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And you thought rotary traffic was bad...

"one way" pedestrian sign on bench at Jamaica Pond

The City has decided that having pedestrian traffic move in only one direction (clockwise) around Jamaica Pond will reduce crowding and therefore reduce the chances of COVID-19 spread. So the City designed, printed, and posted signs indicating that the path is one way:

  1. At none of the entrances to the park are there signs directing you to turn left and walk clockwise around the pond.
  2. Pedestrians traveling counterclockwise will at no point will encounter a sign telling them they are going the wrong way.
  3. Pedestrians traveling clockwise will frequently encounter the pictured sign confirming that they are going in the right direction.

As you might expect, about half the pedestrians are walking clockwise and about half counterclockwise. The latter, of course, not because they are deliberately ignoring the "one way" rule, but because there no signs positioned to tell them which way to go.

This may be a small thing, but as a taxpayer this utter waste of money offends me. The problem isn't a lack of resources, nor a lack of staff. The problem is that someone actively chose not to think about how people arrive at the park, which way they are facing as they walk, and therefore where directional signs might be posted.

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Is this still a thing?

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Voting closed 22

It was as of this afternoon

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Voting closed 13

Really, nine months into this and the City of Boston is spending taxpayer monies on printing these useless signs. Covid-19 doesn't know or care what direction your walking or running in. Covid isn't directional. Gov. Baker and the nit-wits at the DCR tried the one way directional signs around the lagoon area in South Boston. Sorry it didn't work. Don't tell people they have to walk one way. You have no idea where they started walking and in what direction they are coming from. People did not pay any attention to the signs. But Charlie Baker and the DCR kept them up.

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Voting closed 22

In theory, if everyone is walking the same way, you won't pass many people, so if you could spread Covid in the second you pass someone, this would make sense. However, it doesn't make sense as you won't spread Covid by walking past someone for a second in a park.

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Voting closed 18

If you walk at the same pace as someone else, you could be next to them for a very long time, increasing your exposure chances. Can work both ways.

Besides, the one direction rule only makes sense (from your point of view) if you are doing laps. if I'm only walking a short distance from A to B I'm not going to go the long way around the whole pond.

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Voting closed 10

The pandemic is worse than it was in Spring. Yes it is still a thing.

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Voting closed 15

Heck, last week I was mocking the guy who runs this website for referring to masks as "placebos" in the headline of an article he posted 11 months ago, but I also noted that perhaps people thought they were right then based on the information present, yet their views did not age well.

To bring this full circle, back in March, we got the amazing combination of information that walking by someone could expose us or them to the coronavirus yet we should not wear masks. Since then, there has been some questioning of how strong the viral load is when walking by someone outdoors who has the virus, coupled with the amazingly controversial idea that wearing a facial covering could help spread from occurring in such situations.

Therefore, I ask this question. How is the idea that people, who are hopefully wearing masks while in such situations, need to walk in a single direction still a thing? I haven't been to Jamaica Pond since March 17, so I don't have a dog in the fight, but applying March's logic to December seems silly.

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Voting closed 16

Most of the supermarkets have pretty good One Way/Do Not Enter signs on the aisles (far better than several months back) but they’re still being largely ignored.

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Voting closed 17

Your half and half fails my eye test. Yesterday, at least, I saw no more than one in ten going contra-flow. And nobody gave a shit about it. Anyways, it's kind of nice having an orderly scene at the pond. The tax payer money you are harping about was spent long ago and if they didn't print some signs and get off their asses to post them, you'd have just been paying them to watch YouTube videos in their office.

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Voting closed 12

My point was: If you're going to print signs, stop and think about what they say and where to post them. Post signs as you enter the park directing you in the desired direction. Post signs facing the "wrong" way that say "you're going the wrong way."

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Voting closed 23

Is Jamaica Pond really that crowded, that one-way walking would make sense? I mean, everyone is outside in the open air, and they are not standing still. And, they are masked (they are, aren't they??) So why did anyone think this was even necessary?

