#45 – How city planners teach Babel drivers.

In training pets about doing their business outside, there is a technique known as newspaper training. It may not be the one you are thinking of. The method in mind is the one where you roll up the entire metro edition of the newspaper and swat the dog with it when the poor creature has made an error. I, of course, am apalled by such treatment of man’s best friend but it came to mind watching how Babel’s city planners teach Babel drivers to use the correct roads.

Admittedly, Babel drivers, as a group, are not the world’s best drivers. While, hopefully, there are some quite competent drivers among their numbers, there is not much hope for most. They desperately need remedial training.

Babel’s city planners teach with a version of rote learning. As opposed to the endless debates of the Socratic method, rote learning does not care if you understand why you should do something but forces you into a pattern acceptable to those creating the lesson. The secret to the success of the method is that you are forced into the pattern one step at a time and, in the end, you are trained.

In this manner, Babel drivers are learning that using the Lakeshore to go downtown gets you the rolled up newspaper treatment. Using Bradford to drive downtown is the city planners’ plan. Bradford, is a mainly unused, four-lane road, between used car dealer lots that leads the driver from the confusion of the Bradford – Essa – Lakeshore – Tiffin intersection to a traffic jam at Dunlop or direct to Hooters across Simcoe Street.

This small commentary on city planners (or lack thereof in Babel) is not intended to bore non-Babelite readers but to provide a cautionary forewarning of the dangers of giving city planners any leeway. Use rolled up newspapers on them if necessary!

Babel’s city planners are now in the process of gradually redirecting Lakeshore traffic. This is a slow and painstaking process. One road is opened at a time. Plan one is in effect in that downtown-bound drivers now turn left from the Lakeshore to go to Bradford. Alternatively, they can, very slowly, make a hard right to go around a curve back onto Lakeshore. The opening of this new and modern highway system on the bay has been the cause of the biggest traffic jams in Babel’s history. They will get worse as the locals find out where the different roads will take them.

The only other comment on this matter is that we should advise all tourists to stay away from the Bradford – Essa – Lakeshore – Tiffin intersection. It may not be working the way the Babel city planners hoped. Unless, of course, they planned the intersection to demonstrate the equipment carried on the city’s emergency vehicles. The paramedics, firemen and police seem to spend an inordinate amount of time there blocking traffic.

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Enquiries about safe driving in Babel can be directed to peter@lowry.me

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