Posted by: cornvillenutmeg | January 28, 2013

Madrid Shared Space_Oct09-mk

Madrid Shared Space_Oct09-mk (Photo credit: EURIST e.V.)

English: Illustration of road furnishing accor...

English: Illustration of road furnishing according to ‘shared space’, a traffic concept by the Dutch traffic scientist Hans Monderman. Nederlands: Voorbeeld van weginrichting volgens ‘shared space’, een verkeersconcept bedacht door verkeerskundige Hans Monderman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning I offer food for thought.  I am reprinting (reposting?) a portion of today’s “Morning Jolt” by Jim Geraghty.  The Jolt in its entirety can be found at National Review On-Line (

)  I’d like to know what you think about this, and in few days I’ll let you know what I think.  For now, I’m mulling notions of ideas pertaining to how Shared Spaces might be integrated into Public Education in interesting and ameliorative ways.


Two years ago, Gary Toth and several other staffers from the Project for Public Spaces traveled to the Netherlands to look at intersections. A handful of towns there have embraced a radical idea, originally the brainchild of the late Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman: Remove all the traffic lights, signs, curbs and lane markings from roads, and people will share them more effectively.

Drivers, bikers and pedestrians will make eye contact with one another. They’ll cooperate. They’ll move through public space with a greater sense of its communal utility. In Europe, the result has proven to be safer and more efficient — and more social — for everyone involved.

This concept, known as Shared Spaces, contradicts pretty much all conventional thinking about traffic engineering, and partly for that reason, it has never caught on in the United States. Slowly, though, a growing cast of advocates like Toth, a 34-year veteran of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, want to seed it here.

“If you put stripes on the roadway, speed limit signs, stop signs, crosswalks, and tell everybody what to do, then you’ve removed the responsibility from the human beings who are moving around that space, they have no responsibility for their actions anymore,” Toth said, channeling Monderman’s philosophy. “The light turns green, I go. The sign says I go 25, I go 25. The crosswalk says I walk here. [Shared Spaces is] saying you’ve got to put responsibility back on people, not on the government.”

Morning Jolt, Jim Geraghty, National Review On-Line


  1. In Arizona, at least in metropolitan Phoenix, this would be called “Invitation to a Slaughter.”

  2. This might work for clear thinkers, eh?

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