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Study: Diagonal Intersections Are Especially Dangerous for Cyclists

This week, Cambridge, Massachusetts, unveiled plans for a “peanutabout” that will make a tricky intersection with irregular angles safe for cycling. This type of design intervention could be crucial for locations that new research suggests are especially dangerous.

This new deigned for a diagnoal intersections in Cambridge includes protected bike lanes and a ? on a round-about that locals call a "peanutabout." Image via Boston Cyclists Union

At this irregular intersection in Cambridge, the city plans to improve safety with what the locals call a “peanutabout.” Image via Boston Cyclists Union

In a study published in the journal Injury Prevention [PDF], a team led by Dr. Morteza Asgarzadeh of Harvard’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health found that non-right-angle intersections are especially prone to crashes that cause severe or fatal injuries to bicyclists.

Asgarzadeh and his team mapped 3,300 injury crash locations in New York city involving a motorist and a cyclist. Then they analyzed the relationship between a number of factors and injury severity, including street width, weather conditions, gender and age of the cyclist, and posted speed limit.

In most cases, researchers did not identify a significant link. But the researchers did find that a few conditions are correlated with more severe injuries.

Crashes that occurred at diagonal intersections were 37 percent more likely to result in severe injury or death than crashes at right-angle intersections. In addition, while 60 percent of bike-car crashes happen at intersection, cyclists hit by a cars on straightaways — not at intersections — were 31 percent more likely to be killed or severely injured. The researchers hypothesize that crashes on straightways may be more deadly because drivers are traveling at a higher speed.

Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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One New California Bicycle Friendly University: S.F. State

Nolen Brown, fixing bike at right, sets up an outreach table for Power to the Pedal on the S.F. State campus. Photo by Nick Kordesch.

Nolen Brown, fixing bike at right, sets up an outreach table for Power to the Pedal on the S.F. State campus. Photo by Nick Kordesch.

Among the 51 new and renewing League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Universities nationwide, there is only one in California: San Francisco State University, which was just awarded Bronze Level status.

This is the first time S.F. State got the award, and Nolen Brown, who worked on the application, said, “We would have been very disappointed if we’d gotten anything better than bronze.”

That’s because the bikeability of S.F. State kind of sucks, despite the campus being located in a city with a strong bike culture.

“S.F. State is kind of an island to commute to,” said Brown. “You have to swim across some treacherous channels” from whichever direction you arrive. Almost all the surrounding streets are wide, multi-lane roads with heavy, fast traffic. Plenty of it is generated by the campus, which is largely a commuter school. But there are also students living on campus, and they need to cross those same wide streets to get to, for example, the market.

Brown, who works part time as the Bicycle Outreach Student Assistant, took on the Bicycle Friendly University application as a summer project under the guidance of Nick Kordesch, a staff member in the Office of Sustainability in the campus Planning and Design department.

“We thought it would be a good way to inventory the school’s bicycle resources,” said Brown. Going through the application process not only helped identify and articulate what bike facilities the campus already has, but also showed them “where we need to go next, and where we need to improve.”

Kordesch said the process provided them with “a really handy checklist.” Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Black Leaders Discuss Their Efforts to Promote Equity in Mobility Advocacy

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Moderator Sahra Sulaiman with panelists Tamika Butler and Zahra Alabanza. Photo: Jean Khut

Editor’s note: Streetsblog Chicago sent writer Jean Khut to Atlanta last month to report on The Untokening and share lessons from the event that could be applied to transportation justice efforts in our city. We’ll be running another post on the main Untokening activities in the near future. 

In early November, mobility advocates from across the United States gathered in Atlanta for The Untokening, a “convening” to address equity issues in transportation and public spaces. The event was an extension of this year’s Facing Race Conference, held in Atlanta earlier that weekend.

In conjunction with the convening, The Untokening and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition hosted a panel discussion called “LA X ATL Exchange: Race, Place & Justice,” featuring Tamika Butler, director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and Zahra Alabanza, co-founder of the Atlanta chapter of Red, Bike, and Green. Sahra Sulaiman, a communities editor at Los Angeles Streetsblog, served as the moderator.

Walking, biking, and transit advocacy groups often struggle with how to define equity in their work. During the panel Butler said some bike advocates she knew felt there weren’t enough voices representing people who’ve been marginalized by systemic prejudices.

Since starting her position at the LACBC in 2014, Butler has become one of the most prominent voices promoting equity in active transportation. She grew up in Omaha and previously worked as a civil rights lawyer. Butler wasn’t into biking until a friend convinced her to do AIDS/Lifecycle, a fundraising bike ride from San Francisco to L.A. It was there where she met her wife Kelly and found her passion for bikes.

Butler said she has dealt with her share of of racism and sexism in the bike world. One common criticism she gets is that she isn’t “bikey” enough to lead an advocacy organization, which begs the question of what this term actually means. Are her critics saying she isn’t riding her bike enough for transportation and/or recreation to be a bike advocate? Butler doesn’t know the answer, but feels that she wouldn’t face the same criticism if she were a white male.

