What do we need to remove?

I really like this story from Holland (which I know has attracted some interest on whether it might work in the UK)
Traffic engineer Hans Monderman’s pilot road design scheme in
Friesland, northern Holland, may be radical – no signs or markings,
and no divisions between road and pavement.
But the success of the scheme has now prompted an EU-funded study
in Spain, Denmark, Austria, Sweden and Britain. To make communities
safer, Monderman argues, we must remove ‘traffic lights and signs
exhorting drivers to stop, slow down and merge, centre lines separating
lanes, even speed bumps, speed-limit signs, bicycle lanes and
pedestrian crossings…it is only when the road is made more dangerous,
when drivers stop looking at signs and start looking at other people,
that driving becomes safer…’
Monderman’s experiment in ‘shared space’ evolved from conventional
traffic-calming schemes. When, in a small village whose residents
suffered 6,000 speeding cars a day, he took away all signs, lights and sidewalks, ‘within two weeks, speeds on the road had dropped by more than half…’ In fact, he says, there has never been a fatal accident on any of his roads.

But, I hear you ask, What’s that got to do with Youth Ministry?
Well the reason it got me thinking was that I was involved with a really fun training evening at Wokingham last night. As part of that evening we were talking about the need to invest time in building relationships with young people, that this was absolutely foundational. I’m aware that it could be received as,
“Oh No, more stuff we need to do, HELP!”
But it’s this quote from the above road engineer that really struck me,
‘The trouble with traffic engineers is that when there’s a problem with a road, they always try to add something’ Monderman says. ‘To my mind, it’s much better to remove things…’
It maybe that the question is not, “What do we need to add?” but what in our programme driven approach needs to be removed?

2 Replies to “What do we need to remove?”

  1. “It maybe that the question is not, “What do we need to add?” but what in our programme driven approach needs to be removed?”
    Absolutely! And encouraging churches that they do not need to do stuff or add programmes because everyone else is.

  2. A real encouraging post. So much pressure is placed on the youth work to do more (to accomodate parents expectations usually!!)when reality is that “more” is not always best. Please keep posting this one every month until we all get the message!!!

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