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David Engwicht

Effective Traffic Calming Device: The Frisbee

12:55 PM EDT on July 27, 2007

From Sean Roche at the Newton Streets and Sidewalks blog:

frisbee.jpgWant to slow traffic? Throw a frisbee across the street. That's what six-year-old son of NS&S and I learned on Sunday.

Please note that we did not throw the frisbee in front of traffic. We stopped throwing as soon as any car approached. But, our presence on the sidewalk, frisbee in hand, seemed to create some anxiety, and traffic slowed. Reaaaaaally slowed. It was remarkable.

This is consistent with the theories promoted by offbeat Australian traffic innovator David Engwicht. Among other things, Engwicht invented (or at least popularized) the idea of the walking school bus. Relevant to our frisbee toss, Engwicht believes that traditional approaches to traffic calming aren't necessary (or enough). Rather than build speed bumps, install chicanes, or otherwise change the roadway (or in addition), Engwicht promotes what he calls second-generation traffic calming: intrigue and uncertainty.

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