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The illusionist and the European city … traffic lights and traffic lighters

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the one

Since 2002, my invasion of Cluj-Napoca too many things have changed. The greatest lost was obviously the disappearance of Zoro (strongly correlated with the disappearance of our friend gang)– really painful event. But other things also change. This post does not “handel um” the movie called Illusionist (although it’s worth a post, maybe later), politics or university, so it could be nice and distractive. But it won’t be a happy post.

From the Gheorgheni neighborhood (Georjeans I will call it) it takes 35 minutes to be in the Cipariu Square (Cipariu I will call it) by bus. 2 years ago it took me 12 minutes. Sooo, it’s a 191.6% increase. Nothing increased that fast, except the rents in Cluj-Napoca. When I came to Cluj-Napoca, I had to pay 17.5 USD rent – of course with a roommate, in Grigorescu. Today: 65 EUR for a room – of course with roommate and much more, in Grigorescu as well. If calculated, 271,5 % up. But this calculation is not really a correct one, from an economic point of view, because no currency exchange rate was taken into consideration. But it’s not necessary, I guess. But Zsoltika, my big good friend (and macho as well), could tell us more about this EUR-$ fight in that period (see: The case of EUR currency rate fucks with Zsoltika, phase 1 – no offense, Rudi).

But rewind…. And back to traffic ;)

Two important things happened today: the huge parking building is opened, and the new Cipariu circuit is on. You will find some pictures here (Picasa) and of course on Flickr (right). Same pictures. Same traffic.

But let’s explain the title: this effort was a beautiful one. I don’t know how will it work, seems crazy, but elegant. Like a highway in the city. Like a dozen traffic lights on the highway. The main aspect for the travelers of this change made in the Cipariu Square is a simple one: nothing changed, but it is legally OK to wait 35 minutes in the bus. Why? Because the bus waits at the traffic lights and traffic lights are always right. So “implanting” 10 traffic lights, in the most stupid places, legalizes traffic jam. Not the traffic optimization is the goal, the illusion of absolutely legitimate stop and go (or not go). And pedestrians should die – not killed by trucks, but lost in the labyrinth of the Cipariu Square. Maybe it will work, but this is the most illusionist non-solution seen by me.

Interesting taxonomy the traveler illusion of waiting created by traffic lighters.

A counterexample from The Netherlands:

„Recently, Drachten received international attention for a traffic experiment known as shared space or “naked streets”. All traffic lights and signs have been removed in the city centre in an effort to improve traffic safety, based on the theory that drivers pay more attention to their surroundings when they cannot rely on strict traffic rules.” (Wikipedia, of course)

“We have fewer accidents and the accident which do happen are less severe,” says Koop Kerkstra, a senior official in the northern Dutch town of Drachten. “We see a better flowing of traffic than when everything was regulated. With the new infrastructure, they can flow through Drachten in much less time.” The article here.

And as a libertarian, what else can I say: GOGOGO! and as my friend Norbert overheard the workers: let us have a rum!



Written by zoller

June 28, 2007 at 8:00 pm

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