Archive for the ‘pedestrian’ Category

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.

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How we celebrate Christmas in America:

Thoroughbred Street will again welcome thousands in search of a little yuletide cheer. Residents have been decorating their homes with lights, yard figurines and more to delight visitors from across Southern California.

Rancho Cucamonga police will once again limit pedestrian access on what they expect to be the busiest nights of the season. According to the city’s website, portions of Thoroughbred and Jennet streets and Turquoise Avenue will be open to motorists only from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Dec. 6-8, and Dec. 13-24, to emphasize pedestrian and vehicle safety.

The limits on pedestrian access are an expansion of an ordinance approved by the city in 2017 that police said improved traffic and cut wait times for motorists the final two weeks of the lights display.

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Over the years there have been some pretty bad pedestrian safety PSA’s. But this one from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is stupendously bad. No kid should ever have to worry about giant monster trucks blasting down a neighborhood street. What makes this ‘educational’ video especially bad is that the NHTSA has broad regulatory powers in this area, but chooses not to outlaw dangerous vehicles.

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Transport for London (TfL) has set an ambitious goal of raising bike/ped/transit mode share from 63% today to 80%. The pedestrian infrastructure will play a major role in getting an extra million walking trips per day. To achieve this goal, London has developed some interesting ideas as outlined in a new Pedestrian Plan.

Signal timing is being optimized so that pedestrians should not have to wait more than 40 seconds at a crossing. At key intersections, detectors will be used to count the number of people waiting to cross, and adjust the signal timing accordingly.

The most radical proposal, though, is ‘green-man authority’, or what Americans might call the reverse beg-button:

‘Green man’ authority is a technique where the traffic signals show a green signal for pedestrians continuously, until vehicular traffic is detected, at which time the pedestrians are stopped on a red signal, and vehicles are given a green light to proceed. This technique has previously only been used at two locations in London, on bus-only streets in Hounslow and Morden. TfL has identified the next 10 new locations where this approach will be set up, where it would significantly benefit pedestrians, with very little detriment to traffic.

One of the frustrating things as a pedestrian is to be standing around at a corner waiting for a signal to change, even though there are no cars coming. The Green-Man authority eliminates this frustration, by defaulting to green for pedestrians. Since the UK does not have jaywalking laws, the benefit of this technology for Londoners is minor, but it would be a major benefit in the US as a workaround against all the jaywalking enforcement nonsense.


Healthy Streets Indicators


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If only the DMV required vision tests for getting a driver’s license. Then bicyclists and pedestrians wouldn’t have to wear hi-viz clothing whenever they went out…


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A NY Times editorial jumps on the distracted-pedestrian bandwagon. It argues in favor of laws recently passed in Honolulu and Montclair outlawing the use of mobile devices by pedestrians at intersections.

In fact, there is no evidence whatsoever that distracted walking is a problem. Enforcing such a law would do nothing for pedestrian safety. Rather, it would be a pretext for police harassment of pedestrians.

The Times argues such laws are needed to enforce a “social contract” that everyone is responsible for their safety and regard for others. But there is no such social contract. Distracted pedestrian laws only apply to….pedestrians. Drivers are still free to use their mobile devices as they blast through intersections. Some car manufacturers, such as Tesla, even incorporate giant touchscreens in the dashboard.

The hysteria over distracted walking originates with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which speaks for state highway departments. State highway engineers have spent decades building a very dangerous transportation system. But rather than acknowledge professional blunders, the GHSA blames the victim. Pedestrians, you see, are getting killed because they are drunk and using cell phones.  For 2018, the GHSA annual report adds a new bogeyman — marijuana legalization:

Analyzing data for the first half of 2017, the Governors Highway Safety Association found a notable increase in pedestrian deaths in states that had legalized marijuana. Elsewhere, the death toll declined. It is too early for firm conclusions, but you can’t rule out that judgments are flawed when drivers and pedestrians go around stoned.

There were seven states that had legalized marijuana between 2012 and 2016 (Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington). While those states did see large increases last year in pedestrian fatalities, other factors (increasing VMT in particular) appears to be the culprit, not legalization. Except for Nevada, the legalization states still have lower overall pedestrian fatality rates compared to the national average. And interestingly, there is considerable debate within the medical community on what impact (if any) cannabis has on driver impairment.

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Three young men were out walking around 8pm in Ville Platte (La) when they were struck from behind by a truck. But rather than charge the truck driver, the three men were charged with misdemeanors for not wearing reflective clothing:

Police have fined the three for not wearing reflective clothing at night and charged them with obstructing a public passage. Twenty-one-year-old Deonte Williams, 19-year-old Cody Mayes and 17-year-old Tevin Wilson have scrapes, bruises and even staples after being hit by a truck on North Chataignier Street.

What the three find most upsetting is that the driver was not charged and they were.

“For me to find out that this guy gets to just go home, we all get some misdemeanors and nothing happened to him,” Williams explains. “I’m upset about it.”

The crash happened near a neighborhood around 8 p.m. Tuesday night. The area doesn’t have sidewalks.

That this happened in Ville Platte is no surprise. Ville Platte was recently investigated by the Federal DOJ for its practice of criminalizing walking and penalizing the poor. In 2011, the town passed a curfew prohibiting walking outside after 10pm. The curfew only applied to pedestrians. So while it was legal to drive to a nearby store or friend’s house, it was not possible to walk there. The penalty was $200 — or jail for those who couldn’t afford it. According to a complaint filed by the NAACP and ACLU, hundreds of residents were swept up each night for violating the curfew.

The DOJ investigation led to the city dropping the curfew, but other notorious laws remain. Besides the reflective clothing mandate, the Ville Platte fashion police will arrest anyone wearing baggy or sagging pants that fall “more than three inches below the hips causing exposure of the person or the person’s undergarments.”


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