Learning to Love Your Traffic Engineer – What the Public Wants

Wednesday, November 13 by JerryFoster

It’s hard to learn to love our traffic engineers – they don’t see the same world we do, and don’t want to talk about it. Why not? Have you been to a public meeting?

The public has issues – many residents have not learned to disengage knee-jerk thinking, do their homework or propose constructive suggestions. Some are hostile to any government action, including road projects.

We choose to live in West Windsor because of the promise of safety, good schools, open space and convenient train commuting. We love our cars, but don’t want traffic in our neighborhoods.

Charles Marohn, an engineer and planner, identifies the different values of residents and engineers. In order, residents prioritize safety, low cost, traffic volume and speed, while engineers prioritize speed, volume, safety and cost.

Value divergence shows in the effort to improve walking and biking along Cranbury Road. Despite WWBPA recommendations, residents’ public comments and numerous yard signs asking motorists to Drive 25, traffic calming was rejected as a project goal.

We’re determined to learn to love our engineers, so in our next installment we’ll focus on the most divergent values – speed and volume.

 

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