The Engineering Manual Everyone but You Seems to Have

It took only one tweet, and the Manual on Uniform Traffic Engineering Excuses practically wrote itself.

“I’m developing a new guide called the ‘Manual on Uniform Traffic Engineer Excuses’ or #MUTEE,” tweeted Boise-based planner Don Kostelec in a moment of genius.

“You get to name the chapters. Go!”

The responses were swift, and hilarious, and like so much humor carried painful truths. Below is a sample.

“I dub Chapter 7,” responded Marc.

Chapter title suggestions came in random order:

  • Appendix 99 – A Listing of All Mandatory Design Features for All Forms of Alternative Transportation [This page intentionally left blank]
  • Chapter 16: Sharrows: How to Apply the Single Ply Toilet Paper for Bike Infrastructure
  • Chapter 13: Two-way Cycle Tracks Mean Highly Complex Intersections; Why You Should Just Use Sharrows Instead
  • Chapter 44: Someday Dark Clothing Will Go Out of Style
  • Introduction: Why the World Is Designed for Peak Hour Car Use and Not 24-Hour Use by Everybody Else
  • Chapter 12: Induced Demand and Widening Projects: Tall Tales, Lies, and Other Falsehoods

And: “I don’t care what the in-between chapters are,” wrote Durham Complete, “as long as the first one is called “It’s Too Early to Consider That” and the last one is called “It’s Too Late to Consider That.”

These are funny, but in a way that starts to hurt after a while. This one, for example, from Skip Pile:

  • Chapter 5: How to Remove a Crosswalk – It’s too dangerous for pedestrians to cross here, wouldn’t want to give them a false sense of security.

This cuts way too close to the truth. Bakersfield, for one, has convinced itself that this is a logical response to pedestrian safety concerns where they wanted to widen and straighten a road “for safety.”

Others so deftly skewer the subject that engineering excuses were left piled up like corpses:

  • How to Blame People Walking or Cycling for Getting Hit by People Driving
  • We Tried That Once
  • Standards and Double Standards: Our How-to Guide for Applying Guidelines
  • How to Prevent Jaywalking
  • We Can’t Force People Out of Their Cars
  • Engineering for “Real” Travel Modes
  • Judging Safety Through a Windshield
  • Equity – How to Talk to 1 Person of Color
  • Public Input – What Does it Mean and Why Do Planners Keep Saying It?

“Why we need a local study,” submitted Corey Burger, and cudak888 added: “And an “environmental study’ to make sure that “the green paint won’t harm native fireants”

  • How Risking Pedestrian Lives Prevents Non-Life-Threatening Fenderbenders
  • Why Adding Another Lane to Maintain Is Fine, But No We Can’t Build a Bike Path Because We Can’t Maintain it Why Do You Ask?
  • The Forever Wait: Why Traffic Signal Software Can’t Allow Walk Cycles When Cross Traffic Has a Red
  • We Don’t Need Pedestrian Facilities Because No One Walks There

You get the idea–and these are just a start. Check out Don Kostelec’s feed on Twitter @kostelecplan.

Follow Streetsblog California on Twitter @StreetsblogCal

9 thoughts on The Engineering Manual Everyone but You Seems to Have

  1. Wow. The narrow-minded stereotyping continues.
    Absolutely disgusting (especially in 2018).

  2. The Transportation/Land Use Conundrum: Building Communities for Cars, not People.

  3. The Transportation/Land Use Conundrum: Building communities for Cars, not People.

  4. Sure, but a rod that’s a good candidate for a separated bikeway really isn’t a good candidate for driveways anyway. Getting rid of them is something that should be done even without a bikeway in.

  5. How about “Despite all our flowery General Plan policies, we can’t do anything for transit because space for other modes can’t be touched.”

  6. Chapter 13 is a valid chapter as Americans continue to be stubbornly unwilling to tackle the driveways on corridors and get rid of them. Even if they were, a pair of one-ways on the appropriate sides of the street would still be better in almost all cases.

Comments are closed.


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