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June 2013

The street crossing that ain’t, Marlton, New Jersey.  

kunstler's eyesore of the month May 2013

The street crossing that ain’t, Marlton, New Jersey.

Notice 1) the engineered pedestrian curb treatment complete with textured orange pad for blind people. Notice 2) sign graphically transmitting the message: pedestrians not allowed. Notice, too, the absence of sidewalks despite curb treatments.Well, WTF NJDOT? Finally notice the quality of the enivronment dominated by a clutter of signage and electric power infrastructure crapola. Welcome to Smart Nation.

Thanks to Matthew Lieberger for sending.

About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

10 Responses to “June 2013”

  1. James June 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    One of the things that most contributes to America’s ugliness is its prodigious use of 19th Century ‘wires on wooden poles’ electrical technology. In Europe, even in the smallest towns, electrical infrastructure is underground. When Europeans visit America, they think our country looks like Guatemala or Thailand. We can’t even underground all the wires in NYC!

    We’re doomed…

  2. Bukko Canukko June 10, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    So we ghosts in the machine and trolls get to chime in on all sorts of things in the new Clusterfuckodome? Happy-happy (motoring) joy-joy.

  3. Phillipe June 10, 2013 at 5:40 am #

    As a European I have to say that the American bricolage style of mounting power lines is actually quite picturesque and atmospheric. It looks great in movies and on record sleeves.

    The European underground method is a bit sterile, imho.

  4. Piltdownman June 10, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    I saw one of these installed in my Pittsburgh neighborhood 2-3 years ago. No sidewalk in sight, but a nifty ramp to allow people easier access to being run over in a massively busy intersection. This is what happens when the unintended consequences of some random law can’t be adjusted for “local” conditions.

  5. Dennis R. Lieb June 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    This is far from an excuse but more of a (un?)reasonable explanation for the ramp…most DOT regs. nowadays require these things for all new intersection construction – even where they make no sense at all. I could supply dozens of similar photos from my area.

    I guess the assumption is that in some alternate future where we think for ourselves and have money again, the ramps will be ready and waiting for the new urbanist infill construction and walkable street grid that we install around them…not holding my breath.

    PS: On the ADA ramp program generally. I am a firm believer that all persons have equal right to access the street system, but the ADA ramp spec is designed for the ideal intersection, which only exists in theory.

    My experience is that 99% of the time they make things worse for every user. In my town of Easton, Pa. they have made most of the downtown crosswalks inconvenient if not outright dangerous to use. Most are oriented at 45 degrees to the corner instead of 90% and direct you into the center of the intersection – something I believe is illegal without a waiver (awarded to local public works debts.for being unable to install them to the theoretical standard).

    In places with winter weather they create the additional problem of draining all snow and rain right to the place you most need to keep clear for pedestrians. Bureaucratic, techno-idiocy personified.


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  6. bilejones June 24, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    It’s the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    See here


    A gift from Bush the Elder, still going strong.

  7. Rob June 30, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    When I fly in my dreams, the power lines are always getting in the way. They are a real hazard

  8. Asoka July 1, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    Jim, in my area there are little ‘green zones’ in the roads.
    I hear the Fed Gov pays money for such. And green trucks [that is the trucks painted green] that service the ‘green zones’.
    I didnt have a camera when I saw the truck.

  9. IsaacB July 1, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    I’ve seen this or a similar intersection in southern NJ and and am glad you picked it. It’s so nasty, but unless you have the perspective of a walker, you’d never notice it. There must be thousands like this across the USA. I don’t buy the “ADA” argument. I’d bet that in an earlier era, walkers had a way to cross this intersection, but they’re now blocked “for safety”.

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