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For pedestrians to be safe, we can't assume that streets are inherently for cars


By PETER NORTON, The Globe and Mail

You've seen them. Pedestrians on sidewalks or even crossing streets, faces down, their attention more on a device than on their surroundings. Such "phone zombies" can be a nuisance to other pedestrians. The practice can also be dangerous. Responses have varied. A few Chinese cities have tried dividing sidewalks to separate device users from other walkers. Some cities have special signs or lights for phone users. In Honolulu, pedestrians can now be fined if police deem their phone use hazardous. Ontario is considering a similar measure.

The most recent national data from 2015 show that 283 pedestrians were killed in Canada. In the United States, 5,376 were killed – a 10-per-cent increase over 2014 and the highest pedestrian death toll in almost 20 years.


Pedestrians will become visible to drivers only when drivers expect them to be in streets. The success of shared space in several European cities gives us a clear duty at least to consider it for North American cities. But as long as we are the heirs of a history we don't know, and which misleads us into assuming that streets are inherently for cars, and that we North Americans always preferred it that way, we will not give this method the attention it deserves. And until we overcome this obstacle, pedestrians will keep getting killed.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/walking-shouldnt-be-life-threatening-even-for-phonezombies/article37668637/

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U.S. kids die from traffic fatalities at twice the rate of other wealthy nations

A study calls on Americans to do “everything possible” to address these preventable deaths


By Alissa Walker

The study, published in Health Affairs this month, compared child mortality rates in 20 wealthy, democratic countries since 1960. Over the last half century, the rate of childhood death decreased in all nations except the U.S. A child born in the United States today has a 70 percent greater chance of dying before age 20 than in those countries.

“All U.S. policymakers, pediatric health professionals, child health advocates, and families should be troubled by these findings,” reads the study. “The findings should motivate Americans to do everything possible to improve the medical and social conditions of children that are responsible for these preventable deaths.”


https://www.curbed.com/platform/amp/2018/1/10/16871152/traffic-deaths-children-vision-zero
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Traffic delaying pedestrian flow is a cost too


[B' Spoke: Imagine using the same methodology in determining the cost of delaying drivers to delaying pedestrians. I am now wondering why nobody thought of that before, time wasted is time wasted as long as you are a person at the mercy of traffic engineers poor decisions.]

http://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/articles/news/2018/6/traffic-delaying-pedestrian-flow-is-a-cost-too/
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America Lags Behind Other High-Income Countries In Road Safety, Vision For Zero Deaths Proposed


A new, comprehensive report that proposes a template for how to end all traffic deaths in the United States by 2050 was released last week by the Road to Zero Coalition, an alliance of more than 650 organizations.


America lags behind 19 comparable countries when it comes to road safety, the council said, referring to a 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that analyzed data compiled by the World Health Organization and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).


https://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyamohn/2018/04/24/america-lags-behind-other-high-income-countries-in-road-safety-vision-for-zero-deaths-proposed/
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The button is false


The story below reminded me how the talking pedestrian crossings around the inner harbor had to be programmed to say "No one has pressed the button." but they decided on "The button is false." A lot clearer and an improvement in pedestrian safety right? I'm not sure if they still do that but still, a totally different attitude than what's described below.
- B' Spokes

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MANY BOSTON, MA (& ELSEWHERE) PED WALK BUTTONS DO NOTHING
-> The Boston Globe reports the vast majority of walk buttons that dot downtown neighborhoods, don’t actually do anything. Officials say the city’s core is just too congested — with cars and pedestrians — to allow any one person to manipulate the cycle. Other major cities around the world, including New York, Seattle, and London, follow similar protocols. While pedestrians may be irked to learn they have been pressing what amount to placebo buttons, Boston officials say the setting is actually aimed at making life easier for walkers by eliminating the need to push a button at all. There was a time when pedestrians needed to press the device to ensure they got their turn. Now, traffic lights at many busy intersections are programmed to assume that pedestrians are constantly looking to cross. http://bit.ly/2vNQjgD

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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How fire chiefs and traffic engineers make places less safe


By STEVE MOUZON , CNU

[B' Spokes: Mostly about the fire department's effort in Florida to remove street trees but still he makes a great point:]