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Voting closed 19

It only works if everyone is walking at the exact same speed, keep a good distance apart and no one passes anyone else. How many people are going to walk at the same speed as the slowest walker around the pond?

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Voting closed 21

<100% compliance isn’t a good reason not to do something. mitigation is a worthy cause.

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Voting closed 17

Even with different speeds, there's going to be less passing then if half are going one way and half are going the other.
Of course, it's a completely different story as to if passing people in a park is how Covid is spread.

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Voting closed 13

for longer periods of time. If two people are going the same direction and the first person is walking at a moderate pace and the second person is walking slightly faster, the second person will spend more time within 6 feet of the first person than if they were going in opposite directions.

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Voting closed 10

Want to reduce crowds at the pond? Close Parkman Drive again to cars so people can enjoy it and space out.

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Voting closed 88

I think about this every single time I visit the pond.

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Voting closed 15

That is a complete waste of resources and effort. Closing Parkman did nothing but create terrible traffic jams and was hardly used. Just follow the direction rule at pond (clockwise) and there will be no problem.

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Voting closed 12

YOU hardly used it. I was there every other day, it was a fantastic extension of the jway path, good kid safe biking. DCR road closures this summer made those places destinations.

The traffic jams are gonna be horrible no matter what, but here you are crying about the one measly redundant patch of asphalt you couldn't drive your car over for a couple of months... It's a tragedy that our parkways have been turned into highways.

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Voting closed 14

You are limited in your knowledge about the side effects of the closed major roadway and I am not about to illustrate those issues for you. You obviously have a bias but if you open your mind you can research and educate yourself as to why it was set by the city to be only a "temporary" closure. We don't need any "extension bike path" to the detriment of the neighborhood. It was temporary for that reason. Your bikes have plenty of places to go and no one is "crying".

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Voting closed 15

Parkman is a major roadway that carries the excessive traffic to Boston, Brookline, and the nearby neighborhoods. There was also a major renovation done to Parkman to the tune of approximately 5 million dollars of taxpayer money just a few years ago to implement new pedestrian crossings and streetlights to assist in better and safer access to the pond by bikes and people.
The thing you are missing is the impact the closure of Parkman had to the neighboring streets and residents living on them. It created backed up traffic on several residential streets creating safety issues for the residents as well as impacting quality of life. It also forced heavy traffic to be detoured through other parts of the residential neighborhood.
It is a fun idea to have roads in the city of Boston again for promenades and bike travel, but we are at least fortunate the city allows such wonderful accommodations now and is constantly improving them for travel by modes other than registered vehicles on the roads. We live in a vital part of the city with major hospitals, health care facilities, and thousands of new condo residences with employees, families with children, and lots of cars. All this did not exist in the 1800s when horse and buggy were the only means of travel and we could leisurely go up and down the parkways to enjoy the “country” as many of the travelers were from the “inner city” of Back Bay.

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Voting closed 14

How many Covid cases have been traced to people wearing masks walking in any direction around the pond?

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Voting closed 28

How are people who can't or don't want to go all the way around supposed to go for a walk at the pond any more?

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There is literally no scientific evidence whatsoever to support this on so many levels and it distracts from the actual sources of transmission.

There's no evidence to support that outdoor transmission happens between people walking, running, or cycling past each other.

There's no evidence to support that even if there WERE transmission (which there isn't), that having everyone go the same direction would lower transmission rates. Think about it: you just doubled the number of people headed in one direction, and you now spend MORE time close to them.

This is just March's "wash your hands!"...something for people to feel like they're "doing something" about and I absolutely despise the city councilor who has been pushing this.

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Voting closed 32

Back in the early days of this pandemic, the DCR did this in a number of their properties. I remember the signs and electronic billboards around the Pleasure Bay/Castle Island loop.
It directed everyone in a counter-clockwise direction. I agree we need to keep our distance from one another, we should be wearing a mask and take other necessary measures as needed. But have we really become this helpless?

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And this is a thing.

It's to COVID what the Cambridge gas warning stickers are to climate change.

