Here’s a way pedestrians’ greater aversion to inclined surfaces, and cyclists’ greater aversion to cobbles, could be used to gently part each of these modes on a shared non-vehicular street. You would leave the intersections and edges of an existing street at their current level, but dig scollops where you would expect most cyclists would want to go faster. While the middle would be smooth, the edge would be rough. There would be no signs or stencils to give either mode a sense of entitlement to either zone. Instead we would rely on human nature, that pedestrians would stand clear when they heard a bike bells, and that cyclists would brake when they had to.
Some students of mine have coined the term “low means go / high means slow” to describe the way gravity would naturally cause cyclists to speed up as they turned toward the middle of such a street, then slow to pedestrian pace as they pulled to the side.
I’ve got to start plugging my book now. As well as espousing design techniques such as this one, I make the case that designing bike cities and buildings is a problem for architects and landscape architects, not road engineers. I believe it’s $26.95 at book depository.
I look forward to the day when the cycling community looks to architects, and not road engineers, as the natural designers of the places they ride. Traffic engineering is a discipline that makes national and international standards. It has to. As a discipline it evolved to minimise the risk inherent in the most dicey activity humankind has ever made mainstream. Unduly influenced by that design model, most bike advocates would look at my sketch and complain that it wouldn’t work in front of their house.
It isn’t meant to. It’s meant to inspire architects, landscape architects, and any city with the vision to employ such designers after they have booted high-speed machines and their engineers out of their cities entirely.