...
On the divide between traffic safety and fire safety, consider this: if you only count deaths by automobile of people walking and people cycling, that’s 19.4 per million in the US, which is almost 50% more than the egregious 12.4 per million deaths by fire in the US each year. To be really blunt, if every fire department in the US closed up shop and dedicated themselves to reducing deaths of people walking and biking to zero, 2,100 lives would be saved in the US every year. Over my lifetime of 57 years, 119,700 people we’ve buried or cremated would have lived instead, with not a single fire station open in the US. To be clear, I’m not advocating for that. What I am advocating for is for fire chiefs and fire marshals to open their eyes and realize that when they do something in the interest of fire safety that damages walking and biking safety, they’re likely killing people!
...

https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2017/03/27/how-fire-chiefs-and-traffic-engineers-make-places-less-safe
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Cities With the Most Highway Miles: a “Who’s Who” of Decay


By Angie Schmitt, Streets Blog

This is fascinating. Using data from the FHWA, the esteemed Patrick Kennedy at Network blog Walkable Dallas Fort Worth has cobbled together a list of the American cities with the highest number of estimated highway lane miles per capita.

See if you notice any similarities (this is per 1,000 people):
...
10. Baltimore – .724
...

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2012/04/20/cities-with-the-most-highway-miles-a-whos-who-of-decay/
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EDMONTON: DATA DISPELS RATIONALE FOR BLAMING PED VICTIMS


-> Streetsblog USA reports an Edmonton, Alberta walking and cycling commuter used the city’s own motor vehicle collision data to make a chart showing who — or, more often, what — is on the receiving end when Edmonton motorists crash their cars. Of the more than 27,000 crashes recorded in Edmonton, Alberta last year, 91% involved another motor vehicle. Of the 478 collisions in which a driver struck a cyclist or pedestrian, just 51 involved people crossing without the right of way. And of the city’s 10 pedestrian fatalities last year, just one was crossing without the right of way. Despite these facts, the city and province have focused heavily on blaming jaywalkers for traffic fatalities. Shifting responsibility to the people most vulnerable to traffic and away from the people piloting multi-ton, high-speed vehicles, in the process absolving governments that design dangerous roads doesn’t sit well with many Edmonton residents concerned about traffic safety. http://bit.ly/2rpeA78

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Bringing Complete Streets to Baltimore City


[B' Spokes: Catching up on some old stuff that still has relevant issues. This is from Ryan Dorsey's web site:]

...
Consider the following data on the current state of our streets:

* With 20,035 crashes per year, the City is Maryland's most dangerous jurisdiction. The number of crashes per vehicle mile traveled (VMT) is 3.7 times the state average. Crashes cause traffic delay, property damage, injury, and death.
* The Baltimore MSA is 10th worst for traffic fatalities involving pedestrians, at 20%.
* Our average commute is 31 minutes and average transit commute 50 minutes, among the highest in the U.S.
...


* Transportation poses a barrier to employment for City residents even for jobs located in the City. City residents only hold 34.6% of City jobs.
* In Baltimore, high crash areas include the Greater Penn-North area, Bel-Air Edison, and Southern Park Heights, all majority Black neighborhoods.
* Children, older adults, and persons of color are disproportionately affected by pedestrian crashes. Nationwide, African American and Latino cyclists are 30% and 23% more likely to suffer a biking fatality than White cyclists, and the fatality rate for African American and Latino pedestrians is 60% and 43% higher than for White pedestrians.
* Automobile dependency extracts money out of our local economy and deprives businesses of customers and communities of investment that come with Complete Streets.

In our City, there are 8 Community Statistical Areas (developed by Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance) where more than 50% of the households do not have access to a personal vehicle. In some census tracts within these areas, the rate can climb as high as 80%. These Community Statistical Areas are:

Cherry Hill (51.8% no vehicle access)
Southwest Baltimore (52.8%)
Sandtown-Winchester/Harlem Park (56.3%)
Madison/East End (56.6%)
Greenmount East (57.8%)
Poppleton/The Terraces/Hollins Market (58.9%)
Upton/Druid Heights (67.5%)
Oldtown/Middle East (71.6%)
...

http://www.electryandorsey.com/single-post/2017/02/15/Bringing-Complete-Streets-to-Baltimore-City
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