Shepperds Dell Bridge, Columbia River Highway, circa 1920
 


                                         To download the conference announcement post card, CLICK HERE >>

Preserving the Historic Road 2014
Savannah, Georgia September 26-28, 2014

Savannah, Georgia, ďThe Hostess City of the South,Ē is the location of our ninth biennial conference. Laid out in 1733, the public squares, canopied by live oaks and Spanish moss, are a leisurely stroll from the conference hotel. Beyond Savannah, American Indian roads transformed into colonial trade routes, such as the Kingís Road, and were later used during the Revolutionary and Civil wars. These same roads evolved into the highways of the modern era, providing the lifeline between growing industries and the bustling port of Savannah, and enticed travelers to southern vacationlands via the Dixie Highway and the Atlantic Coastal Highway (US 17). So, journey on down with your fellow road enthusiasts and enjoy some fine southern hospitality.

We welcome The National Scenic Byways Foundation as a partner for the 2014 Preserving the Historic Road conference in Savannah. The planning committee is excited by the opportunity to expand learning opportunities for all our attendees through papers addressing byway topics.

Conference Hotel: Embassy Suites Savannah
Call for Papers: If you are interested in presenting a paper at Preserving the Historic Road 2014, abstracts are now being accepted. The deadline for paper abstracts is January 31, 2014. For more information and details on submitting an abstract CLICK HERE >>


 


                                         To download the conference announcement post card, CLICK HERE >>

Preserving the Historic Road 2012
Indianapolis, Indiana, September 20-23, 2012

To view the 2012 CONFERENCE PROGRAM CLICK HERE >>

CONFERENCE SPONSORS
We gratefully acknowledge the following organizations for sponsoring Preserving the Historic Road 2012. We invite you to visit our sponsorís websites to learn more about their work with historic preservation and transportation policy.

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
Ball State University
Indiana Department of Transportation
Indiana Landmarks
Indiana National Road Association
Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.
Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission
IndyGo
Lincoln Highway Association
Mead & Hunt, Inc.
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful
National Park Service
Paul Daniel Marriott + Associates
SRI Foundation
University of Southern Indiana


 


                                         To download the conference announcement post card, CLICK HERE >>

Preserving the Historic Road 2010
Washington DC, September 9-12, 2010

To view the 2010 CONFERENCE PROGRAM CLICK HERE >>

CONFERENCE SPONSORS
We gratefully acknowledge the following organizations for sponsoring Preserving the Historic Road 2010. We invite you to visit our sponsorís websites to learn more about their work with historic preservation and transportation policy.

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
National Park Service
       Historic American Engineering Record
Federal Highway Administration
       Environment and Historic Preservation
US International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS)
America's Byways Resource Center
District DOT
DC Historic Preservation Office
DC Preservation League
Loudoun County (Virginia) Department of Planning
The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Montgomery County (Maryland) Government
SRI Foundation
Paul Daniel Marriott & Associates

Event Sponsors
AECOM
Parsons Brinckerhoff
Mead & Hunt
National Road Alliance
American Road Magazine



                                         To download the conference announcement post card, CLICK HERE >>

Preserving the Historic Road 2008
Albuquerque, New Mexico, September 11-14, 2008


To view the CONFERENCE PROGRAM CLICK HERE >>

THE CONFERENCE
Preserving the Historic Road conference began in 1998 with the idea of bringing together transportation professionals and historic preservationists to discuss the plight of the nation's historic roads. Since that first gathering in Los Angeles, a biennial conference has grown showcasing issues of identification, preservation and management for historic roads in the United States and internationally. The four-day conference is structured around educational sessions, general sessions and field tours to historic roads' sites. Conference sessions address issues of highway engineering and technology for historic roads, highway safety, historic preservation strategies, roadside history, and highway policy and management. A popular feature of the conference is the "Friday Movie Night" where vintage highway construction and training films are screened. The conference is designed to facilitate dialogue and debate among attendees, and generous opportunities are provided for conversation and information sharing.

CONFERENCE SPONSORS
We gratefully acknowledge the following organizations for sponsoring Preserving the Historic Road 2008. We invite you to visit our sponsorís websites to learn more about their work with historic preservation and transportation policy.

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
National Park Service
       Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program
       Historic American Engineering Record
Federal Highway Administration
       Environment and Historic Preservation
       Federal Lands Highway Division
USDA Forest Service
US International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS)
America's Byways Resource Center
New Mexico Department of Transportation
New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, Historic Preservation Division
New Mexico Tourism Department
Society for Commercial Archaeology
SRI Foundation
Paul Daniel Marriott & Associates

Event Sponsors
Parsons Brinckerhoff
Mead & Hunt
American Road Magazine
SWCA

 

 

Controlled Chaos - European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs
By Matthias Shulz

Are streets without traffic signs conceivable? Seven cities and regions in Europe are giving it a try -- with good results.

