Monday, September 4, 2006

Traffic flow not that complicated

As thousands of students have flocked back to Iowa City for the start of a new school year, the ubiquitous problem of pedestrian-driver conflict has unsurprisingly flared once again. While some of this angst will subside as the novelty of the year fades into routine, some locations on campus seem to always present problems. Although technically pedestrians have the right of way over vehicles, this should not be viewed as a blank check to impulsively walk in front of whatever car one feels like. With an intrinsic appreciation for traffic flow and a genuine concern for safety in mind, here are a few humble observations.

Although it may seem obvious, many people seem unable to grasp the idea that since the intersection of Iowa and Clinton form a "T", the cars heading west on Iowa Avenue must turn onto Clinton. Pedestrians crossing Clinton should keep in mind that even if Clinton traffic has a red light, all traffic from Iowa will be turning through the crosswalks. At the Cleary walkway, traffic on Market is regulated by the Clinton stoplight. When drivers stop to allow droves of pedestrians to cross, traffic from the next light cycle will be approaching the intersection where the first group of cars is still mired. This produces a seemingly endless knot. The solution would be for vehicles to assert themselves and not stop in the middle of the road. Most pedestrians don’t want to die, so they will wait until the light at Clinton turns red and offers the chance to cross.

As a final note to students going to class, double doors are designed in a way that their name implies. Since the entryway consists of two doors, both of them should be used. It never ceases to amaze me how many people will stand in a clog while two directions of traffic attempt to travel through one door. The consequential bottleneck can be easily avoided by opening the other door. I know that this is a time consuming and labor intensive solution, but we will all be better off in the end.

Lydia Pfaff

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