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Voting closed 32

This is a probabalistic solution to reduce the number of contacts.

If everyone is walking in the same direction, interactions are reduced. Instead of people walking in both directions passing each other, you get people with similar pacing never coming in contact.

You can set up a very simple simulation in excel or google sheets to model it if you want.

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Voting closed 15

Sure.

We fundamentally disagree. You suggest anything which could theoretically prevent an exposure should be done. I think that it's not worth focusing on the margins when the likelihood is already minimal.

My argument is based on human nature. It's hard to get people to follow best practices so instead of bombarding them with advisories and restrictions which are not equally meaningful, instead focus on the highest risk situations in hopes of best return for the effort. Hammering down on people not gathering indoors will prevent more deaths than plastering restrictions everywhere to the point where people get overwhelmed or annoyed and stop following all guidelines entirely.

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Voting closed 22

I was very skeptical of the usual (but poorly documented) foamite transmission suppositions from the get go. Our respiratory systems don't inflow virus from outflowing orifices like eyes. So I wasn't quarantining my groceries or maintaining cDiff friendly levels of lysol use in my household.

The real issue here is that we not only do not have fully nailed down transmission parameters for every possible temperature, humidity level and airflow situtation, but that we now have strains of virus with wildly varying transmissability parameters.

Using multiple layers of protective behaviors may seem like overkill, but you have to know what kill is before you can even begin to call something overkill.

One way travel provides what is called a "margin of safety". Wearing a bike helmet provides a margin of safety. Driving with following distances calibrated for speed, weather, and road conditions gives you a margin of safety. Letting people know where you are putting your boat in and when you expect to be home provides a margin of safety, as does installing smoke detectors.

Wearing a mask and reducing the number of interpersonal contacts and giving space each add to a margin of safety. Like so:

IMAGE(https://images.glaciermedia.ca/polopoly_fs/1.24233836.1604600767!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_804/powell-river-physicians.jpg)

Remember: scientific reality is not always intuitive or perceptually "meaningful" either. Like the earth and other planets travelling around the sun,

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Voting closed 18

I've done my share of modeling and simulation. A lot of extremely counterintuitive results emerge when you actually build and run the models.

People moving in opposite directions pass quickly. People moving at nearly but not exactly the same speed, moving in the same direction, spend quite a while in close proximity.

Given that contagion is some function of proximity and duration, it's not at all obvious to me whether a given number of walkers, each moving at a random speed distributed normally around some median, experiences higher risk if they're all going in the same direction or if they're evenly divided between the two directions.

I suspect the answer is exquisitely sensitive to the number of walkers and the shape of the speed distribution curve, and that under some conditions one-way is the win, and under other conditions two-way is the win. So then you'd need to figure out which set of conditions is more prevalent.

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Voting closed 21

They function on what can be calculated, versus what really happens.

I didn't say it made sense in practice, necessarily - but it does have some solid theory behind it.

Enforcing mask rules is probably the better bet for containment. The problem with thinking "it can't spread outside" is a virus that says "hold my beer". In other words, we haven't nailed down all the transmission parameters, so a certain degree of overkill is certainly in order.

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Voting closed 14

Obviously, you did not run this simulation. While the number of interactions will be reduced when people walk in the same direction, the time spent near the people you pass will not. I walk this loop often and people walk at different speeds, and I frequently pass (and I am occasionally passed) by other walkers/runners. When we are all traveling in the same direction, the time spent near any person is relatively long. Whereas when walking in the opposite direction, it is fleeting.

That being said, it probably is meaningless in either case as outdoor, short contact transmission is very rare.

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Voting closed 16

.... who want a little fresh air and exercise but aren’t able to walk the mile or so around the pond supposed to do?

Are they supposed to stay away from the pond?

I agree this is a waste of taxpayer money.

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Voting closed 47

Of course not, just follow the clockwise direction.

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Voting closed 15

Umm.... How would someone who wants to walk only partway around the pond, but who wants to return to his or her starting place, do so by walking only in the clockwise direction? "exit stage left to the nearest sidewalk" doesn't work for quite a bit of the pond.

