13 June 2013

The Choreography of an Urban Intersection - Part Three: Copenhagenize Fixes



This is where we believe it all comes together. As the previous two installments in this series have demonstrated, Copenhagenize Design Co. is unveiling a document to help analyse the intracacies at work in urban spaces. In fact, a fascinating intersection out of our very own window. We show that developing alternatives to mainstream traffic planning is possible with basic equipment and hours to devote to studying human movement patterns.

 Without further ado, we now present our “Copenhagenize Fixes”. These fixes are quite simple, but we believe, will go a long way in working with traffic behaviours, instead of policing them.
The graphic above shows the following improvements to the streetscape. Each desire line is given a different letter as a label. The numbers are the number of bicycle users. Two numbers? The first is a mounted bicycle user and the second, a person walking their bike (example: through an intersection).

For bicycle users:

-Bicycle path is extended parallel to the pedestrian crossing, on the inside of the intersection:
We create a safe space for bicycle users to make U-turns, while respecting the traffic flow and infrastructure. As the diagram shows, the edges are curved to facilitate their turning movements. Since the paint follows them through the crossing, the bicycle users are protected from automobile traffic.

-Car stop line is pushed back five metres:
Bicycle users roll past the stop line to distance themselves from cars. Pushing the stop line away from the bicycle users creates more space for cyclists and would probably result in more conformist behaviour, since more than 90% of bicycle users respect the existing infrastructure.

-Additional traffic signal:
Most intersections in Frederiksberg/Copenhagen come equipped with traffic signals, so adding one here closes a missing link in the city’s overall traffic design.

For pedestrians:
-Crossing design:
The crosswalk edges wing out to match the places where pedestrians are most likely to enter the crossing. Throughout our observations, we noted people's tendency to enter the crosswalk from the edges of the white stripes, or step into the crosswalk from the outside of the lines entirely.

The pedestrian crossing is a lower-tech version of the Ergo Crosswalk designed by Jae Min Lim that we blogged about a few years back.

After publishing this document, we've thought more about design possibilities that would push the envelope for this intersection and others throughout the city. Another reason why the document cannot be viewed as a static product of our observations, but the tip of the planning iceberg. A path to new ideas that we will keep developing over time. So while these ideas incubate, we'll keep an eye peeled out our window and in city streets for how best to direct the choreography that blissfully surrounds us.

3 comments:

Edward said...

This is really impressive. Some simple and effective ways to improve an intersection.

What surprises me is how many u-turns there were - enough to justify extending the lane across the road. Who would have thought?

TroelsJ said...

It's certainly an interesting study, but it seems it doesn't take into consideration how the motorists react - they bend the rules too.

For instance, the idea with the stop line that's pulled back is interesting, but there are already several places where the stop line is pulled back like that to increase visibility in an intersection, and a lot of the time it doesn't get respected.

Erik Sandblom said...

That's great. The extra blue might help with separating cyclists from pedestrians.

That diagram makes me think of Victor Borge's sketch "phonetic punctuation".