A few nice how to increase traffic images I found:
Trouble in Chinatown–from economist.com
Trouble in Chinatown
Dec 12th 2005
From The Economist Global Agenda
After a violent protest about land confiscation, followed by a police crackdown that left several people dead, authorities in China have arrested the military officer responsible. What may be the worst shooting of protesters since Tiananmen Square in 1989 has made China’s government uneasy
IT IS hard to know what is most remarkable: the protest, the crackdown or the government response. A demonstration in a coastal settlement in a relatively rich province of southern China last week turned violent. Residents in Dongzhou took up spears, knives, pipe-bombs, petrol bombs and sticks of dynamite, first threatening to blow up a local power generation plant and then defying paramilitary police sent to impose order. The police, in gathering darkness and “in alarm”, responded by shooting dead at least three protesters and wounding several others. Witnesses spoke of sustained volleys of gunfire by black-clad riot police and other men in camouflage. Some described “very rapid bursts of gunfire” over several hours on successive nights last week.
Reports gathered by journalists who phoned villagers suggest that, in fact, many more were killed, perhaps 20 (one report said 50), including bystanders. Several of those injured are said to be hiding, fearing arrest if they venture to hospital. Amnesty International, a human-rights group, says this is the first time demonstrators in China have been killed by police fire since 1989, when pro-democracy protests were held in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Though protests are increasingly common in China, the violence in Dongzhou was uncommon.
Rarer still was the reaction of the authorities. Rather than deny the police crackdown—though efforts were made to downplay it—the government of Guangdong province at the weekend criticised the “wrong actions” of the commander of the paramilitary forces responsible for the deaths. Civilian officials then detained him, an extraordinary response which suggests high-level concern that the incident was badly mishandled. China last year saw 74,000 cases of mass protest, up from 10,000 a decade earlier, say police. But protesters are usually dispersed with truncheons and tear gas, not live bullets. In Dongzhou, some police were said to be carrying AK-47 assault rifles.
Several days after the trouble supposedly ended, some 300 police continued to block off Dongzhou. They carried shields and batons and ordered residents to stay indoors. There is every reason to expect more uprisings as China’s economy continues to boom. The farmers and fishermen who took part in the protest last week are not China’s poorest or most desperate. Many of the homes in their settlement, which is near the city of Shanwei, are modern and in good condition; some are three storeys high. But locals are enraged that land was confiscated for use in a 0m development project to supply electricity to Shanwei, and little compensation was offered.
This suggests ordinary Chinese are increasingly aware of their property rights and willing to defy authorities to protect them. Officials admit that social unrest is likely to increase as the wealth of the population rises from desperately poor to moderately poor. (In 2003, GDP per person passed the ,000 mark.) In less prosperous parts of the country where development is picking up, such as the far west, rumblings of discontent are growing.
Don’t build a wall
How China’s government handles such protests is now a burning question. Even if serious, state-threatening instability is unlikely, angry demonstrations make Communist rulers twitchy. Hardliners believe in tough measures, such as banning internet material that incites “illegal demonstrations” and deploying newly trained anti-riot and counter-terrorist units. These last two have been combined into a new “special police” force that is supposed to tackle any demonstration that turns “highly confrontational”. But if the ham-fisted performance at Dongzhou is a sign of it in action, there is reason to look for other responses. As for stopping information spreading on the internet, it seems that most reporting on the latest uprising was done by old-fashioned telephone.
Sometimes protests are sparked almost at random. In June, thousands of people rioted in the town of Chizhou, in the eastern province of Anhui, after an altercation between a wealthy businessman and a cyclist over a minor traffic accident. But where—as is more common—the root problem is access to land, officials could do more to respond to the grievances themselves, for example by ensuring that property rights are better respected. Tackling corruption would help too. Too often, compensation offered for confiscated land is pocketed by venal officials. One resident interviewed in a village near Dongzhou this week typically complained that “officials are taking the land and we don’t get paid enough in return.”
There are some signs that the government will not rely merely on repressive measures. The weekend arrest of the military officer responsible in Dongzhou was surprising and welcome. That suggests the highest authorities in the country, perhaps even President Hu Jintao, who sits atop the China’s civilian, military and Communist party structures, have become involved and disapprove of the police violence. That journalists have been able to put together a picture of what happened in Dongzhou also reflects a limited freedom that did not exist a decade ago, as do graffiti on walls in Beijing demanding “We want human rights." With many more protests to come, the calls for rights are sure to grow louder.
amsterdam street redesign
I took this to try to illustrate the older and newer approach to street design in Amsterdam, though I’m afraid it wasn’t as clear as I wanted it to be.
The part in the background is the older design, with bollards separating the sidewalk area from the street itself. Of course, this being Amsterdam, cars still go pretty slow in the street part, and bikes are welcome. What they discovered, though, is that even separating out the street from the sidewalk this much sends the message that the street is a thoroughfare for cars, and thus creates a street environment that is not as safe for people who are walking and biking.
In the last few years, there’s been an increasing movement in Amsterdam and in Holland to differentiate between "traffic streets" and "neighborhood streets." Traffic streets are major streets (the equivalent is an arterial street), and car traffic is prioritized there (though extraordinary efforts are made to create safe and comfortable parallel routes for bikes).
As soon as you enter a neighborhood street, though, you should instantly know and understand that you’re in a place where you should expect to see and be welcoming towards local foot and bike traffic. This is an example of a neighborhood street, and the cobblestone texture and narrow width are two of the visual cues that should tell drivers to slow down and be attentive. The speed limit on streets like this is 30 km/h (18 MPH), and that speed limit should be determined by design–that is, it should be actively uncomfortable to drive above that speed on the street. The raised crosswalk at the front of the picture is another one of those clues.
The foreground of the picture is the newer design, that eliminates the bollards and encourages all modes to mix more naturally. You’d think this might increase danger, but because car traffic is moving slower (and because drivers are much more attentive and civil than in the states), mixing everyone together actually slows car traffic further and makes bikes and peds more comfortable. I wish I had a picture of just the new design, as you’d see how welcoming it is. It’s really like a big sidewalk that cars may carefully go through as guests.
In addition, though you don’t really see it in this picture, in many streets the bollards are three feet deep in parked bicycles, and in many cases the sidewalk area is narrower to begin with. This means that the effective sidewalk area is really very narrow. The redesign changes that as well, though it has to (and in this case is) paired with increased bike rack installation so that those bikes will have somewhere to park.