Friday, September 11, 2009

The delayed green

Went to see Tom Vanderbilt speak at the Harvard book store in support of the paperback release of Traffic the other night.

You could tell it was a transpo crowd, as the bike racks outside were packed, and about half the folks there had bike helmets.  Maybe surprisingly I only saw one person in lycra shorts.

Although there was one cranky guy (not wearing lycra, so I don't know what his problem was) , in general it was a supportive and interesting audience, and I had a great conversation with a couple of folks outside after the talk.  If I hadn't known The Scientist was waiting at home (and very pleasant surprise, cleaning the kitchen)  I would have encouraged everyone to go out for a drink  instead of taking up sidewalk space.

Anyway,  I think one person introduced Tom to a what I think is a uniquely Massachusetts invention, "the delayed green" that seemed to baffle him.  In case you don't know it,  it's when one side gets a green light, but the other side has red, or "delayed green"  It gives the people on the green side a protected left, with the interesting complication that they have no way of knowing when that  left will no longer be protected until cars start speeding toward them!  Just a little more uncertainty out on the roads!

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