Sunday

Connecticut and Traffic

I was at an intersection in New Britain, CT when a thought occurred to me. I had been in New York City recently and I couldn't help but compare how the two cities deal with pedestrians. In New York City at a four way intersection, a green light for traffic in one direction means that pedestrians can walk. In Connecticut, with few exceptions, when one hits the button to walk, the entire intersection in all directions get a red light so people can cross.

The difference is that in New York, the system is designed to move people as quickly as possible. Whether in a car, on a bike or on foot, the idea is that as many people should move through the intersection as quickly as possible.

In CT, though, that's not the case. Part of the reason for that is because pedestrians are fewer, so to make sure that cars pay attention and stop is to shut down the intersection. I get that. But I can't help but think that this very attitude is part of what's wrong with traffic and transportation in CT. The key should be to move people through the most efficient and effective ways possible–whether car, bus, bike, on foot, whatever.

If I had to redesign CT, I'd add more bike lanes – honestly, that's what a lot of people would say. But more than that, what CT needs are more sidewalks and pedestrian crossings. The region is designed for cars, not people. It's absurd at times just how unfriendly certain areas are for people. That's the problem that a lot of people don't recognize. Some think that we should build roads and highways and that the infrastructure should be designed to move as many cars as quickly as possible. It's not. Cars are a means to an end. It's about moving as many people as quickly as possible.

The landscape shouldn't be designed for cars, but for people. And yet, so many towns are designed for cars. It's sad to think about that – and worse, that so many people feel unable to even think about another way to live. A more human way to live.

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