Drachten in the Netherlands has gotten rid of 16 of its traffic light crossings and converted the other two to roundabouts. "We reject every form of legislation," the Russian aristocrat and "father of anarchism" Mikhail Bakunin once thundered. The czar banished him to Siberia. But now it seems his ideas are being rediscovered.

European traffic planners are dreaming of streets free of rules and directives. They want drivers and pedestrians to interact in a free and humane way, as brethren -- by means of friendly gestures, nods of the head and eye contact, without the harassment of prohibitions, restrictions and warning signs.

A project implemented by the European Union is currently seeing seven cities and regions clear-cutting heir forest of traffic signs. Ejby, in Denmark, is participating in the experiment, as are Ipswich in England and the Belgian town of Ostende.

The utopia has already become a reality in Makkinga, in the Dutch province of Western Frisia. A sign by the entrance to the small town (population 1,000) reads "Verkeersbordvrij" -- "free of traffic signs." Cars bumble unhurriedly over precision-trimmed granite cobblestones. Stop signs and direction signs are nowhere to be seen. There are neither parking meters nor stopping restrictions. There aren't even any lines painted on the streets.

"The many rules strip us of the most important thing: the ability to be considerate. We're losing our capacity for socially responsible behavior," says Dutch traffic guru Hans Monderman, one of the project's co-founders. "The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people's sense of personal responsibility dwindles."

Monderman could be on to something. Germany has 648 valid traffic symbols. The inner cities are crowded with a colorful thicket of metal signs. Don't park over here, watch out for passing deer over there, make sure you don't skid. The forest of signs is growing ever denser. Some 20 million traffic signs have already been set up all over the country. Psychologists have long revealed the senselessness of such exaggerated regulation. About 70 percent of traffic signs are ignored by drivers. What's more, the glut of prohibitions is tantamount to treating the driver like a child and it also foments resentment. He may stop in front of the crosswalk, but that only makes him feel justified in preventing pedestrians from crossing the street on every other occasion. Every traffic light baits him with the promise of making it over the crossing while the light is still yellow.

"Unsafe is safe"

The result is that drivers find themselves enclosed by a corset of prescriptions, so that they develop a kind of tunnel vision: They're constantly in search of their own advantage, and their good manners go out the window.

The new traffic model's advocates believe the only way out of this vicious circle is to give drivers more liberty and encourage them to take responsibility for themselves. They demand streets like those during the Middle Ages, when horse-drawn chariots, handcarts and people scurried about in a completely unregulated fashion. The new model's proponents envision today's drivers and pedestrians blending into a colorful and peaceful traffic stream.

It may sound like chaos, but it's only the lesson drawn from one of the insights of traffic psychology: Drivers will force the accelerator down ruthlessly only in situations where everything has been fully regulated. Where the situation is unclear, they're forced to drive more carefully and cautiously.

Indeed, "Unsafe is safe" was the motto of a conference where proponents of the new roadside philosophy met in Frankfurt in mid-October.

True, many of them aren't convinced of the new approach. "German drivers are used to rules," says Michael Schreckenberg of Duisburg University. If clear directives are abandoned, domestic rush-hour traffic will turn into an Oriental-style bazaar, he warns. He believes the new vision of drivers and pedestrians interacting in a cozy, relaxed way will work, at best, only for small towns.

But one German borough is already daring to take the step into lawlessness. The town of Bohmte in Lower Saxony has 13,500 inhabitants. It's traversed by a country road and a main road. Cars approach speedily, delivery trucks stop to unload their cargo and pedestrians scurry by on elevated sidewalks.

The road will be re-furbished in early 2007, using EU funds. "The sidewalks are going to go, and the asphalt too. Everything will be covered in cobblestones," Klaus Goedejohann, the mayor, explains. "We're getting rid of the division between cars and pedestrians."

The plans derive inspiration and motivation from a large-scale experiment in the town of Drachten in the Netherlands, which has 45,000 inhabitants. There, cars have already been driving over red natural stone for years. Cyclists dutifully raise their arm when they want to make a turn, and drivers communicate by hand signs, nods and waving.

"More than half of our signs have already been scrapped," says traffic planner Koop Kerkstra. "Only two out of our original 18 traffic light crossings are left, and we've converted them to roundabouts." Now traffic is regulated by only two rules in Drachten: "Yield to the right" and "Get in someone's way and you'll be towed." Strange as it may seem, the number of accidents has declined dramatically. Experts from Argentina and the United States have visited Drachten. Even London has expressed an interest in this new example of automobile anarchy. And the model is being tested in the British capital's Kensington neighborhood.

