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Friday, October 20 2017 @ 11:06 PM UTC
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WIDER LANES MAKE STREETS MORE DANGEROUS

Biking Elsewhere-> A new study (Narrower Lanes, Safer Streets: http://bit.ly/1AJVv2q) reinforces the argument that cities need to reconsider lane widths and redesign streets accordingly. In a paper to be presented at the Canadian Institute of Traffic Engineers annual conference, author Dewan Masud Karim presents hard evidence that wider lanes increase risk on city streets. Looking at the crash databases, Karim found that collision rates escalate as lane widths exceed about 10.5 feet. Roads with the widest lanes — 12 feet or wider — were associated with greater crash rates and higher impact speeds. Karim also found that crash rates rise as lanes become narrower than about 10 feet, though this does not take impact speeds and crash severity into account. He concluded that there is a sweet spot for lane widths on city streets, between about 10 and 10.5 feet. [http://bit.ly/1eOgWVR]

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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COURT FINDS WI DOT USED INFLATED FORECASTS TO JUSTIFY ROAD EXPANSION

Biking Elsewhere-> On Friday, the U.S. Eastern District Court upheld claims in a lawsuit filed by 1000 Friends of Wisconsin and cut off federal funding for the beleaguered Highway 23 road expansion project between Fond du Lac and Plymouth. The Court agreed with the land use organization that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation used unsupported, inflated traffic forecasts to justify the project. The Court ruled that the project is ineligible for federal funding until documented accurate traffic forecasts can be made that justify expanding the highway. The state can now either go back to the drawing board and do verifiable forecasting or scrap the expansion plans. The ruling does not stop the state from building the project using only state funds. [http://bit.ly/1Q6pdoX]

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Why are cities allowing bicycle theft to go virtually unpunished?

Biking ElsewhereBy Tom Babin, Los Angeles Times

...
In Los Angeles and virtually every city in North America, bicycle theft has almost become a crime without consequence, so widespread that it is treated less as a problem and more like one of the costs of urban life. Thieves can quickly cut locks on a target that serves as its own getaway vehicle, sell their ill-gotten goods to fencers for pennies on the dollar, and rest assured they will almost never be busted. Law enforcement officials, busy with other priorities, rarely commit to sustained campaigns to bust theft rings or even pursue arrests.

Accurate data on bike thefts are difficult to come by. The FBI reported 210,905 bike thefts in the U.S. in 2014, a number that likely severely undercounts the true scope of the problem. An analysis by the Oregonian in Portland found that arrests occurred in just 2% of reported bike thefts in that city. The same study found as few as 70% of thefts are even reported. Cycling advocate J Allard spent several years researching bike theft and couldn’t find a single person in North America who had a full-time job dedicated to stopping the problem.

Despite this general apathy, there are serious consequences to bike theft. A 2014 federal government survey found the most likely group of people to ride a bike to work are those earning less than $10,000 a year. For such working poor who have no other means of getting around, bike theft is more than an inconvenience: It can wipe out a livelihood.
...

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/livable-city/la-ol-bicycle-theft-20170421-story.html
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The (Irrational) Criminalization of Walking

Biking ElsewhereBy Scott Doyon, Place Makers

...
The point is that we’ve progressed to a moment in time where walking is seen almost as a novelty or action of last resort and where our accommodation of and reliance on automobiles has resulted in a regulatory environment in which the act of walking is increasingly stigmatized and disincentivized, thus making the assertion that few people walk an increasingly self-fulfilling prophesy.
...

http://www.placemakers.com/2017/05/16/the-irrational-criminalization-of-walking/

[B' Spokes: There is even a link to a book (PDF) you can download.]
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Walking across the street is becoming more dangerous

Biking ElsewhereBy Changez Ali,  AP via Washington Post

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Last year was the deadliest year for pedestrians in the United States since 1996, according to a report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, which collects and analyzes data from state highway safety offices.

Preliminary data show that 5,997 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents, an 11 percent increase from 2015, the report says.

The increase is part of a longer-term upward trend: Pedestrian fatalities increased 12 percent between 2006 and 2015 from 4,795 to 5,376, even while the total number of traffic fatalities decreased by 18 percent from 42,708 to 35,092 during that period. Pedestrians now account for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities [B' Spokes: That's 22.9% of all traffic fatalities for Maryland].

“Survivability is greatly improved in cars but the human body has not changed, so humans are as susceptible as before,” said association spokeswoman Kara Macek.

