Wanted: Streets Designed for All

Picking up on a thread from earlier this week on how street design can be used to prevent high-speed crashes in dense urban environments, today on the Network we hear from Streetsblog regular Andy B from Jersey, via WalkBikeJersey Blog.

On a recent drive along the Jersey shore, Andy found Route 35 packed with people, and the street ill-suited to accommodate them.

ocstop.jpgA 21-year-old pedestrian was killed
at this Ocean City, NJ intersection in July. Locals say design changes
are needed to prevent future casualties. Photo: pressofAtanticCity.com

Talk of pedestrian and bicycle traffic! It was everywhere and
coming from every conceivable direction. This was particularly true in
the Lavallette and Ortley Beach areas. Despite the volumes of bike and
pedestrian traffic facilities for them were extremely minimal and often
in poor condition. Bike lanes are nonexistent and even sidewalks were
intermittent. Bicyclists came from every direction with only one of
over a hundred having any lights even though it was completely dark by
this time. Pedestrians were also hard to see, including ones making
every effort to use the marked crosswalks. Local authorities did try to
help pedestrians by placing construction barrels in the roadway to
accent crosswalks but at night this seemed (to me at least) to cause
more confusion.

With repairs coming soon at some point it is time for NJDOT to step up and come up with a Context Sensitive Solution for this highway that suits the needs of all roadway users and increases safety for all.

Traffic
enforcement and equitable street design shouldn’t be an either/or
proposition. Can citizens prod law enforcers and urban planners to work
together to improve conditions for all road users? If so, where do we
begin?

Also today, Transit Miami finds that Quito, Ecuador, is getting it right when it comes to people-friendly streetscaping, while UrbanCincy ponders the merits of signal timing in keeping speeds down. And WashCycle
reports that Roanoke, Virginia, cyclists bulked up their bikes to
illustrate how much street space is required for the average driver.

  • Why this obsession with streets for “all”? It is automobiles that dominate any street if allowed at all, at any speed. Risk of death or injury from collisions is certainly perceived as the biggest problem, but how about tailpipe and noise emissions? These don’t stop at the curb or the building facade. Tailpipe exhaust kills more people than “accidents” (This is funny, we could start calling this “accidents” to make clear how ridiculous the term is for radically-opposed mass and acceleration differentiation, a kind of long way of saying – which I just make up – “crashes” or “crashes”).

    Even on an extremely “calmed” street, if the kids are drawing, dancing playing they have to move aside if an automobile comes by (your living room might also be for “all”, but that doesn’t mean you let automobiles drive through.)

    I support emergency vehicles using all streets, public transport using arteries plus carshare (transitional automobiles) and delivery vehicles given limited access until new systems for people and goods are fully developed, but this near obsession with “all” (or “complete streets”, “shared space” etc.) is a kind of false democratic strategy which intentionally or not enables private car-ism to continue.

    (“Car” is whatever is “attached” to an automobile: Marketing, peer pressure, non-internalisation of costs, addiction, dependency, use of “sustainable fuels” for non-sustainable purposes… wars for resources. An “automobile” is a rubber-tired non-guided road vehicle which seats about 12 persons or under, and most often between 4 and 6.)

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

San Francisco Planners Proud of Long List of Road Diets

|
Valencia Street bicycle lane and stencil. Photo:KayVee.INC Although there is no record book for the cities with the most traffic-calmed streets, San Francisco planners believe their city has the most road diets, or roads that have had auto lanes narrowed or removed to calm traffic speeds and provide room for other modes of travel. The […]

South Bay Cities Build Region’s First Separated Bike Lanes

|
New on-street bike lanes separated from auto traffic are nearing completion in Palo Alto and Menlo Park, and a handful of neighboring cities have plans to install them too. Separated bike infrastructure gained traction among local planners after Caltrans approved Class IV Separated Bikeway design standards [PDF] in December 2015. The first protected intersections were built […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Finally, a Little Accountability for State DOTs on Bike and Pedestrian Safety

|
In a win for bike and pedestrian safety, the Federal Highway Administration announced yesterday that it will require state transportation agencies to do something they have never had to do before: set goals to reduce bike and pedestrian fatalities, and track progress toward attaining those goals. The news is part of FHWA’s roll-out of several “performance measures” […]