9.19.2006

city calming\traffic calming... trying to see all sides

the speed of traffic on my street is out of control

drivers running red lights
drivers ignoring the speed limit
drivers showing no care or concern for pedestrians in the street

the double yellow line means nothing
people swerve around parking cars or pedestrians across the street like they are seeking the checkered flag in a NASCAR event

failing to understand that it is effieciency not top speed that will get them their the quickest

since things have gotten so out of control I have started to work with some people in the city to try and slow the traffic on my street
my voice is being heard
but
I do not think they hear what I am saying

like so many
the people in power think that they know best
even the people not in power
the people closer to the people in power
they think that they know best

the issue of speed
became an issue of the red light at the top of the hill
they made an expensive modification to the stop light at the top of the hill
I tried to tell them that it was not an issue of seeing or not seeing the traffic signal
I tried to tell them that people were running the red light with no concern
but... they thought they knew best
they made an expensive modification that has done nothing to change behavior

occassionally I see metropolitian police officers issueing tickets
oddly.... these tickets are not at the high volume times
the people who are commuting on this route and running the light each and every day are not the ones being caught
giving a ticket to the tourist in a rental car passing through one evening
well... that will not change behavior
the behavior that needs to be modified is that of the car commuter who willfully speeds through the neighborhood and intentionally runs the red right turn arrow each and everyday
yes... every day

being a cyclist
knowing that this is a heavily trafficked route for cyclists I offered the notion of adding a bike lane
I took measurements of the road
gave them a logical breakdown
even told them some ways to make the bike lane more effective in some places
for a second it sounded like they heard me
but...
somehow my utterance of using a bike lane to give the illusion of thinning the road has taken things a few steps further

the people at the top have decided that thinning the road may be a good idea
the talk of adding a sidewalk on the other side of the street to thin the road is under consideration
at first glance I was excited about this idea
then after some more thought I doubted that this effort would would in fact make things more safe

in the current situation it is tough enough for car drivers to park, open their car door, or pull out of their space
if the roads were more thin then well
it would become more difficult for the residents to park, open their car door, or pull out of their space
as this is a heavily trafficked area... each parking car or pulling out car would cause some back up
the frequent double parking UPS truck, US Postal Service vehicle, or obnoxious double parking asshole would block up the road worse than ever before

all of this before even taking into consideration of the volume of bicycle traffic that uses this road
right now as wide as this road is
it is still very dangerous for bicyclist to use this road
if the road were more thin
well...
the bicycle would be forced to ride in "the door zone"
while still blocking the flow of traffic behind them
the commuter car traffic is already angry and aggressive to the bicycle traffic
thinning the roads would only increase the danger to the cyclist

thinning the road with a sidewalk is not forward thinking

adding bike lanes is not only the least expensive alteration
but also the wisest

what people need to understand
if the bike lanes do not give the desired results
then the sidewalk plan could be re-considered
but
it the sidewalk plan goes into effect
well... after things get more dangerous I doubt that there would be any reversing of the road thinning

there is a formal walk through this week to discuss the possibility of the sidewalk
I have gotten in touch with some folks at the DDOT and WABA
they will attend the walk through and hopefully bring in an alternate perspective

WABA
DDOT Bicycle Page

DC is not that different from the rest of the country
the country as a whole needs to rethink the whole traffic concept
this is a country that claims to have an obessity epidemic and a fuel crisis
these helpless people are lined up at the McDonald's drive through in their SUVs getting a snack before they go home for dinner

we need to make our communities more bicycle and pedestrian friendly
we as individuals need to be more bicycle and pedestrian friendly




1 comment:

Akilles said...

Are they not receptive to an increase in policing and ticketing this area? Why shirk off the extra revenue?

Make it a triple fine section of road!

Have a cop or two sitting there in the morning and the evening. Better yet, make it bicycle cop! or motorcycle cop!

There is an enfamous section of road out here that nobody speeds through because of the reputation of its hawkish motorcycle cop. Everybody knows this and slows down.

A change in behaviour will develop when the desired behaviour is rewarded - but we don't hand cookies out to the polite drivers.