Likewise, Alabanza didn’t fit the profile many other Atlanta bike advocates were used to. She moved to the city fifteen years ago with a background in community organizing, focusing on LGBTQ issues and reproductive rights. Eventually, her interest in social justice and biking intersected. She saw the need to create spaces for people of color to use biking as a way to form relationships and build community.

RBG originated in Oakland, California in 2007, and Alabanza co-founded the Atlanta chapter in 2012. At first many in the Atlanta bike scene didn’t know what to make of RGB and were surprised that they didn’t address some of the issues bike advocacy groups have traditionally focused on, such as promoting bike lanes and helmets. The volunteer-run group, which describes itself as “exclusively Black,” uses biking a way to address economic, environmental, and mental and physical health issues that impact African-American communities.

Alabanza said her work with RBG allows her to be “unapologetically Black.” Even though she helped create a positive, empowering space for African-Americans, she has faced some backlash, especially during the group’s first year. Alabanza has been accused of reverse racism from people who didn’t understand the need for an all-Black space.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Talking Headways Podcast: A Bus Full of People Should Go Ahead of a Tesla

This week’s episode returns to the Shared Use Mobility Summit in Chicago for a great discussion of how the changing technology and information landscape could yield more equitable outcomes. Jackie Grimshaw of the Center for Neighborhood Technology moderated this panel featuring Anita Cozart of Policy Link, Rob Puentes of the Eno Center for Transportation, and Joshua Schank of LA Metro.

The discussion touches on several interesting topics, including the idea that innovation doesn’t have to arise from technology, the fact that not all people are benefitting from transportation investments, the measurement bias in the models we use to make transportation decisions, and much more. I highly recommend a listen.

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Today’s Headlines

  • BART Transbay Seismic Retrofit Could Mean Reduced Off-Peak Service (SFGate, EastBayTimes)
  • Debate Continues on Pulling Seats to Make Room for Standees on BART (SFExaminer)
  • Delays on Richmond BART Line (SFGate)
  • Most Riders Happy with Muni Service (SFBay)
  • City to Vote on SF Train Station Naming Policy (SFExaminer)
  • SFMTA Delays Library Stop Eliminations on 19-Polk (SFBayView)
  • Caltrain Holiday Train (CBS Bay Area)
  • More on Caltrain Suicide Prevention Text Service (DailyJournal)
  • Pedestrian Struck by Motorist in Balboa Park (Hoodline)
  • SF Rents on Downward Trend? (Curbed)
  • Civic Center Drive Roundabout Part of Project to Facilitate Cycling and Walking (MarinIJ)

Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA
Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Bike Coalition Strategizes a Safer SoMa

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SFBC's South of Market committee strategizing how to make the neighborhood safer. Photo: Streetsblog

SFBC’s South of Market committee strategizing how to make the neighborhood safer. That’s Remi Ray, Charles Deffarges, Katie Brenzo, and Moses Nakamura. Photo: Streetsblog

Yesterday evening, the South of Market Committee of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) met at their Market Street office to discuss advocacy tactics for making sure SFMTA follows through on Mayor Edwin Lee’s Executive Directive on safety in their neighborhood. “They’re hoping to get this in the ground by May of 2017,” said Charles Deffarges, community organizer with the Bicycle Coalition. He pointed to SFMTA designs, projected on a screen for the group, of 7th and 8th streets, with physically protected bike lanes. “This design is not all the way there, but it is a first phase,” he said.

Streetsblog readers will recall that on the evening of June 22, Kate Slattery and Heather Miller were killed in separate incidents in San Francisco. Slattery died at the intersection of 7th and Howard streets. A month later, under intense pressure from the Bicycle Coalition, the mayor issued an “executive directive on safety.” Part of the directive was specific to the area where Slattery was killed, instructing “SFMTA to deliver near­-term safety improvements on 7th and 8th Streets in the next nine months.”

That process is now under way. Streetsblog covered an open house back in September, where SFMTA got feedback on designs for 7th and 8th. Now the Bicycle Coalition is focusing on longer-term planning for Folsom and Howard Streets. They want to keep up the pressure and make sure safety measures are put through before any more cyclists are hurt or killed. SFMTA is holding open houses on the designs on Thursday, December 8, and Saturday, December 10.

“My hope is we can figure out exactly what we want to achieve through this open house,” said Deffarges. “Our overarching goal for Folsom and Howard is to have the best streets possible–how do we use these upcoming open houses to leverage that goal?” Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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The ‘Peanutabout’ Concept Could Be a Breakthrough for Diagonal Streets

Wickedly good biking ideas continue to pop up in Massachusetts.

Last year, it unveiled the country’s best state-level bikeway design guide and Cambridge opened the country’s best new bike lane on Western Avenue.

