Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Road Safety Paradox

Traffic engineers straighten and widen roads, then establish "clear zones" to make roads safer.  That was the premise for four-laning Apopka-Vineland Road through Dr. Phillips in the late 1990's into a treeless drag strip with Interstate highway lane dimensions.  The result: a faster, deadly road.  The high-speed road design contributed to the death of my neighbor, who lived a couple homes away from us in the Emerald Forest subdivision.  He left a young wife and toddler. 

Charles Marohn, P.E., president of, states, "Taking highway standards and applying them to urban and suburban streets, and even county roads, costs us thousands of lives every year."  He posted  a cartoon illustrating the road safety paradox through a parody of statements he used to make to concerned citizens.  Increasingly, leaders in the engineering field are rejecting this old line of thought in favor of context sensitive solutions.