Driver and pedestrian error are a factor in many accidents. But recent research also blames a lack of engineering for safe walking environments -- and two studies published in the past year say that’s particularly true in low-income and immigrant neighborhoods.
...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/walking-across-the-street-is-becoming-more-dangerous/2017/05/17/b5e89d1a-3b35-11e7-a59b-26e0451a96fd_story.html
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Traffic laws and street design are not working

Biking Elsewhereby Leslie Reed, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


[B' Spokes: The conclusion is the most profound.]

...
"These results suggest that people are making judgments about appropriate bicycling based on their own experience," Piatkowski said. "And that's a problem. It means traffic laws or street design are not working."

http://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/study-reveals-a-wild-west-with-rules-of-the-biking-road/
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MTA to install $11 million in traffic light sensors to prioritize buses in Baltimore

Mass TransitBy Colin Campbell, Baltimore Sun

...
As part of Gov. Larry Hogan's BaltimoreLink bus system overhaul, the Maryland Transit Administration has budgeted $11 million to install sensors on 200 local buses — out of 760 — and city traffic signals that will keep traffic lights green for six to 10 seconds longer when a bus is approaching, and shorten red lights for waiting buses by the same amount of time.

The goal of the Transit Signal Priority technology — along with the planned creation of five miles of bus-only lanes and removal of hundreds of underused bus stops — is to allow buses to spend more time moving and less time in traffic, increasing on-time rates across the system.

"The system has not been efficient, and it has not been reliable," MTA administrator Paul Comfort acknowledged. "It takes too long to ride the bus to travel half a mile."
...

http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-md-mta-bus-sensors-20170323-story.html
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BYCYCLING APP: EMPLOYERS REWARD STAFF FOR MILES RODE

Biking Elsewhere-> Springwise reports ByCycling, a new cycling app, lets companies track how many miles staff have cycled, and reward them accordingly. (http://bit.ly/2o1iQKz) This incentive app is mainly aimed at middle to large companies wanting to promote a healthier lifestyle among staff. Users who want to partake download the app, join the company’s group (or departmental sub-group) then the software keeps track of users’ miles in a leaderboard. The app’s most inventive feature is that it doesn’t require users to pull out their phones and start/stop with each ride. It can tell using the phone’s sensors when the user is cycling, so the miles are calculated in the background. http://bit.ly/2oQHDPb

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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APHA: 2017 THE YEAR OF CLIMATE CHANGE & HEALTH

Biking Elsewhere-> The American Public Health Association has declared 2017 the Year of Climate Change and Health. (http://bit.ly/2p76NsX) They report that in 2016, transportation surpassed power plants to become the largest source of carbon dioxide pollution in the US. Vehicles are a major contributor to smog and other unhealthy air pollution. Between the immediate effects of tailpipe pollution and longer-term changes in climate from burning fossil fuels, America faces many more missed school days, hospital visits and premature deaths from dirtier air, contaminated food and water, more extreme heat and storms, and vector-borne illnesses. Our continued heavy dependence on fossil fuels in transportation is a particular threat to children, who also face a variety of developmental and behavioral disorders associated with pollution. We have a golden opportunity to work with MPOs and DOTs as they implement MAP-21 performance management requirements to make America’s transportation system cleaner and healthier. http://bit.ly/2p7oLvs

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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AAA’s Latest Road Safety Report Ignores the Obvious: We Should Be Driving Less

Biking ElsewhereBy Stephen Miller, Streets Blog

Among developed nations, the United States ranks near the bottom for traffic safety. And it’s not getting better, as the number of annual traffic deaths climbs above the 40,000 mark. To reverse this trend, the AAA Foundation for Road Safety this week released a report that prioritizes six road design changes it says would do the most to reduce the death toll. There’s just one problem: AAA’s report doesn’t consider the idea that, to save lives, we should be driving less.

There are two commonly used measuring sticks to assess traffic safety. One is tracking how many people are killed per mile driven, which frames safety efforts in terms of make driving safer. The U.S. has improved a lot on this front over time, according to OECD statistics cited by AAA, but at 1.14 deaths per 100 million miles driven, it still has a middling record — better than South Korea and the Czech Republic, which clock in above 2.0, but far worse than Sweden, which has just 0.52 deaths per 100 million miles driven.

The other metric is how many people are killed per capita, which tends to lead to solutions that reduce exposure to driving and encourage walking, bicycling, and transit. It’s here that the U.S. really fails: America’s fatality rate of 10.6 deaths per 100,000 people is far behind other developed nations and disastrously worse than world leaders like Sweden and the United Kingdom, where fewer than three of every 100,000 people die on the road.
...

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/05/03/aaas-latest-road-safety-report-ignores-the-obvious-we-should-be-driving-less/

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