Biblical Precedent for Traffic Calming and restoring sanity to street design

 

crosstown us 17
The Crosstown – US 17 in Charleston SC
Charleston-Churches street
Church Street Charleston SC

I have purposefully cherry picked two street in Charleston to compare.  The Crosstown/US17 which most folks hate and Church Street which is one of the most beloved streets in the nation.  Why design and build awful streets that end up killing and maiming people in car crashes made more severe with higher speeds?  We can find much better streets if we invest some time and attention and seek the best guidance possible.

Over the years we have heard some folks cherry pick bible verses to suit all manner of questionable activity.  Enslaving people, going off to war, and recently, removing children from their parents’ arms at the US border.  Since it looks like we’re headed into a couple of news cycles with lots of people quoting scripture to reinforce their arguments, I figured this would be a good time to share one of the best pieces of biblical scholarship applied to building better places that I have encountered.

I heard Charleston developer and all around thoughtful guy, Vince Graham used a passage from the Gospel of Matthew in a presentation in Minneapolis in 1997.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”        Matthew 7″: 13-14  NIVf

So we have it on go authority that narrow streets are best and that the road to Hell is really wide and there is a lot of traffic.  People seem to be in quite a hurry to go there.

Think about this the next time you find yourself in a discussion with a stubborn closed minded traffic engineer.  Maybe use the quote from the book of Matthew and see if you can’t lead them away from what could be the Road to Perdition.