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Voting closed 18

Lee, there are a lot of options on and around the pond to walk & get fresh air without having to walk against traffic, as it were. Between Perkins Street and the pond, the walkways that run through the fields adjacent to Pinebank are multidirectional. Or, you can get on the path anywhere from the Perkins Street entrance to the Boathouse, walk in the direction indicated, then loop back on the parallel path that starts on Parkman.

We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to outdoor space in JP. Even if you have physical requirements that make staying on paved paths recommended, as my partner has, the Pond Ave side of Leverett, Franklin Park, Forest Hills Cematary, the Southwest Corridor, and the Arboretum all have flat, paved, rollable & walkable paths. If we all took more advantage of them, it might alleviate the foot traffic around the pond, and reduce the need for precautions.

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Voting closed 28

... people with mobility issues or small unpredictable children can double back on but some of them run too close to traffic for noise and air quality concerns.

I agree the JP has many green space options but not everyone can access them easily or safely.
My concern is that the abilities of all who want to visit the pond be considered. This one way only thing favors people all walking the same speed at a pace that maintains the same distance between walkers or walking groups and who are going all the way around.

Also, Bob Leponge and BostonDog make some good points of how this is just not practical and so not even making the path as safe as it was assumed it would.

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Voting closed 13

How about just exiting stage left, or stage right, and walking to the nearest sidewalk, and proceeding back to your origin point that way?

You sure seem like someone who loves to manufacture difficulties where simple solutions exist.

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Voting closed 28

There is even an island right there if you want to take a break. Come on people, if you can't make it all the way around, go to Ward's pond.

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Voting closed 4

I believe in mask wearing (except outdoors with hardly anyone around) and social distancing and science and all that but kind of an idiotic request. Might as well just tell people they are not allowed to "pass" each other. Is COVID more likely to be transmitted if I pass somebody walking in the same direction rather than the opposite? I can understand it if indoors in a heavy-traffic area such as a grocery store.

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Voting closed 25

So is the author's complaint that there are not enough signs or too many signs? I'm confused.

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Voting closed 13

My complaint is that the design and placement of the signs was done by someone who appears to have made a deliberate choice not to think.

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Voting closed 18

...thinking to try out their plan to see if it actually works.
I was recently in a conservation area where a boardwalk through a swamp had been designated one way only from the western end. Only problem is there was nothing to indicate which end was the westernmost.

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Voting closed 10

Only problem is there was nothing to indicate which end was the westernmost.

That's not necessarily dumb signage so much as it is over-estimating people's sense of direction.

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Voting closed 4

You are allowed to walk both ways, but people who are walking the entire circuit are supposed to go one direction only.

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Voting closed 10

Everyone making a big deal out of nothing. Just walk in the freaking direction that they ask. After all there is a freaking pandemic that has killed millions of people.

To the people who choose to walk in the opposite direction and complain about infringing on people’s right, Y'all just dumb and stubborn. They aren’t asking you give up your first born. They’re just asking you to walk this way, not that way. At the end of the day, you’ll end up to your destination, after all the pond path is just one circle.

And also to all those people who complain and make a scene where they see people walking the wrong direction... y’all got to relax. You’re talking to people as dumb as a rock. Secondly, you guys probably cry over spill milk too as well.

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Voting closed 19

Everyone making a big deal out of nothing. Just walk in the freaking direction that they ask. After all there is a freaking pandemic that has killed millions of people.

The entire point of my complaint is that "the freaking direction that they ask" is not made clear when you enter the park nor if you happen to turn the "wrong" way.

This is not rocket science. One-way streets have existed for a long time. We understand where to put the "one way" signs so that motorists don't inadvertently turn the wrong way onto a one-way street. The very same ideas apply to pedestrian walkway directional signs.

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Voting closed 19

How hard is it to understand a sign with an arrow? You enter into the pond either at Perkins street or pond street. There’s clear signs telling you which direction to walk.

