Friday, 30 April 2010

Speed reduction past moored boats

Obviously, speed control of boats is not a new problem on the canals. Foresight (which preeceded the work of Donald Appleyard by two hundred years) by many canal builders such as Brindley and others has already given us built in, canal ready, traffic calming measures.

In the form of pre-planned chicanes carefully placed under bridges. Turning the previous towpath  into part of the canal side cycle way.

Professor of Urban Design Donald Appleyard In his book Livable Streets, showed that streets have many social and recreational functions which are severely impaired by fast traffic. For example, residents of streets with light traffic had, on average, three more friends and twice as many acquaintances as the people on streets with heavy traffic.

His work provides a quantitative rationale for traffic calming. So in theory, by slowing down boat traffic - we should all increase our number of friends and aquaintances on the cut three fold. Incidentally, in a bizzare hapenstance. Appleyard was killed in 1982 by a speeding automobile.

For much of the twentieth century, streets were designed by engineers who were charged only with ensuring traffic flow. In an about face, local councils now spend a fortune building Speed Bumps on our major roads seemingly to damage vehicles and give uncomfortable rides for passengers on local public transport.

My idea for traffic calming on the cut, came from something I saw at my local swimming pool and the wave machine that they employ. I think we could have automatically generated speed bumps for the canals. Along with speed camera technology it would be easy to make a deterrent and at the same time raise some cash in the form of revenue raising speeding fines to the benefit of British Waterways.

BW could also introduce a congestion charge as another traffic management strategy. With the prospect of another revenue raising element as a by-product.

Speed bumps for the canal. Each British waterways 14 day mooring should be fitted with wave generating machines at each end that will detect and force inconsiderate boaters to slow down.

Yes, it is written tongue in cheek!


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