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Another mind boggling metric of our dangerous roadways: over 500 Americans are killed each year from cars crashing into buildings. There are over 3,600 serious injuries from such crashes. Federal road “safety” agencies don’t bother to measure the problem let alone propose solutions (which is probably just as well as they would recommend restaurant patrons to wear helmets and bright colors).

So it is left up to private groups, such as the Storefront Safety Council, to highlight the issue and propose solutions.

One of the new lines runs to inner Mongolia:

The 174km (108-mile) line has a maximum design speed of 350km per hour, and links up with a high-speed service to Lanzhou, in the northwestern province of Gansu. It stretches westward, connecting with other high-speed routes across Shanxi, Hebei and the eastern part of Inner Mongolia.

With the introduction of the services, the trip from Beijing to Hohhot, capital of Inner Mongolia, is expected to take two hours and nine minutes, a fraction of the nine and a quarter hours it takes now. The new service is expected to foster economic and social development between Inner Mongolia and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

 

 

This is what happens when road safety programs prioritize the wrong things:

Two years ago, Honolulu made it illegal — with few exceptions — to cross the street while fiddling with your phone or other device.

It was the first major city in the nation to enact a so-called “distracted walking” law. And since it went into effect, police have issued 232 citations under the law.

But has it actually made roads safer for pedestrians? That’s up for debate. Pedestrian fatalities on Oahu roads actually soared last year and don’t appear to have significantly dropped off in 2019.

After months of construction, the new 2-block $10 million Shattuck “reconfiguration” project is now operating in downtown Berkeley. Whereas Shattuck used to split into a northbound and southbound leg, the road now makes the old southbound section two-way. The northbound leg is turned into a giant turn pocket:

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If you find the above diagram confusing, the red arrow indicates the old travel path for northbound traffic (Shattuck West used to be one-way). So $10 million was spent just to streamline northbound car traffic at the Shattuck/University intersection.

The reconfigured Shattuck is now more of a traffic sewer (even the left-turns were eliminated). For drivers, this is really great because they can blast through downtown. For bicyclists though, the new road is stressful. To fit 4 lanes in this section, the traffic lanes were narrowed. While narrow lanes can sometimes serve to calm traffic, in this case the result is impatient motorists passing bicyclists with mere inches to spare.

The Shattuck reconfiguration project is one piece of a package of projects to increase automobile access to the downtown, including a new $40 million parking garage (LEED Certified of course), and additional “back-in” parking spaces along Shattuck East. While other cities are creating cycletracks and even eliminating car traffic in their downtowns, Berkeley is moving in the opposite direction.

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Mayor Arreguin at the ribbon cutting for the new Center St. parking garage

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Shattuck construction

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Four car lanes, wider sidewalks — but no bike lanes or cycletracks

City of Fremont will spend another $150,000 on radar speed feedback signs:

Veloso said the new signs — which flash car’s mph back to drivers and display a white strobe when speeding is detected — will be installed on “high-speed” arterial streets where the city has seen the highest numbers of “severe injury and fatal collisions.”

A staff report indicates some of those streets will include Niles Boulevard, near where a woman was killed in a hit-and-run in late November, as well as other spots on Fremont Boulevard, Paseo Padre Parkway, where a couple of signs are already posted, and Thornton Avenue, among others.

Since the city began implementing its Vision Zero plan in 2016, staff says major crashes through November 2019 are down 46 percent on roads with speed limits above 40 mph compared to 2013 to 2015 numbers. However, the numbers of fatalities from collisions are mixed, hitting a low of four deaths each in 2016 and 2018 to a high of 10 in 2017 and seven in 2019.

The problem in Fremont is that the posted speed limit on major arterials is 35 mph and higher. So even if all drivers were to comply with the speed limit, the road would still be too dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.

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Fremont Blvd near the Warm Springs BART station, where a cyclist was killed. Posted speed limit is 45 mph.

 

Scene from a late night rave under I880 in Oakland, where then-Mayor Jerry Brown makes an appearance (jump to 16:52). Would Joe Biden want Jerry Brown jailed?

Hillary Clinton wanted to ban video games. Biden wanted to ban raves. Can’t imagine why more young people don’t come out to vote…