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Upon returning from a trip south of the border to build houses, I read with interest the nine days of the Monitor I’d missed. I found a thread of content worthy of comment concerning the process now starting to consider potential renovation options for Trinity Drive, their impacts on traffic flow and further effects on pedestrian and bicycle access and safety. Noteworthy were the articles and an editorial addressing the timely and safe passage of vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles in our community. What struck me upon reading the Monitor articles one after another rather than how they appeared in print over a span of days was the need for dispassionate, world-class engineering and science, i.e., the tenants of the laboratory from which this community evolved.
In an era of ever more challenging energy needs and requirements I hope the vision of any project in our community will weigh the importance of valuing all modes of transportation whether vehicle, bicycle, or the pedestrian. Traffic engineering, like all disciplines, has evolved with our level of understanding and data. Neither opinion nor personal biases will ultimately win the day in engineering problems. It’s “give me the facts, show me the models, and show me the validation of the models.”
I urge the county council to seek out the experts. As my grandmother always noted to me, “You only get out what you put in.” Traffic engineering is no more stagnant than is any other engineering discipline. Our community roads were principally “designed” in the 1950s and 1960s. One would not design an airplane, a system at the lab, or any other structure today the way we did so five or six decades ago. Our community deserves no less than the top certified experts in traffic engineering advising us on the balance of how best to serve our citizens in the 21st century.
Incidentally, I was fortunate to have lived in Europe for three years and found roundabouts a viable engineering solution to traffic flow in cities like Hamburg, London, Zurich, Madrid and in U.S. cities like Washington, D.C. and San Francisco – let alone last week driving in Mexico. Consideration of how and why roundabouts and other evolved traffic engineering designs are now manifest and continuing to be built in many U.S. cities and across Europe is worthy of examination with expert consultation.