07 September 2007

On crossing roads in Manly and surviving it

For most of our centuries, walking was our primary means of locomotion. With the advent of motorised transport our known planet became restructured to suit the flow of these auto-mobile devices. People underwent a century of reprogramming their central nervous system in tune with the flow/jam of the 'traffic'. Children (video) and adults (video) were being instructed to fit in to motorised society.

In the meantime, the-to-be-negotiated-space is more akin to a war-zone. Armoured urban tanks ram places, plough into people and houses, mount curbs and pin pedestrians to the wall. Raised, with metal roo-bars they conquer every cm of the urban territory. Council attempts to stud pedestrian zones with iron posts. On the roads "The pedestrian remains the largest single obstacle to free traffic movement."

So it you do wish to cross a road with traffic lights in Manly, here is an instruction that might increase your chances of survival:

  • Wait till the traffic lights turn green for pedestrians, not breathing too much
  • Do not cross!
  • Check for cars, 4WDs, (especially the black ones with tinted black windows), because they might just want to go in spite of any lights.
  • Remember, they just throw in their weight.
  • If all seems clear and the lights haven't changed to red.
  • Run – looking right/left simulaneously.
Pedestrian Council of Australia
Perils for Pedestrians, videos
The End of Suburbia
Video via Endofsuburbia, "We're literally stuck up a cul-de-sac in a cement SUV without a fill-up" - James Howard Kunstler
Update 110907 Urban planner concludes:
"..Sydney's roads, footpaths and traffic light configurations all conspired to favour the car... They were a product of traffic engineering that was refined in the 1960s and '70s but never reviewed. Sydney pedestrians can spend as much time waiting to cross the street as they do on the move because the car has ruled the city unnecessarily for 30 years. Measures to alter the balance between drivers and walkers range from the radical - doubling tax on fuel - to the subtle - altering the configuration for turning left and right off thoroughfares."

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