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  1. #1
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    15 mph speed limit

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.../nroads124.xml

    Here's a good article about how some new developments in the UK are planning on bulding new towns with 15 mph speed limit. The objective is to get people out of cars and promote cycling and public transportation. Actually, it's being created to cut back emissions for global warming.

    Regardless, I would love to live in a town where ALL the streets had a 15 mph speed limit. I'm sick of the 25 mph speed limit because the motorist know they can travel up to 37 mph without any fear of getting a speeding ticket. I don't consider it a global waming issue at all but a quality of life issue.

    I suspect that a 15 mph speed limit will mean the cars will finally travel at 25
    mph.

    Don't forget to read the pro-motoring comments below the article.

  2. #2
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    15 mph? Cyclists would get as many speeding tickets as motorists if the speed limit is actually enforced.
    Stomping as lightly as I can...

  3. #3
    tsl
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    That would take all the fun out of breaking the speed limit. At 30 it's a challenge. At 15 it's a recovery ride.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  4. #4
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    As I recall, Britain used to have laws requiring a person to walk in front of the car with a red lantern. I suspect that a 25 mph limit will have as much traction. If you want to discourage carfree living, don't toady around with such halfway measures. They would be better off studying Copenhagen.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

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    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  5. #5
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    I thought that most of the reader comments were pretty illuminating, if somewhat depressing. It was as if a bunch of alcoholics had just been informed that they would only be allowed a single drink a day, but only in certain areas. The comments made me realize, also, that this idea will probably die long before it ever becomes reality. Personally, I'd love to live in such a community, but I agree with Artkansas that Copenhagen is probably a more realistic model.

    another thought crossed my mind while reading this: If all cars were required to go no faster than 15mph, except on major freeways, you could make the engines smaller, and therefore much more efficient, thereby making them cheaper to operate and creating a lot less greenhouse gases. Cars would be more viable much longer into the future, and everyone, or at least most people, would probably be happier in the long run. Plus, almost no one would die in auto accidents.
    Last edited by bragi; 03-31-08 at 11:02 PM.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  6. #6
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    In most places all it would take would be substantial enforcement of existing traffic laws with low tolerance for speeders. When I first started driving IRIC we were "allowed" 5mph over the posted or you would get a ticket...now it appears to be much more than that!

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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  7. #7
    Cheese toThinkistoBe's Avatar
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    This reminds me of the episode of Mr show where old folks take over the world.

    "...There would be bowls of hard candy at every corner, and whether you walked or drove, you'd get to your destination at the same time..."

    In all seriousness, this is a great idea for people who are interested and would probably force some kind of revolution/revolt if it was forced on those who can't (won't) comprehend life without a car.

    Personally, I would love to live in such a city.

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    Interesting how all the brits are using MPH instead of KM/H. Or maybe they always did that and I just never noticed.

    In regards to the story, you could see this coming from a mile away. Why? The government is dictating to people how they should act. People around the world, including very socialized countries in europe hate unnecessary govn't intrusion.

    If a large private developer had done this same thing, i.e. developed communities/towns that put cars way down on the transportation list, there would be nary a peep by the motor drivers, except to say, "well I'm sure not going to live there".

    It's interesting to see the push back by the british populace over a lot of the intrusive government mandates, unfortunately they all seem to revolve around the automobile (the other story was about britians vandalizing speed cameras).

  9. #9
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Interesting to me is the comment section...they are the same the world over. In my local area, they have done (yet another) study on the feasibility of increased mass transit with a completion date of 2035... And of course the comments are all pretty much the same: "make it pay for itself, no public subsidy", "add more lanes to I-xxx", "we don't need no stinkin' toll roads", "all it is, is a goverment tax scheme/money grab"...ad nauseum.

    My understanding is that these are PLANNED villages, no one is suggesting that ALL living areas be affected (yet ) If given an opportunity I think I would much prefer to live in a place where cars were to be reduced second class citizens.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  10. #10
    Senior Member TheKingFiphtin's Avatar
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    I've been talking about cities like that forever! All the comments I read against the article only looked at one point or another, never more than one at a time. It seemed like no one paid attention to the fact that this would be implemented in PLANNED CITIES. Most of the arguements had to do with people just not wanting to get out of their cars or couldn't think of a city with a different layout than what they are used to. The comments on this article just introduced me to a new bias. Brits are idiots.

    Well, actually there were some good comments, and I like the eco city idea alot. So They're not all bad. I wish they would build a city like that in the US.
    Having fingers is pretty sweet. You can do all kinds of things with them.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Smallwheels's Avatar
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    The world would be better off if there were more cars this size than the large ones. Actually it would be classified as a motorcycle in the USA since it has only three wheels.

    Watch this: http://youtube.com/watch?v=jgIV9ZCMnY4

    When these are available all around the USA I intend to get one. I would probably opt for the hybrid model.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=p2Ke1VWhZJA
    Smallwheels

    Take my stuff, please. I have way too much. My current goal is to have all of my possessions fit onto a large bicycle trailer. Really.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bizzz111 View Post
    Interesting how all the brits are using MPH instead of KM/H.
    But why? It is afterall a British unit of measurement.

