The Anonymous Widower

Walthamstow Doesn’t Like Going Dutch!

This article from the Waltham Forest Guardian is entitled Grand opening of mini Holland scheme dominated by angry protestors.

I have posted it, as we are getting the Cycle Superhighway through where I live in the northern part of D Beauvoir Town in the near future and there are various opposing groups wanting or not wanting road closures and different parking restrictions.

As a Control Engineer, who has quite a bit of experience of dealing with complex liquid flow systems in chemical plants, I think that Councils tend to take a too definitive approach to the problem.

So my experience of chemical plants was in the late 1960s and we used an amazing PACE 231R. But that machine was the state-of-the-art computer of its day for solving differential equations. The computer was also the unrecognised star of the amazing rescue of the astronauts on Apollo 13.

The aim of the modelling in the chemical plant was to get different chemical streams flowing at the right rate into various reaction vessels, where they could be safely reacted and handled. The reaction products would then flow off in a controlled manner in other directions.

On a chemical plant the flows are controlled by various measures, but typically by valves, of which a domestic example is your mains water stop cock.

Often after modelling the flow system, it was found that the various valves were set almost to a fixed position for normal running of the plant.

If you look at traffic flows in say Walthamstow Village, as in the article, or De Beauvoir Town, you have an area bounded by main routes, which is crossed in a random manner by buses, cars, cyclists, pedestrians and trucks.

So what is different between modelling fluid and traffic flows?

Mathematically, it is the same process, but there is no variable method for regulating traffic flows.

The only regulation in De Beauvoir Town and other traffic systems is the brain of cyclists, pedestrians and regular drivers, who adapt their route according to their knowledge.

What the Mini Holland system in Walthamstow and other systems try to do is modify the thought processes of regular uses. The problem is that it may do that with the regular uses, but it doesn’t influence say your casual driver, who ventures into the area.

So in Walthamstow the local businesses and others see the drop in traffic and protest.

We need to apply more subtle ways of regulating the traffic, through areas like Walthamstow Village, that are understood by everybody.

  • Speed limits should be set to twenty and they should be enforced. The Police need all the money they can get, so I would be happy to see mobile enforcement cameras on the top of Police vehicles parked at the side of the road.
  • Computer-controlled traffic lights can be used as restrictors, so for instance at a notorious place where rat-runners enter an area, a pedestrian-crossing with lights could be placed. Timings could be adjusted automatically to the day of the week and time of the day.
  • Speed humps aren’t as affective as they used to be. Perhaps car suspensions are better and Councils have softened them, so they don’t get sued?
  • Cambridge has used rising bollards, that are automatically opened by certain vehicles, like buses, taxis, fire engines and ambulances.
  • Even physical gates can even be opened and closed at various times. Suppose to calm an area, there was a need to shut off a road past a church. Why couldn’t it be opened on Sundays?

We are not being innovative enough.

Solutions like mini Hollands and just shutting routes are just too simplistic for a complex city like London.

As an aside, I’m old enough to remember London’s first experiment in traffic managment.

Green Lanes through Harringay in the 1960s was even more crowded with traffic than it is today. So traffic lights were put every fifty metres or so between Harringay Green Lanes and Turnpike Lane stations. There are quite a lot less lights today.

It cut the traffic through the area, but we all diverted through the side streets and made the lives of residents hell!



November 7, 2015 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] I like it! I wondr if these protestors have mellowed? […]

    Pingback by Walthamstow Village Has All Changed « The Anonymous Widower | December 7, 2015 | Reply

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