent public transit here in San Jose, and they do allow you to take your bike on board the trains, and buses have bike racks. However, there seems to be a prohibition on level grade crossings of the commuter train tracks (Caltrain). This makes the Caltrain line like a great wall for cyclists with very few roads which cross the tracks, and those mostly being major highways. Similarly there are freeways all over with few crossing points which make those appear as major barriers to local transportation. In my mind, highways are for transporting traffic between urban areas, not within. That said -

1) I would eliminate all freeways within city limits - have them skirt the edges of the town, with one or two exits to get into/out of the city but use the highway system as a network to get between cities, allowing the cities themselves to become much more friendly to bicycles and pedestrians.

2) Eliminate the subsidies that we have for personal automobile travel everything from foreign policy which is designed to assure our oil supply, to use of general tax revenue to pay for roads, to the lack of charging for the consequences of burning fossil fuels in our healthcare and quality of life. If the public feels obligated to subsidize transportation, then it should go towards public transportation.

3) Eliminate on street parking. On street parking makes driving more hazardous by reducing the sight lines, it forces us to design and build wider streets which makes communities less walkable, further, the cost of roadway construction is huge, and using our streets as parking lots is a large subsidy for motor traffic. With no on street parking, overall lane widths can be much less since the 'door zone' does not need to be accommodated.

4) Treat driving as a privilege, and take that privilege away from those drivers who have repeatedly proven that they are incapable of driving in a safe and courteous manner.

Note, I put down 4 replies when asked for 3. I assume that this is OK since driving 35 in a 25mph zone seems to be considered normal.....
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Old 10-12-09, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
I believe a "zero tolerance policy" would be one in which a particular punishment was given out regardless of the seriousness of the offense. We already have "mandatory minimum penalties" which increase for every prior conviction. A zero tolerance policy would be one that gives out the same penalty to everyone for any road violation.

I agree with you that it would be nice if there were harsher punishments for abusing the privilege of piloting a few tons of metal at high speeds. However, I dont think that paying for massive amounts of new police (also driving huge pieces of metal) is a very good way of doing that. Over here in South Korea there are simply speed cameras set-up on every few miles of roads, even rural roads. Korea also uses extensive amounts of closed circuit television cameras.

How about, for every traffic violation, regardless of severity, your current license becomes void and you have to retake drivers training and go back to the DMV and wait in the 4-hour line to get a new one? Also, you are only allowed three licenses every 5 years. Maybe you could be required to let other drivers know how many traffic violations you have accumulated by having the same number of big yellow warning flags streaming off of your car wherever you drive?
That's not what zero-tolerance refers to, maybe for clarity it should have read "no-excuse", but it's basically the same thing. Zero-t is not the same punishment for everything.

Basically, it would eliminate "I didn't see the bike", and "I'm on my way to XXXX, and that's why I was speeding." Speed, get a ticket. Turn w/o a signal, get a ticket. Get enough tickets, lose your license -- and have to fight like HE[[ to get it back!
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Old 10-12-09, 04:27 PM
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OK, now my three, a lot like what's already been posted:

1. Mass transit that's bike-accessible; imagine, a train that took your bike aboard that rolled you from Indianapolis to Moab! A lot more focus on mass-transit travel goes hand-in-hand with this.

2. STRONG education for drivers; eliminate the sense of entitlement that seems to now seep up out of the upholstery.

3. Cyclists have preferential treatment on the road, not car drivers.
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Old 10-12-09, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post

Minor point--I'd like more public drinking fountains all over the place.
And more public bathrooms..
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Old 10-12-09, 05:16 PM
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Ok, my turn (this is fun...):
1. Implementation of techniques to slow car traffic down to allow peds and cyclists to use the streets. So... not wider streets...as Machka's wants, but possibly even narrower streets.
2. An education program geared to drivers and cyclists, with the intent of getting more cyclists on the roads.
3. A public transportation system where either bike or walking would provide the"last mile". So buses or trains would either allow bikes on board or secure parking stations would be provided at each central station.
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Old 10-12-09, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
I believe a "zero tolerance policy" would be one in which a particular punishment was given out regardless of the seriousness of the offense. We already have "mandatory minimum penalties" which increase for every prior conviction. A zero tolerance policy would be one that gives out the same penalty to everyone for any road violation.
Nope, a zero-tolerance policy would mean that everytime you violate the law you get a ticket (or whatever the punishment is). The police officer doesn't have the discretion to let someone off just because they are drunk (something that happens all the time here in Australia). BTW, we don't have those penalties here in Australia (which is probably why my home city is the scene of "reality TV" shows documenting the world's worst drivers). The sort of set penalties I was referring to are things that cannot be overturned by a judge if the driver is found guilty.

Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
I agree with you that it would be nice if there were harsher punishments for abusing the privilege of piloting a few tons of metal at high speeds. However, I dont think that paying for massive amounts of new police (also driving huge pieces of metal) is a very good way of doing that. Over here in South Korea there are simply speed cameras set-up on every few miles of roads, even rural roads. Korea also uses extensive amounts of closed circuit television cameras.
They have speed cameras here in Australia, too, but they're largely used for revenue raising (in fact, some road signs around here suggest that the Queensland government seems to wear that as a badge of honour), rather than safety. That means that they won't put enough of them in to actually stop people from speeding, but just enough to collect the occasional fine which can be spent on something else -- assuming some wannabe social worker calling himself a 'judge' doesn't overturn it because the driver was drunk.

Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
There are lots of good ways to get people to drive better without necessitating a massive police force that would, ideally, have absolutely nothing to do all day long.
Yeah, but the trouble is that most of those ideas have been tried and shown to fail. I think it's time to realise that there will always be a certain percentage of drivers who simply have no idea, and the best option is simply to remove them. That also applies to the same certain percentage of cyclists, BTW. The massive police force won't be necessary once people get the message, but right now we've got governments all over the place trying to spend us into debt because we're in a recession. Let's see the money used for something that might have some benefit.
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Old 10-12-09, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by sauerwald View Post
3) Eliminate on street parking. On street parking makes driving more hazardous by reducing the sight lines, it forces us to design and build wider streets which makes communities less walkable, further, the cost of roadway construction is huge, and using our streets as parking lots is a large subsidy for motor traffic. With no on street parking, overall lane widths can be much less since the 'door zone' does not need to be accommodated.
I have to say that the streets around here have on street parking on both sides and are a dream to bicycle on (or walk along/across).... They're essentially single-lane roads... one car has to pull over to let another pass. This reduces traffic to just barely more than the people that live on this block, and reduces speeds to very reasonable levels. Very rarely does a car get up to even 20 mph on the roads, even though the speed limit is 25.

My list:

Traffic enforcement. I'd like it to be a top priority... I'm tired of cars running red lights, stop signs, etc., and tired of being harassed, buzzed, etc.

Less subsidy for driving... Bring the costs out into the open where everyone can see them... that includes roads, parking, gas, etc. People in general have NO idea where the money comes from or how much it costs to drive their cars.

Better mass transit: Buses, light rail, high-speed passenger rail.
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Old 10-12-09, 11:57 PM
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Some bike racks here and there would be a good start.
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Old 10-13-09, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris L View Post


Yeah, but the trouble is that most of those ideas have been tried and shown to fail.
Please enlighten me with a source or link to those ideas which have been shown to fail.

Massive policed force is a clear sign that whatever it is you as a society are doing to curb traffic violations is obviously not working IMHO.

Also, I disagree, respectfully, with people who want to remove street parking. In Sweden and Holland there is a line of reasoning that goes, anything you can do to make motorist feel less safe when traveling at high speeds is a good thing. Meaning that making streets very narrow, having blind curves and the like will actually make car drivers slow down. Where as in America we give drivers super wide lanes and huge lines of sight so that they can speed up! However, Americans have a sense of entitlement to the road so I think it is possible that they would drive recklessly either way... not too sure though. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-13-09, 07:09 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
Also, I disagree, respectfully, with people who want to remove street parking. In Sweden and Holland there is a line of reasoning that goes, anything you can do to make motorist feel less safe when traveling at high speeds is a good thing....Any thoughts?
Please enlighten on the source of information about this Swedish and Dutch "line of thinking" and who is taking it seriously in Sweden, Holland or anywhere else.
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Old 10-13-09, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
If the government could wave a magic wand and make three improvements to your cycling facilities, what would they be?

Here are mine:
  • I want wider roads in the cities and towns .... not bike lanes, just wider roads ... and shoulders on all the highways.
  • I want secure bicycle locking facilities...
  • I want more public transportation, specifically trains on which bicycles would be allowed.
Believe it or not, this describes my commute here in Boston.

Originally Posted by sauerwald View Post
...

1) I would eliminate all freeways within city limits...

2) Eliminate the subsidies that we have for personal automobile travel...

3) Eliminate on street parking...