    The United States couldn't quite manage to completely shake off the shackles of occupation

    And why the smaller pints over here? Is that a blue law?

  13. #13
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    Road design should make faster speeds difficult.

    In an urban neigbhorhood designed for pedestrians, it should be difficult for cars to travel faster than 15MPH even if the speed limit allows it.

    If you make the distances between lights and stop-signs shorter; and increase the surface area devoted to bus/bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, medians, plazas, etc. the cars won't have an opportunity to go much faster. Whether it's a large city or a small town, it ought to be a pain to drive. This encourages people to park their cars and walk. It also encourages public transportation and bicycling.

    There are parts of our downtown that are very pedestrian-friendly, and cars generally have to stop at a light every block. Our urban residential neighborhood is also very pedestrian-friendly, but there aren't enough stop signs to keep cars from travelling fast. Our street is long as straight. Even though the speed limit is 25, cars regularly travel 40MPH or faster... despite the fact that there is an elementary school in the neighborhood. We are considering a petition for more stop signs, or perhaps some speed humps.

  14. #14
    Recumbent Trike countersTrike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chephy View Post
    15 mph? Cyclists would get as many speeding tickets as motorists if the speed limit is actually enforced.
    Very true and easier to aim spike strips at too

    countersTrike

  15. #15
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
    The world would be better off if there were more cars this size than the large ones. Actually it would be classified as a motorcycle in the USA since it has only three wheels.

    Watch this: http://youtube.com/watch?v=jgIV9ZCMnY4

    When these are available all around the USA I intend to get one. I would probably opt for the hybrid model.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=p2Ke1VWhZJA
    That Aptera car was actually pretty impressive. A hybrid that gets 300 mpg and has a top speed of 90 mph is something that deserves a hard second look...
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
    The world would be better off if there were more cars this size than the large ones. Actually it would be classified as a motorcycle in the USA since it has only three wheels.

    Watch this: http://youtube.com/watch?v=jgIV9ZCMnY4

    When these are available all around the USA I intend to get one. I would probably opt for the hybrid model.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=p2Ke1VWhZJA
    Yea..... I feel safer on my bike instead. At least it's easier to bail out when shiet happens.

  17. #17
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    It's always been my belief that if you lower speeds, you reduce traffic congestion.

  18. #18
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean000 View Post
    In an urban neigbhorhood designed for pedestrians, it should be difficult for cars to travel faster than 15MPH even if the speed limit allows it.

    If you make the distances between lights and stop-signs shorter; and increase the surface area devoted to bus/bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, medians, plazas, etc. the cars won't have an opportunity to go much faster. Whether it's a large city or a small town, it ought to be a pain to drive. This encourages people to park their cars and walk. It also encourages public transportation and bicycling.

    There are parts of our downtown that are very pedestrian-friendly, and cars generally have to stop at a light every block. Our urban residential neighborhood is also very pedestrian-friendly, but there aren't enough stop signs to keep cars from travelling fast. Our street is long as straight. Even though the speed limit is 25, cars regularly travel 40MPH or faster... despite the fact that there is an elementary school in the neighborhood. We are considering a petition for more stop signs, or perhaps some speed humps.
    Depends on the area...in our small town they did just this and people just went somewhere else to shop. Larger town just south of me did the pedestrian mall thing and downtown completely died. Now after 25 years it is starting to make a come back.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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  19. #19
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    If you make it unpleasant for people to get around, of *course* they'll go elsewhere.

    If Madison planned to put in speed bumps and medians to slow traffic downtown, I'd get very upset. Those things are a *real* hazard on a bike, especially if you've got a heavy load or it's wet out. I'm much safer on a smooth, well maintained road! It would be much more useful to do things like swap parking meter posts from a single car, single bike design to a 1 car 2 bike design. Coming up with a way to keep motor scooters out of bike racks would also be nice. Sweeping public parking for abandoned vehicles would also help - cars get checked regularly since they pay, but sometimes a bike rack may be clogged with abandoned bikes.

    At 15mph, many sorts of cars get very poor gas mileage. Their engines and fuel injection systems tend to hit optimum function at about 45mph. Most of Madison's downtown is posted at 25 (2 lanes) or 35 mph (4 lanes + turn lane). Trying to keep car speeds lower would drop air quality and would not improve matters for anyone. I *would* like to see some more speed enforcement on the higher speed routes. I've done enough driving to know that the 35mph routes are mostly driven at 40-55mph. Good for air quality, and very bad for stopping distance. The speeding habit makes it harder on the city bus drivers, so that's another reason to not be a fan.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Depends on the area...in our small town they did just this and people just went somewhere else to shop. Larger town just south of me did the pedestrian mall thing and downtown completely died. Now after 25 years it is starting to make a come back.

    Aaron
    I guess that is a risk
    I guess I should never underestimate how lazy people can be. If the shopping/business district is designed well enough, and offers an attractive place for walking and the shops/resturants/services people are willing to be a bit inconvenienced for it often works. I've seen a number of areas like this and the most successful ones had a giant ugly parking garage! I guess that's what it takes to get people to park their cars and walk... even if they drove 15 miles to get to a place where they are only going to walk a few blocks.

