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blueradon

Chicane

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I came across this blog through TreeHugger.com and had to share it.

It's a traffic calming alternative mostly geared for one-way roads. Basically the purpose of a Chicane is to force the drivers to zig zag back and forth on a street which causes drivers to slow down on the roads and also gives more area for sidewalk and streetscape enhancements

Here's a short animation video showing the Chicane in action

Video Link

I think downtown GR streets should implement this not only for traffic calming reasons but it would also look nice. Perhaps Monroe Center would be a good test market?

There's another site that gives many pictured examples of different traffic calming strategies

Link

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I think downtown Zeeland had something like this a few years ago but has since removed it.

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Really? That's interesting - maybe it's not as popular as some would think then...I wonder what some of the disadvantages would be if any?

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Really? That's interesting - maybe it's not as popular as some would think then...I wonder what some of the disadvantages would be if any?

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I think its an interesting theory but what about drunk drivers, snow plows, etc? Monroe center has wide sidewalks, plenty of cross walks and the snow melt system; i think monroe center works how it is. If only the streets were wider to accomodate angled parking like downtown holland. The chicane would slow the average person down but cell phones, stereos and everything else already creates distractions that people probably do better driving straight than dealing with mild turns. I'm not advocating distractions, just saying they are going to happen regardless. They might work for low traffic residential areas as a form of streetscape improvement but I don't think they work for moderate to high traffic areas.

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There's a few neighborhoods on the NW that use chokers to slow traffic down. The Chicane seems to be a variation of the choker. So think it would work.

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I think there are a few of these in Lansing. Personally, I'm not a fan.

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I like Vail, Colorado's "Big freakin' boulder" approach. That would freak you out late at night:

Vail_USA_autorestricted2_large.jpg

Joe

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That would have been more ironic if it was in Boulder, CO. :P

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Are you saying then that Grand Rapids should use a "Big freakin' armchair" ?

Maybe stick an old lady in it. ^_^

vailusaautorestricted2lry3.jpg

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I think there are a few of these in Lansing. Personally, I'm not a fan.

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There are, they stuck a ton of "traffic calming" things on neigborhood streets. Some are really very dangerous, especially the chicanes, and of course plows hit them and firetrucks, buses, ect can't really navigate them. Thankfully they re-evaluated the idea of building these due to so many complaints.

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Here is one of the locations I was thinking of......

http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&...4&encType=1

Gets interesting when there is more than one car present. And, if you scroll left and right along this street, you'll see a number of other traffic calming measures such as medians/islands, a small roundabout, and two more chicanes. About the only thing they didn't do was speed humps, one of the worst traffic calming measures around and, unfortunately, far too prevalent in Grand Rapids.

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I bet they were complaining because they actually worked. How many of those fender-benders were due to excessive speeds? I can see the plows and busses having issues because they are larger (especially if the street is small), but my money is on the motorists speeding and hitting them. If they are in a neighborhood setting (where speeding can be notorious), those cars should only be going 15-25 mph anyway and I'm sure they could clear the chicanes with no problems.

Some are really very dangerous, especially the chicanes, and of course plows hit them and firetrucks, buses, ect can't really navigate them. Thankfully they re-evaluated the idea of building these due to so many complaints.

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You cannot navigate these "traffic calming measures" very safely at all, especially the example "highwayguy" gave. You really have to drive through those things to see what I'm talking about. All you really need to slow people down in neighborhoods is stop signs every few blocks.

Also, as bad a speedhumps are, they are safer and more effective than many of these other things.

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Another concern would be delivery vehicles. You would need a service parking lot or alley behind the business to pull this off in a commercial block like Monroe Center. Just go down for coffee some morning and watch the number of large trucks that service the area.

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You cannot navigate these "traffic calming measures" very safely at all, especially the example "highwayguy" gave. You really have to drive through those things to see what I'm talking about. All you really need to slow people down in neighborhoods is stop signs every few blocks.

Also, as bad a speedhumps are, they are safer and more effective than many of these other things.

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As for a regular passenger vehicle, I wouldn't see a problem with Chicanes unless the driver was a complete moron and decided to floor the gas. However there might be a concern for large vehicles such as ambulances and firetrucks. But this problem is inherent with almost any traffic calming scheme in use today.

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If these ever came into existence, I'd probably have to invest in the giant 4x4 with the skyjacker suspension, and barely legal 30"+ tires! I'm not a fan of the "choker" things that take out almost half of the lane, and these things look worse.

I agree with 'hood in that the best traffic shaping device is the Traffic Light

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Monroe Center is not in need of traffic calming as it seems to be a properly sized street as it is. I think it is one of the better streets in town as far as being humanely scaled. The proportion between building heights and the space between building fronts (the public realm) is very good from the standpoint of creating urbanism.

These traffic calming devices, while well intended, are sure fire indicators that the street was not designed properly to begin with and sometime create other problems.

A narrow street, with wide sidewalks, on-street parking on both sides, street trees and proper architectural definition and closure should be what is strived for.

Wide streets with added doo-dads should be avoided.

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Monroe Center is not in need of traffic calming as it seems to be a properly sized street as it is. I think it is one of the better streets in town as far as being humanely scaled. The proportion between building heights and the space between building fronts (the public realm) is very good from the standpoint of creating urbanism.

These traffic calming devices, while well intended, are sure fire indicators that the street was not designed properly to begin with and sometime create other problems.

A narrow street, with wide sidewalks, on-street parking on both sides, street trees and proper architectural definition and closure should be what is strived for.

Wide streets with added doo-dads should be avoided.

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