On Tuesday, the Boston Cyclists Union shared the inspiring back story behind a new concept for the long, complex seven-way intersection created by the acute crossing of Cambridge and Hampshire streets. Like a lot of good ideas in modern American bicycling history, it involves Anne Lusk, a Harvard public health professor who’s been a major brain behind the spread of protected bike lanes in the United States. Last summer she connected BCU with engineering firm Kittelson and Associates, and dominoes started falling:

In mid-September, Bike Union executive director Becca Wolfson and representatives of Kittelson met with City of Cambridge staff to present our findings regarding the feasibility of the peanut design and the conceptual rendering for it.  The City had considered and rejected as infeasible a roundabout solution for Inman, but had not considered a peanut-style mini-roundabout.  The staff were favorably impressed and have since indicated an interest in including this roundabout approach alongside the “Bends” solutions as the pubic process moves forward.

In his post, BCU writer Steven Bercu lists the various advantages of this design for people walking, biking and driving. Here are the benefits for bicycle travel:

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Getting On-Street Parking Tech Right

Getting the price of on-street parking right is important for commercial areas in cities. Setting prices to ensure that about one space per block remains open reduces double-parking, cuts down on unnecessary traffic, and can speed up buses as a result.

You're going to change for parking? Good! What's the right equipment? Photo: Wikipedia

You’re going to change for parking? Good! What’s the right equipment? Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Putting the right price on parking isn’t always popular, but by choosing good systems and technology to manage curbside spaces, cities can make it easier for motorists. Paul Barter at Reinventing Parking has written a handy guide to 18 different types of on-street parking management, from very low-tech cash payment to state-of-the-art GPS-based systems.

He concludes that the best systems are digital and track payment via license plates or vehicle registration numbers, as opposed to the physical space the car occupies. Of those, he highlights these four options as the best for cities today — read the whole post for a detailed look at how these systems work:

The digital pay-by-plate options seem to do best to maximize parking-management effectiveness and minimize the pain.

They score highly on most of the key criteria mentioned earlier, especially high convenience for users, easy price adjustment, data stream, low-cost integration with enforcement, low transaction costs, suitability for motorcycles, and ability to integrate with permits and special discounts.

This means that any city tackling this issue afresh today should probably focus on these options (in pay-by-plate mode): 
12: Smart (digital) multi-space meters with Pay-by-License-Plate
15: Pay-by-smart-phone-app
16: In-vehicle meters, or
17: Global Positioning System (GPS)-based in-vehicle meters
or some combination of 2 or more of these (including all of them together).

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • BART to Vote on Earthquake Retrofit of Transbay Tube (SFExaminer)
  • State Investigates BART Ad (EastBayTimes)
  • Lessons from Muni Ransomware Attack (Inc)
  • South Park Renovations Delayed (Hoodline)
  • Castro Sidewalks as AIDS Memorial (Hoodline)
  • Lighting Bayview’s Third Street Village (Hoodline)
  • Caltrain Seeks Federal Funds for Electrification (DailyJournal)
  • Caltrain Adds Text Help Line to Prevent Suicides (Almanac)
  • Commentary: City Faces Many Challenges, Including Funding Muni, in Wake of Election (SFExaminer)
  • Commentary: Bay Area Needs to Collaborate with Trump on Infrastructure (MercNews)
  • Commentary: Kinsey Good Choice to Manage San Rafael Transit Hub (MarinIJ)

Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA
Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

Streetsblog NYC
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NYC Also Struggling with Vision Zero Goals

Navraj Raju, Jazmine Marin, Bella Krementsova, Carmen Puello, and Anna Colon

Navraj Raju, Jazmine Marin, Bella Krementsova, Carmen Puello, and Anna Colon

Nineteen people died in New York City traffic in October, and 5,065 were injured, according to City Hall’s Vision Zero View crash data map.

City Hall reported 132 pedestrians and cyclists killed by city motorists through October of this year, and 12,550 injured, compared to 107 deaths and 11,957 injuries in the same period in 2015.

Five motor vehicle occupants died in the city in October, according to City Hall, and 3,608 were injured.

Citywide, 10 pedestrians were fatally struck by drivers last month. Among the victims were Anna Colon, Blanca Pagan, Krystyna Iwanowicz, David Pajarito-Mendez, Carmen Puello, Marie Guido, Bella Krementsova, Jazmine Marin, Navraj Raju, and an unidentified male pedestrian in Queens.

City Hall reported no cyclist deaths in October.

Motorists killed at least two children and four seniors in October: Navraj Raju, eight months; Jazmine Marin, 13; Anna Colon, 73; Blanca Pagan, 73; Marie Guido, 92; and the unidentified male pedestrian in Queens, 79.

Across the city, 1,012 pedestrians and 445 cyclists were reported hurt in collisions with motor vehicles. Per NYPD policy, few of these crashes were investigated by trained officers.

Of 10 fatal crashes on surface streets reported by Streetsblog and other outlets, two motorists were known to have been charged for causing a death. Based on NYPD and media accounts, at least six victims were likely walking with the right of way when they were struck.

An unlicensed driver ran over 8-month-old Navraj Raju as his mother pushed him in a stroller on an Astoria Boulevard sidewalk. The driver was not charged for killing the baby.

A motorist hit 13-year-old Jazmine Marin and her friend as they walked to school on Cross Bay Boulevard in Ozone Park. NYPD filed no charges and blamed the children.

Read more…