    When I lived in Washington, DC I would sometimes talk to people outside of DC who would say stuff like, "I went there once and hated it. I've never been anywhere that was so difficult and confusing to drive around." Whenever someone asked us for advice before visiting DC we would tell them to ditch their car in a garage or lot somewhere (or don't rent one if they are arriving by plane or train) and then take the Metro into town.

    Sean

  21. #21
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    Making things "unpleasant" isn't really the goal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Torrilin View Post
    If you make it unpleasant for people to get around, of *course* they'll go elsewhere.
    That isn't really the goal. The goal is to make it easier and safer to get around without a car, which sometimes means making it less convenient to drive all the way through the business district. If you make it easy to walk, easy to bicycle, and easy to ride public transportation it can actually draw people in. Of course big cities have enough attractions to draw people in so that they are willing to put up with some inconveniences, but I've seen small towns, small cities, and pedestrian-friendly shopping centers do this as well. The trick seems to be that you have to make it a pain to drive to every destination, while offering easy parking at the perimeter (or even at key places inside the pedestrian heavy zone). On the downside this can result in large ugly parking lots and structures. Another goal is that you want these areas to be where many people live... not just destinations for shoppers. Every city and town I have ever lived in has had these neigborhoods... real neighborhoods where people live that offer some of the best dining and shopping in the area. Yes there will be some people who never visit these places because they want to be able to park right in front of their destination, but they can go to the mall

    If Madison planned to put in speed bumps and medians to slow traffic downtown, I'd get very upset. Those things are a *real* hazard on a bike, especially if you've got a heavy load or it's wet out.
    There are many better alternatives to traditional speed bumps. Speed humps are easy for bicycles to ride over, but the painted ones can still be slippery when wet. Frequent stop signs and lights are better, and give pedestrians more places to cross the roads. These aren't areas where bicycles are supposed to go fast either, so the bicycles will be a little inconvenienced as well. That's why bicycles are often just as fast as cars (if not faster) in areas like these.

    One thing to note: Most places I'm thinking of that have low speed zones (or even zones where cars aren't allowed) also have a few major streets with higher speeds close by. These arteries provide faster routes for busses, bicycles, and cars. Many such places also have multi-use paths where bicycles can cruise without so many stop signs.

    The real goal here is mixed zoning so neighborhoods can provide residents and visitors with basic services. One of the reasons we are so addicted to cars is because American cities and towns became too segmented into homogenous zoning areas. Houses are one direction, businesses are another direction, schools are way over there, and hospitals are out that other way. In neighborhoods that offer residents more services close by, car trips are reduced because other options exist. Often these neigbhorhoods become less car-friendly because the focus is more on pedestrians, bicycles, and public transportation.

    Sean

  22. #22
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    My general observation on the pedestrianization of any given town is based on the existing population and their willingness to adapt. I know that some of it is socioeconomic and suspect the rest to be cultural. Too many people are hung up on going to a chain store/restaurant/coffee shop/whatever that advertises heavily, if you don't have those it is going to be an uphill battle for the most part. I am working in a decent sized metro area and stay in a hotel in one of the smaller outlying "bedroom" communities. On more than one occasion we decided to go out to eat, all of the big name chains were packed and had wait times, drove right by those to the local owned restaurant downtown, it was much calmer, no wait and the food was excellent. I make a it a point to frequent local owned businesses as much as possible.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torrilin View Post
    If you make it unpleasant for people to get around, of *course* they'll go elsewhere.

    If Madison planned to put in speed bumps and medians to slow traffic downtown, I'd get very upset. Those things are a *real* hazard on a bike, especially if you've got a heavy load or it's wet out. I'm much safer on a smooth, well maintained road!
    I have not had that experience with the speed bumps we have on our 'traffic calmed' streets. As a matter of fact, they are quite driveable at 30 km/h (about 14 mph) in a car or on a bicycle.

    I have done these with heavy loads, in rain, in snow and ice (though generally slower), and they have not been a problem.

    These speed bumps are actually reffered to as 'speed humps', and I would be happy to see more of them - especially if we could replace some 4 way stops with 2 way stops with speed humps on the through streets.

  24. #24
    Metalhead
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    There were alot of naive comments. Global warming not something that is human caused but the opposite is true? Whatever, dude. I think there is a matter of natural occurrences of the warming/cooling cycle, but since the industrial revolution, there's not a doubt that Earth has warmed.

    I personally think that everyone should have their cars taken away, be hit on the head with a roll of quarters and be given a bike...because people are lazy!

    I don't really think that, but the US especially, overall, has the wrong attitude and needs to change...but I don't forsee it happening. Cars aren't going away, I'm afraid. It's especially mind boggling when people choose to work or live a long ways away from where they work/live. WHY?!

    Oh well, I'm just laughing at everyone who is car reliant right now because they're throwing away their money on gas.
    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    How many cars would be sold, I wonder, if they advertised just the wrecks?

  25. #25
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    15mph? That is way too low.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
    Stay calm and bring a towel.

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