Wednesday, December 03 2014 @ 10:43 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
BY CHARLES MAROHN, Strong Towns
The accident occurred about 5:30 p.m. as the woman, her daughter and her niece came out of the library and attempted to cross directly across the street to the parking where their car was parked, Delaney, public information officer for the department, said.
They were hit in one of the westbound lanes as they attempted to cross near the front steps of the library, some distance away from the nearest crosswalk at the signalized intersection of State and Chestnut Streets.
Costa said there used to be a crosswalk there some years ago, marked by an orange traffic barrel. Even then, however, the association lobbied for something even more visible, she said.
The crosswalk was removed, however, and a hedge and chain fence were installed directly in front of the library to encourage those seeking walk across State Street to do so at the Chestnut Street intersection, Costa said.
Here’s what I am just fed up with:
* The engineering profession is so worried about liability if they vary from any highway design guideline, regardless of how ridiculous they are. Someone needs to sue these engineers for gross negligence and turn that entire liability equation around. It’s way past time.
* Professional engineers here and elsewhere use “forgiving design” principles in urban areas where they do not apply. They systematically forgive the mistakes of drivers who stray from their lane or go off the roadway by designing systems where these common mistakes are anticipated and compensated for. They systematically show indifference to the easily anticipated mistakes of non-drivers. A kid playing in their yard chases a stray ball out into the street and gets run down. To the engineer, this is a non-foreseeable, non-preventable accident. For everyone else, we understand that cities are more than cars – they include people doing all kinds of complex things – and forgiving the common mistakes of ALL people is what a humane, decent professional does.
* Professional engineers claim that they cannot alter human behavior with their street designs. A highway lane width is 13 feet just the same as your local street lane width. There is often no appreciable difference in the cross section of a highway and a local street except for the posted speed limit, which is up to the police to enforce. (I wrote about this years ago .) Despite this, the engineers in this situation – knowing there was an obvious problem – as well as many others in similar situations, put their brains to work to come up with all kinds of ways to attempt to alter human behavior, but only for those humans outside of their automobiles. For humans not in a car, we erect fences, hedges and other barriers to get them to go where we think best. Which is it, engineers? Are we behavioral scientists or not?
I’m fed up with people being killed because my profession contains a bunch of dogmatic idiots.