Friday, November 17, 2017

Wagon Traffic Jams and Stop signs

I was at the Salt & Straw Ice-cream shop in Portland with a group of friends. When we finished with our treat we stepped out to cross the street. Like most folks, we used the crosswalk and lo-and-behold the vehicles stopped to let us pass.

How did the cars know to stop and wait for us to get across?
When were crosswalks invented?

After reading all about The Manure Crisis, I was intrigued and went after the answer.

Phelps was 40 when he made his first move to fix the traffic issues.

Thanks to William Phelps Eno (1858-1945) we crossed in relative safety about a hundred and seventeen years after he made his mark on society. Stop signs and crosswalks are easy and known by all who learn to drive. And they are enforced by the law. But how did they get there? Can you imagine thinking up traffic rules before there was such a thing?

It all began when he was nine years old.

He was out on the town with his mother, when they were caught in a traffic jam comprised of no more than a dozen horses and carriages. He observed that it wasn’t that many vehicles, but no one knew what to do.

Here are a few of the things Phelps began:

Stop sign
Pedestrian cross walk
Traffic circle
One-way streets
Taxi stands
Pedestrian islands

The first stop signs were black and white not red. This one is from 1925

He is know for implementing his plan in New York, London, and Paris.

First roundabout in UK was in Letchworth in 1909

Taxi stands were made for this kind of taxi.

But there was still the obstacle of getting the news out to the public and getting the rules enforced.

No social media back then.

He created his changes with his pen.

Yup. You heard me. His pen.

He wrote an article in 1900 that was published titled, “Reform on Our Streets Traffic Urgently Needed.” Being published in the paper made him an instant expert and authority on the subject and led to the first written transportation policy in 1903.

Interesting fact:
The Father of Traffic Safety never drove a car.

William Phelps Eno never was comfortable with cars. He thought they were a passing fad and stuck to riding horseback. If he did find the need to drive in a car somewhere, he hired a chauffeur. He ended up with a drivers license, but it was an honorary gift not one he earned.

Eno's guidelines were just in time since Henry Ford established Ford Motor Company in 1901.
I wonder what he would think of our super highways and intersections if he could see them now?

I wonder if it would be possible to make such a culture-changing observation these days? Inventions yes… but can you think of something that would universally affect everyone for the better? Gotta love innovators. 

If you've made it this far, I'd like to tell you about something new. I started a podcast. If you are a podcast listener and you need a dose of joy-meets-common sense come on over to Life Caraphrased. 

CaraGrandle is a Historical Romance Novelist who prefers to write about the early settlers of the Pacific Northwest. Think trappers and loggers and scroungy backed woodsmen. She is represented by the Steve Laube Agency. Cara leads the author4TheAuthor writers group on Facebook, home to 190 writers. Together they're pressing back on busy and making a space for their dreams. Cara hosts a Writers Encouragement show weekly on Periscope. The show is on Tuesday mornings at 9:00am PST. Cara's Periscope show includes live, interactive author-interviews with leading Christian fiction novelists, editors, publicist and agents under the handle @CaraGrandle.

Cara is currently out on submission. Follower her journey on her Facebook author page.

Prayers much appreciated. Smile.

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