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Don Kostelec @KostelecPlan
, 11 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Here's an example we use in the Looking Glass Academy workshops on walkability to illustrate how pedestrian time/delay is not a factor in how highway agencies design a street. "Just go to the nearest crosswalk," they say. Let's look at it.
I live where the red house is located and want to go to the grocery story. "Just go to the nearest crosswalk!" Well, there's a 1.15-mile gap between marked crossings where there are traffic signals with ped heads.
I can practically see the grocery store from the house as it's only a .22 mile journey as the crow flies. But, "Just go to the nearest crosswalk," they say.
Alrighty, if I take the advice of highway agencies and law enforcement to "just go to the nearest crosswalk" the traffic engineers have turned that into a 1.05-mile journey that I have to navigate twice...
Add to that, the longer journey that would only be .22 miles if I could safely cross where I desire is now not only a much longer journey, but one where I have 21 additional driveway/street conflicts with turning motorists, as well as an up to 3-minute wait time at the signal.
If we look at that elongated walk time expectation placed upon people who walk as an equivalent drive time for a motorist, the traffic engineers would require a 9.6-mile drive for a motorist to just cross a street. Of course, that's unacceptable in their eyes.
And oftentimes that "grocery store" is really a convenience store that serves as the only food outlet for a low income neighborhood. Yeah, it's an unmarked crosswalk but people who walk are blamed if hit while crossing there.
So, of course, we hear "it doesn't meet warrants for a dedicated pedestrian crossing," which is traffic engineer-speak for "20 people have to risk their lives in the hour I decide to study in order for me to approve something safe for them." It's the @BrentToderian river analogy.
Warrants used for this need to be modernized. It probably meant something when the only tool in the toolbox was a fully-signalized intersection treatment & concerns with driver compliance. But now we have RRFBs & PHBs that are cheaper and only actuated when someone needs to cross
It's pure hypocrisy by traffic engineers as they methodically design this strict type of "access control" for pedestrians, while leaving most corridors wide open with continuous two-way left turn lanes for motorist unimpeded access. Then we hear "it's a matter of balance."
And here's how it manifests itself in thinking about pedestrian crossings at rare locations along major roads where there are signals. It's about how much the vehicles will be delayed in accommodating a safer movement by people who walk. "Just go to the nearest crosswalk..."
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