Information Sought on Preserving Historic Street Name Signs

The Brookline Massachusetts Preservation Commission is seeking information from any localities that have historic street name signs of any type that have been in use for 50 years or more, and that may be at risk of being replaced due to pressures to conform to the guidelines for reflectivity, letter height, etc. in the MUTCD (Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices). Brookline's signs are cast aluminum and date to before WWII. The Commission would be interested in learning about any and all such historic street name signs that are still in use with the idea of sharing strategies for retaining them in the face of the MUTCD. If you have any ideas or examples, please contact:

Dennis J. De Witt
Brookline, Massachusetts Preservation Commission
DJDEWITT@RCN.COM
phone 617-566-3196
cell 617-620-9776
fax 617-566-3196

New Historic Roads Book

America's Park Roads and Parkways: Drawings from the Historic American Engineering Record is the latest publication showcasing the design and engineering of historic roads in the United States. CLICK HERE >>

Historic Road Magazine Wins Honor

AMERICAN ROAD was recently named in the Top New Magazines by Dr. Samir Husni—as seen in “USA Today.” This quarterly publication focuses the spotlight on our nation's back roads. It is the only national magazine dedicated to historic roads and serves a valuable tool for convincing the public of the value of allocating resources to preserve our historic road networks.

AMERICAN ROAD’S Executive Editor, Thomas Repp, is very passionate about preservation of America’s highways and the landmarks that many of us recall from our youth. Repp spoke at the Preserving the Historic Road in America Conference in 2004 sending a message that preservation starts with people. “To motivate people,” Repp stated, “we must tell the tales of the people that built the roads and the roadside establishments. Our two-lane roads were built by people, they are not just pavement. They are a part of our American heritage and must not be lost.”

Repp practices what he preaches. If you pick up a copy of AMERICAN ROAD, you will find that it brings you stories of life on the road—the highway history, landmarks, roadside attractions, scenic drives, and the people that we meet along the way. AMERICAN ROAD visits the mom-and-pop cafes in neon-lit small towns that make each journey worthwhile and brings them all to you with vibrant tales and colorful photography. CLICK HERE >>

Rakeman Paintings

View the transportation paintings of Bureau of Public Roads Artist Carl Rakeman. CLICK HERE >>

Reclaiming New York’s Henry Hudson Parkway

The Henry Hudson Parkway, was constructed from 1932-36 with federal money for park improvements under the centralized parkway authority headed by Robert Moses. It introduced a distinctly urban form of the American parkway. Its landscape was conceived as more than a scenic backdrop for motorists entering Manhattan; it was a grand linear park system which would showcase the city’s residents at play as well as its skyline and monuments.

The Henry Hudson Parkway in Riverside ParkAt its best, the parkway was a seamless and intimate integration of park and roadway. In this Manhattan section, Robert Moses extended the park and the vision of Frederick Law Olmsted by covering a rail line with a terraced esplanade that lead to beautiful tunnels like this one giving New Yorkers their first true waterfront access. Today the corridor is undergoing an resurgence, with a greenway, recreation, economic development, and environmental conservation. The new challenge is now restoration and rehabilitation of the parkway itself.

An initiative by volunteers to designate the Henry Hudson Parkway a Scenic Byway, the first in New York City, will insure that the parkway complements instead of sabotages future planning for the corridor, including the waterfront. This year the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (a regional planning agency administering federal transportation funds) approved funding for the first corridor management plan for a New York City parkway, and will oversee the unprecedented collaboration of some 20 different city and state agencies in its development.

Parkway overpass in the Bronx, before Parkway overpass in the Bronx after clean-up by Henry Hudson Parkway volunteersMeanwhile, volunteers continue to rescue the parkway one piece of blight at a time. Here, one of the many parkway overpasses in the Bronx was transformed by volunteers and the New York City Parks Department into a block-long green-street. The natural area alongside the highway is being turned into a woodland trail and part of the city’s greenway system."

Next volunteers are set to tackle the path under the parkway near the George Washington Bridge, one of the few places in northern Manhattan to access the waterfront and greenway. With no agency claiming responsibility for maintenance (a crucial problem of the city’s parkways to be addressed by the CMP), the once-magnificent stairs and walkway has become a deterrent to residents’ enjoyment of their great new waterfront. Look for daffodils and creative solutions to the challenge of designing a space like this.

For more information about the Henry Hudson Parkway Scenic Byway initiative, see the website (http://www.henryhudsonparkway.org)
or email at info@henryhudsonparkway.org

Text prepared by Hilary Kitasei, Henry Hudson Parkway Task Force, chair Edits for historicroads.org by Dan Marriott.

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