4) Treat driving as a privilege, and take that privilege away from those drivers who have repeatedly proven that they are incapable of driving in a safe and courteous manner....
My one realistic wish is for a limousine at my beck and call to take me home so I don't have to wait for the train.
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Old 10-13-09, 11:15 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Please enlighten on the source of information about this Swedish and Dutch "line of thinking" and who is taking it seriously in Sweden, Holland or anywhere else.
Just a few to get you started. Enjoy!
  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woonerf
  2. http://dir.salon.com/story/tech/feat...ndex.html?pn=1
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Monderman
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_space
  5. http://www.ivv.amsterdam.nl/
  6. http://www.sfu.ca/city/city_pgm_video020.htm
  7. http://www.velomondial.net/velomondi.../PDF/HONIG.PDF
  8. http://www.fhi.se/en/Publications/Su...cycle-traffic/
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Old 10-13-09, 11:45 AM
  #20  
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Sorry, Roody, you are on a different page.
Please enlighten about which of these Monderman scheme references involve making motorists feel less safe when traveling at high speeds, or high speed road traffic at all. You might also enlighten about how many communities have adapted the Monderman scheme for anything beyond a few isolated trial applications in a few isolated locations.
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Old 10-13-09, 12:11 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Sorry, Roody, you are on a different page.
Please enlighten about which of these Monderman scheme references involve making motorists feel less safe when traveling at high speeds, or high speed road traffic at all. You might also enlighten about how many communities have adapted the Monderman scheme for anything beyond a few isolated trial applications in a few isolated locations
.
Sorry I mishandled my assignment.

Of course, a lot of traffic engineering involves slowing traffic by, in effect, making speeding drivers feel less safe (even though engineers probably wouldn't phrase it this way). For example: narrower lanes, streetside parking, longer and shorter "dashes" in the pavement striping, choke points, and many other techniques. These are common practice worldwide.

It's very true that the Monderman techniques have not been widely adopted. If the "trial applications" prove to be successful, I'm sure that they'll be used more at some future time. It seems prudent to adopt such radical changes rather slowly, doesn't it?
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Old 10-13-09, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Sorry I mishandled my assignment.

Of course, a lot of traffic engineering involves slowing traffic by, in effect, making speeding drivers feel less safe (even though engineers probably wouldn't phrase it this way). For example: narrower lanes, streetside parking, longer and shorter "dashes" in the pavement striping, choke points, and many other techniques. These are common practice worldwide.

It's very true that the Monderman techniques have not been widely adopted. If the "trial applications" prove to be successful, I'm sure that they'll be used more at some future time. It seems prudent to adopt such radical changes rather slowly, doesn't it?
I doubt if anyone would suggest that lowering speed limits is a mechanism for making drivers "feel less safe".

I agree that it only makes sense to try out the Monderman techniques very slowly, if at all. I believe it would be downright ignorant to extrapolate from one or two tiny trials "reported" by the cheerleading from a few proponents of the technique.
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Old 10-13-09, 05:14 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Ok, my turn (this is fun...):
1. Implementation of techniques to slow car traffic down to allow peds and cyclists to use the streets. So... not wider streets...as Machka's wants, but possibly even narrower streets.
My problem with narrowing the streets is that then the cyclists and motorized vehicles can't share the streets. If the streets are wide, then the car and the bicycle can be side by side and not get in each other's way. I am most comfortable when I cycle on wide streets, and the cars can zip past me without having to slow down for me.
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Old 10-13-09, 05:24 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Just a few to get you started. Enjoy! [LIST=1][*]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woonerf
The "woonerf" is an interesting concept, compared to shared space. Here autos are really on the defensive and it would be a great idea for some residential streets, where kids could actually play in the street. I remember where I lived on in Canada, where, at certain times of the year, the street became a street hockey arena. It was kind of a wonderful thing to see... kids out playing instead of glued to the tv... but cars didn't see if that way. This scenario would make a great woonerf... cars are restricted to 7 kmph.
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Old 10-13-09, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
My problem with narrowing the streets is that then the cyclists and motorized vehicles can't share the streets. If the streets are wide, then the car and the bicycle can be side by side and not get in each other's way. I am most comfortable when I cycle on wide streets, and the cars can zip past me without having to slow down for me.
What I don't like in the wide streets scenario is that it enables cars to speed. We have many wide, straight streets around here. Several of them have speed limits of 25mph, but most cars travel near 40.

The problem with cars that are unencumbered and travelling over 30mph is that a bicycle/car accident or even a ped/car accident is more likely to be fatal... and not for the driver of the car!

Slower moving traffic also make the street more livable. You wouldn't like a lot of cars speeding through your neighbourhood. You wouldn't feel that safe on the street. You wouldn't feel safe letting your kids out to play.

If cars need to speed, get on the freeway.

Otherwise, let the streets be designed for the inhabitants.
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