The utopia has already become a reality in Makkinga, in the Dutch province of Western Frisia. A sign by the entrance to the small town (population 1,000) reads “Verkeersbordvrij” — “free of traffic signs.” Cars bumble unhurriedly over precision-trimmed granite cobblestones. Stop signs and direction signs are nowhere to be seen. There are neither parking meters nor stopping restrictions. There aren’t even any lines painted on the streets.
Apparently, it is rules that make us inconsiderate.
“The many rules strip us of the most important thing: the ability to be considerate. We’re losing our capacity for socially responsible behavior,” says Dutch traffic guru Hans Monderman, one of the project’s co-founders. “The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people’s sense of personal responsibility dwindles.”
Does anyone else find this remark ironic, coming from a country which openly allows drug use and prostitution? People opt not to be responsible because of an over abundance of limitations on conduct? I love this quote:
They demand streets like those during the Middle Ages, when horse-drawn chariots, handcarts and people scurried about in a completely unregulated fashion.
The truth is — and I usually try desperately to avoid voicing my political leanings here — but I am generally a fan of deregulation, and a big believer that much of traffic regulation is ridiculous. However, I just have to wonder … do they really think less traffic rules will lead to more polite drivers? Is it really the rules that make us so surly on the roads?
I’ll leave the question open for your comments.