Now people who miss it, fine, mistakes happen. They’ll realize when they walk past the next sign. For those who choose to ignore it? Fine they’re stubborn as a rock and good luck to them since all the life choices they make are probably the wrong choice.

Like I said quit crying over spilt milk.

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Voting closed 11

How hard is it to understand a sign with an arrow?

Pretty hard, if the sign is mounted on the far side of a bench, facing away from you, so that not only do you not see what's written on the front of the sign, you likely don't even notice that the sign is there, because the bench is blocking your view

You enter into the pond either at Perkins street or pond street. There’s clear signs telling you which direction to walk.

Show me, within the next 48 hours, a picture of a sign that faces a pedestrian entering either at Perkins or Pond, (i.e., not a sign that you would see once you had already decided to turn left and start walking clockwise) and I'll donate $50 in your name to the Emerald Necklace Conservancy.

Now people who miss it, fine, mistakes happen. They’ll realize when they walk past the next sign.

Show me, within the next 48 hours, a picture of such a sign, one that would be facing someone who is walking counterclockwise around the pond, and I'll donate another $50 in your name, this time to the Greater Boston Food Bank.

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Voting closed 8

Perhaps some online maps of not only the loop around the pond, but also adjacent walkways for return trips.

Create some walking loops of varying lengths, maybe even sign them with color/shape coded trail markings?

I'm trying to remember where I've seen this done recently. It would reduce confusion considerably.

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Voting closed 10

If they can't get the message across with physical signs, how would they do it with an online map? How would you even know you're supposed to refer to an online map unless there were signs mentioning it?

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Voting closed 11

Just go clockwise, and you don't need to worry about reading the signs!

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Voting closed 9

The risks of walking outdoors, in any direction, are pretty minimal. If everyone wears a mask, I propose that it really doesn't matter which direction you travel. Spend a few bucks on, "Wear your mask" signs and call it a day.

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Voting closed 17

has posted signs all along the Emerald Necklace, including the Pond, reminding people to wear masks and adhere to social distancing.

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Voting closed 11

Also, this is the 2nd attempt at signs. The first attempt was attributed to Matt O'Malley, and the signs said "Keep Left". Of course, they didn't really mean "keep left," in the normal sense of every other "keep left" sign you have ever encountered: they didn't mean that you were supposed to walk on the left side of the path; they meant that you were supposed to walk clockwise around the pond. Maybe. Who knows?

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Voting closed 16

Among numerous incompetences of the city hall workers (yes, BCC included), is this really the one to highlight?

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Voting closed 9

Highlighting one example of misbehavior doesn't detract from all the others.

I question your use of the term "incompetence". If someone were mentally incapable of thinking about where you would want to place signs so they would be visible to people arriving at the park for a walk, then that would be incompetence.

I'd bet you my bottom dollar that the person who planned those signs is of normal IQ and does not suffer from any mental impairment that would prevent them from thinking this through. They simply chose not to do so.

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Voting closed 11

You get the level of COVID-19 your environment and behavior promotes.

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Voting closed 11

I did the math on which strategy is most effective for reducing transmission while walking in park - letting people walk in either direction or in a single direction.

I built a very complex model based on probability of transmission and number of interactions. I assumed 100 people walking in the park for an hour at various speeds to count number of times passing and came up with:

Either direction walking:
0% transmission probability x 1000 interactions = 0 cases

Same direction walking:
0% transmission probability x 500 interactions = 0 cases

Zero multiplied by any number is zero.
(This has not been peer reviewed).

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Voting closed 11

Source?

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Voting closed 7

All theories get blown apart when you account for wind. Even a gentle 5 mph breeze blows holes in the theory that walking in the same direction will make a difference. Anything stronger makes an even more compelling argument.

I understand your complaint about the placement of the signs, though, along with the partial-loop issue.

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Voting closed 10

Wind calculations are notoriously difficult. Also, there's the question, when deciding where to stand while passing gas, whether the objective is to maximize the number of people for whom the event is detectable, or to maximize the impact on the most significantly affected individual.

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Voting closed 5