The Libertarian School of Street Design Takes London

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Managing urban traffic can be a tricky business. On the one hand, we see how physically separated bike lanes and pedestrianization can increase safety, walkability and attractiveness. On the other hand, there are arguments that removing stop lights and other forms of traffic control may appeal to a greater sense of personal responsibility on behalf of motorists and other road users. Dave Hill over at The Guardian explores how the renaissance of UK conservatives is leading to a decidedly libertarian take on traffic policy—and comes away with very mixed feelings:

Tory approaches to urban street design and management express eloquently the libertarian strand of Conservatism. A dislike for traffic signals, guard rails and the segregation of different kinds of streets-users - cyclists, motorists, pedestrians - articulates a wider argument that too much regulation erodes personal responsibility, discourages social negotiation and in seeking to lessen risk ends up increasing it. As the sort of parent who encourages his child to climb trees, I'm quite persuaded by the theory. As the sort of Londoner who doesn't cycle because he's sure he'll end up crushed under an HGV, I'm not.

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