August 5, 2014

Does bad traffic make it safer for pedestrians?

People are still figuring out what these shark teeth mean even though the sign says this is where you yield to pedestrians.  There's an occasional sudden screeching stop when people realize there's a human being crossing the street, but the north bound traffic - this picture is taken facing north - tends to be respectful of pedestrians when they step into the crosswalk. My observation is that more than half of the cars coming south fail to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk in spite of the shark's teeth that are also on that side of the intersection. The city was recently taking tube counts at the intersection and I had hoped they would install a protected crosswalk. 

The times of day when there are many pedestrians at this intersection is also when traffic is the worst and the cars line up in a bumper to bumper parade. This is when it seems safest for pedestrians. It is when there is little traffic and few pedestrians when it's riskier to cross. What does this say about planning for pedestrian safety? Is there a way to create the level of pedestrian safety seen at the busiest times without artificially creating negative traffics impacts throughout the day? Given recent neighborhood opposition to bike lanes on this stretch of Westwood Boulevard I'm not sure what pedestrian improvements could get support.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When municipalities start hiring Pedestrian Engineers and encourage the Traffic Engineers to retire, we can get more places to offer Road Diets on the menu.