I’ve covered the village idiot before, now we have the village nanny, here being demonstrated by Eldest Son.

All of the pedestrian-only crossings over the Ü-Bahn (Metro) look like this in Ostfildern: a chicane to get to the track, angled crossing, and then another chicane on the other side.

It’s slow and annoying and it causes congestion because you have to wait for oncoming cyclists and pedestrians to clear the entire crossing before you can meander over, and then it keeps you in the danger zone longer. (the pictures don’t do justice to the design. Click here to see the full effect on Google Maps)

I’m told the idea is that you look along the track before you cross to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists, as a tram is a big and heavy thing, and can’t stop easily. Fair enough too. I’ve been around trains enough to know they are dangerous things if you don’t respect them.

So why aren’t the road crossings built the same way?

Meanwhile Cycling is good for you reports that over in Vienna the authorities are taking a similar approach on the congested Danube cycle path: cyclists are getting nannying leaflets telling them to be more careful and drive slowly (which leaves the field open to blame them for anything that happens). When will the motorists of Vienna will be sent similar literature?

On the other hand I was scooped by Karl over at ‘Do the right thing‘ earlier this week: apparently a 60 km section of Autobahn between Duisburg and Dortmund was closed recently and turned into a giant party venue under the slogan ‘Fordert die Straßen zurück!” (Give the streets back).

What an excellent idea. Hopefully our state will take notice.