Tag Archives: opinion

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Signs don’t equal Safety – Don’t support the All Way Stop at Ellerslie & Tamworth

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

The lyrics of Signs by Five Man Electrical Band always pop into my head when someone starts talking signs for safety: be they  speed limit signs, stop signs, or shoes required signs.  I do not support signs, and the neighbourhood is currently petitioning to get some new stop signs installed down the street, to convert a two-way stop to an All-Way stop, so here is my argument against this instance.  As a “long haired freaky people“, it seems to be the minority view, but I think with a little bit of consideration and research, you may change your mind.

First off, we are not traffic engineers.  I don’t necessarily put faith in ‘experts’, but if you want to play the role of considering traffic flow, then consider traffic flow in the entire neighbourhood, not just at a single intersection.  Changing an intersection will have impacts many intersections away in a variety of ways.  What if your support for a change at this intersection, resulted in an accident nearby?  NIMBY is a slippery slope to go down.  All-way stops are put in place to assist with negotiating right of way, when the intersection has near-equal traffic in all directions.  This intersection as one of its four directions is a dead end, you can assume right off the bat that it will not have equal traffic in all directions.  Studies have also shown that drivers will increase their speed between intersections to make up for their ‘lost time’ of having stopped.  Whoops?

I don’t like pollution.  Asking the majority of motorists approaching this intersection to increase their emissions and noise produced are two forms of pollution I’d rather keep out of the neighbourhood, not to mention the increased fuel consumption compounding over the next few decades that the sign would be there.  Oil doesn’t grow on trees (anymore).  If this isn’t obvious, when you accelerate from a stop, you use a lot more fuel, your engine is louder doing so, and when you are idle at the stop, and when  you are accelerating there are many more emissions in the area.

Risk compensation is a theory which suggests that people typically adjust their behavior in response to the perceived level of risk, becoming more careful where they sense greater risk and less careful if they feel more protected.  Pedestrians and cyclists at the intersection could end up crossing in a more risky fashion, assuming the competition at the intersection will be stopping.   Shared Space in urban design pushes this edge considerably and I lean towards this when ever I discuss traffic signs and road conditions with people.

The attention this has gotten in the neighbourhood shouldn’t be ignored, but let’s not knee-jerk our support for the All-Way stop, but rather channel the concerns into  looking at the larger issue of how can we make our community a better one for people traveling with-in it, and through it, on a larger scale.

Please also consider how well you are perceiving the ‘danger’ here.  Risk Perception is a funny thing.

Some more traffic related links if you’d like:

What is your issue re: wearing shoes?

A facebook thread discussing this quotation “Shoes do no more for the foot than a hat does for the brain.” (which I read here) prompted this earnest question: “What is your issue re: wearing shoes?”  Here is my reply.

Hi Jen, thanks for the inquiry.  I had prepared a new reply to use: “why don’t you wear a corset”, but I’ll go easy on you 😉

Most importantly, it feels right.  Shoes have never felt right.  Have you ever experienced that pleasure of being barefoot — be it in the grass, or after a long day on your feet and you’re stretching out your toes, or having a foot rub?  Why is it people continually make themselves uncomfortable?

I have a philosophy called the escalation of convenience: if you do something because it’s convenient, you’ll soon do something else and then something else and then something else and after a while you won’t know where or why you did it in the first place.  My explorations with shoes have fallen into this model.  Most people in our culture never question the fashion that tells them to be shod, and as a result they suffer for it (see my succinct comment about corsets above).  Greatly.  Ever had sore knees, or a bad back?  A foot infection, or an ingrown toe nail, twisted an ankle?  Why?

Like bottled water, shoes have a ‘manufactured demand‘ — the producers of them want you to wear them, and wear them out.  In general, they are a fashion accessory that is unhealthy for you.

I find the information presented by Dr. Daniel Howell helpful to those curious about it  (start on that page, and other pages on his ‘resources’ tab).  Check out his The Barefoot Book if you’re keen.

As you might have noticed in the past though, whenever the topic comes up on here there is a lot of unfounded, strongly held opinions against such a simple expression of non-conformity so I can’t say it is something for everyone to try in public, for now.  Give it another few years and some of the ignorance and resistance might lessen.

It is hard for those of us in our culture to go against something we learned so young.  Your mother told you you had to wear shoes from the time you could walk.  Who am I to question that?

Town of High River is failing

The Town of High River Alberta was hit with a disaster last week when the rains of southern Alberta initiated massive flooding throughout the area.  Ever since the state of emergency was declared, they have been failing to handle the situation.

Instead of working together with the community, instead of fostering goodwill towards each other, they are abusing their new found fiefdom and threatening others who challenge their dominion.   The town is rotting away, both physically and emotionally.  Over 10,000 people are displaced from their homes for more than a week now, while their homes are invaded and their possessions robbed by the very people claiming to have their ‘best interests in mind’, the very people who are ‘keeping them safe’.

Rulers of High River, please see through your concerns for liability, your concerns for job descriptions, your concerns about making mistakes and let the people of the town join together and restore their neighbourhoods, restore their community and restore their sense of security.