“Traffic is a social problem” and what’s needed is “an outbreak of civility”

In light of last week’s discussion about speed and America Walks four ways to slow things down (MW), we need to recognize that we have within us a great capacity to influence driver behaviors without engineers.

We do this by reclaiming the streets for more than simply moving cars–with or without the help of engineers. We do this by reclaiming the spaces between our homes and the one across the street through simple measures like crossing the street and saying hello to your neighbor. When someone asks how to “slow traffic down” it might be worth it, before getting into this or that design, to ask, “when was the last time you took the neighbor across the street a strawberry pie?

Beautification projects, like the one called to order in TC’s Old Town (MW), are some of the easiest traffic calming programs we have. The flowers are nice treatment, but connecting people together is the best form of traffic calming. These real, grassroots place making endeavors require collaboration and an embrace of the understanding that it’s not your home that is your castle, your castle is your community.