Friday, 26 August 2011

I learned a new word

Well, it's two words really - "desire lines". I knew there was a phrase for them. If you visit a park, it might have footpaths all around it. Sometimes though, you can see a well worn part of the grass that has been walkled on repeatedly. It's like that because that is the way people want to walk. I've seen it too in the Ikea car park. There are little bushes around the edges (perhaps to offset carbon emissions). There are little holes through them where people walk through rather than walking backwards to the designated walk-through and then coming back.

There are pedestrian desire lines all over the city but regrettably they are littered with obstacles. There is a lot of pedestrian traffic between the central market and North Terrace where the railway station is.

A popular one is outside the markets on Gouger Street:

Closer to North Terrace, there is one on Flinders Street:

That one leads along a walkway, past the Adelaide City Council to Pirie Street:

At all of them, pedestrians have to wait. Drivers are generally pretty good in that if there is a traffic jam, they will keep the area clear so that people can get across. However, if traffic is moving, they do not stop.

It would be easy to require cars to stop when someone is waiting to cross. The roads are generally not fast moving and even if they were, drivers would only be delayed a few seconds and they would not get to the next red light quite as quickly.

On my walks around the city, I have only ever seen one crossing that actually requires cars to stop. It only really affects the line of taxis sitting outside the Disrict Court building. This is it:

It seems to connect the central market and Hilton Hotel with a bus stop. It is strange that it is there bacause I do not see it used much. If there is one there, it makes you wonder why there can't be more.

They would make a very small but significant difference.

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