Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Incremental change can be as easy as starting with a sign


Personally, I don't think this sign is very explanatory... (Image credits to come.)

I thought it was pretty funny to read an article in the Examiner, "Faulty GPS makes Va. neighborhood a truck obstacle course" about how bad GPS directions for the area around Rte. 1 in Fairfax County are directing large trucks into streets unable to accommodate them. Residents are calling for the streets to be declared closed to trucks.

But because most local roads are under the control of the Virginia Department of Transportation, it is a relatively long process to get such a regulation in place.

The same thing happens in many other places. In the UK, they've created signs to warn drivers when GPS directions are incorrect.

Why not start with a sign? You can do one for under $200...

From the article:

Stranded semi-trucks, sent astray by errant GPS systems, have fouled up a tiny 1940s-era neighborhood tucked between South King's Highway and Route 1 in Alexandria, leaving Fairfax County and the state to find a fix for fallible technology.

Several times a month, tractor-trailers and other enormous vehicles miss a tricky turn from North King's Highway onto traffic-heavy Route 1, home to mega-destinations like Target, Office Depot and Lowe's. Instead, the vehicles wind up on South King's Highway, neighborhood resident Edward Walker recently told the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. From there, GPS technology sends the truckers on a shortcut back to Route 1 - on narrow, steep Pickett and Franklin streets, where the trucks and buses simply can't fit.

Walker approached county supervisors armed with photos of a truck jack-knifed, another in a ditch, another forced to back out onto busy South King's Highway, as well as pictures of broken trees, mangled fences and rutted lawns. ...

A fix likely won't arrive for nearly a year, however. First, VDOT has to study the county's no-truck recommendation, and then GPS companies need to get around to updating their systems. That's a quarterly process, said a spokeswoman for Garmin International Inc., a GPS manufacturer. Companies then rely on the GPS owner's diligence in downloading updates.

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