Feeds:
Posts
Comments

There has been a lot of focus on Sunday parking meters in San Francisco (and rightly so). But an ever bigger concern is the anemic level of bike funding.

While the Chronicle is calling the SFMTA budget a “qualified win” for bicycle infrastructure, the outlook is grim. Just 2% of the budget would go toward bicycle facilities. That is less than the current bicycle mode share (3.5%), to say nothing of the city’s 20% mode share goal. It is also less than what other Bay Area counties are planning. For example, voters in Alameda County will be considering a transportation expenditure plan that would spend more than 8% on bike facilities.

 

For its high-speed rail project, the Texas Central Railroad is proposing to use Japanese Shinkansen (“Bullet Train”) technology. The Shinkansen is, by all accounts, the world’s safest train system. There have been no fatalities in 50 years of operation. So it is amusing that the FRA would give its expertise on the safety of the technology. Robert Eckels, President of the TCR, describes some of their interactions with the FRA:

Remember how the FRA was developing “alternate compliance” rules to allow the use of off-the-shelf trains? Retrofitting half-inch steel plates into a proven design doesn’t sound very off-the-shelf.

Ironically, he was giving a speech on track safety.

Jarrett Walker has good reason to be concerned about FRA rulemaking on crew size. This slide comes from a recent meeting of the FRA Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC):

rsac

From an FRA point of view, this new rule does not change anything. Commuter railroads in the US have historically used conductors and train attendants.

But it is a really inefficient use of labor. Industry best practice is to have just one crewmember (the driver). Ticket validation can best be handled throrugh random POP inspections. If this rule goes into effect, it will be another obstacle to modernizing passenger rail. DMU operations would be especially problematic. Imagine if the new Marin-Sonoma “SMART” service had to use two crewmembers. Sure they might apply for an FRA waiver, but why create more bureaucratic headaches?

At its March 6 meeting, the VTA Board received the Supplemental EIR for the Vasona LRT extension. This $175 million project will add one or two new stations, and expand the Winchester station.

Now you are probably thinking that with Silicon Valley’s massive housing shortage, the VTA would be planning to use these stations for TOD, right?

Sadly, no. Here is the new Winchester Station-and-Park-and-Ride lot:

winchester

 

And here is the new Vasona Junction Station-and-Park-and-Ride lot:

vasona

 

And here is the Phase-2 (optional) Hacienda Station-and-Park-and-Ride:

hacienda

By the year 2035, the extension is projected to generate 729 new daily transit trips. How awesome is that!

Stop her before she kills again!

The elderly woman who killed three people when she accidentally backed into a crowd of people leaving a Manatee County church will not be allowed to drive for at least one year.

In court on Wednesday morning, Doreen Landstra, 79, pleaded no contest. She had her driver’s license suspended for a year and was fined $1,000 and paid $106 in court fees. If Landstra wants to renew her license in a year, she will have to go to driving school and meet other Department of Motor Vehicle requirements.

The crash happened Feb. 2 in the Sugar Creek Country Club 55-and-over mobile home community off Belinda Circle and Clubhouse Drive in East Bradenton. Witnesses said Landstra appeared to think she put her large Chevrolet sport utility vehicle in “drive,” but instead she shifted into reverse and backed through the clubhouse parking lot, hitting seven people.

Wasn’t the first time either:

In 2011, the Brandenton Herald reported that Landstra once drove an SUV into the lobby of a McDonald’s in Michigan after she hit the gas instead of the brake.

In that case, she was required to retake her driver’s exam.

Data

Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) is a database maintained by the California Highway Patrol. It contains extensive collision data from all over California, and is a powerful tool for transportation planners and bike/ped advocates.

The CHP is not very skilled at web design. Their web site is so primitive that I can almost picture a 1980′s-era IBM mainframe still being used in some back office to manage the database. Fortunately, the UC Berkeley SafeTREC researchers have geo-coded the data, and made it available through a nicely designed web page. The tool not only gives details on each collision, but will even bring up the Google Streetview image of the location!

For example, here is a map generated for the bike and ped collisions in Berkeley during the year 2011. There were 108 total:

berkeley_injury_map

 

If you are a transport planner, or bike/ped advocate, I think you will find this web tool to be invaluable.

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 54 other followers