Friday, March 24, 2017

Road Speed

Ste. Elena, Costa Rica, near Monte Verde
Costa Rican engineers design streets so cars go slow.  No need for speed limits or patrol officers because the streets let you know how fast you can go.   In the center of the town, brick streets make tires rumble, parked cars on both sides narrow the lanes, so getting through requires some delicate navigation.  And people walk in the street as well as on the sidewalk.  Just outside the center paving smooths into asphalt, but the streets are narrow and people often walk along the side of the road, or ride bikes.  Drivers need to be cautious.  'Suave un toque' (easy does it)

Here's the best example that the engineers are designing road speed deliberately:  The steep roads up the mountain slopes are unpaved and rocky, even as they are generally well-maintained.   Go too fast and you get a very rough ride.   Therefore cars tend not to careen off the road into the abyss, even without guard rails, or emergency lanes, or concrete barriers.   Yeah, it's dusty, but no one dies.