Jonathan Maus: Post-pandemic traffic is weighing on me (BikePortland)
Could we have been more ambitious with temporary, pop-up road diets and bike lane networks? Did we miss a perfect political moment to fundamentally alter peoples’ perceptions of street potential? Did we fight off one virus, only to allow another — the congestion and catastrophic climate and community-destroying consequences of car abuse — to re-infect us?
Joseph Stromberg: The forgotten history of how automakers invented the crime of "jaywalking" (Vox)
In the 1920s, auto groups redefined who owned the city streets.
The idea that pedestrians shouldn't be permitted to walk wherever they liked had been present as far back as 1912, when Kansas City passed the first ordinance requiring them to cross streets at crosswalks. But in the mid-20s, auto groups took up the campaign with vigor, passing laws all over the country.
Most notably, auto industry groups took control of a series of meetings convened by Herbert Hoover (then secretary of commerce) to create a model traffic law that could be used by cities across the country. Due to their influence, the product of those meetings — the 1928 Model Municipal Traffic Ordinance — was largely based off traffic law in Los Angeles, which had enacted strict pedestrian controls in 1925.
"The crucial thing it said was that pedestrians would cross only at crosswalks, and only at right angles," Norton says. "Essentially, this is the traffic law that we're still living with today."
Auto campaigners lobbied police to publicly shame transgressors by whistling or shouting at them — and even carrying women back to the sidewalk — instead of quietly reprimanding or fining them. They staged safety campaigns in which actors dressed in 19th-century garb, or as clowns, were hired to cross the street illegally, signifying that the practice was outdated and foolish. In a 1924 New York safety campaign, a clown was marched in front of a slow-moving Model T and rammed repeatedly.
Inequity, car design are major factors in walking deaths says reporter Angie Schmitt (Bike Portland)
America has a long history of ignoring problems when they impact mostly poor people of color or other marginalized groups. According to Schmitt, the epidemic of traffic deaths to vulnerable people is just another example. She pointed out that black people and Native Americans are are two times and four-and-and-half times more likely to be killed while walking than white people are. Similar risks exist for people over 75 years old, who are twice as likely to die.
Instead of blaming victims because they’d been drinking alcohol or because they live outside adjacent to dangerous streets, Schmitt says we should be doing more to keep these groups of people out of harm’s way. “We know they’re out there, but we’re not doing a good job protecting them.”
Laura Bliss: The Freeway Fight of the Century Is Coming to Portland (CityLab)
Widening highways is bad for property values in the short term—indeed, the construction of I-5 through Portland in the 1960s kicked out homeowners, depressed home values, and helped set the neighborhood up for decades of disinvestment. Over the longer term, however, there’s evidence that highway caps, just like any other “adaptive reuse” project (think: High Line), can and do help property values rise. In the absence of intentional policies to preserve affordable housing and opportunity—something that Portland has long failed to offer, though that may be slowly changing—there’s really nothing to guarantee that the “restoration” of Albina’s grid will serve the people who have lived there, and suffered the disconnecting presence of I-5, the longest. And that’s on top of the environmental harm that more lanes and more cars are likely to bring.
If Portland wants to reconnect neighborhood grids and provide transit and biking infrastructure, why not just do that? Rather than pour half a billion dollars (a cost that is all but sure to rise) into what is, at the end of the day, a wider freeway, the city and state might first try taming traffic with tolls or congestion fees, as New York City is again contemplating. That’s a solution that might help Portland live up to its ultra-progressive reputation. Finally.
A site to promote the safer far-hand Dutch Reach habit to get out of your car. It prevents dooring 'accidents'/crashes that injure & kill bicyclists. You too are safer because you naturally turn & see on-coming traffic before and as you exit.
Wired: The Man Who Could Unsnarl Manhattan Traffic
Statistician has a fifty-worksheet Excel file filled with numbers and ideas, mostly based on 'congestion pricing', that could fix the traffic problems of NYC.
“Komanoff is a dyed-in-the-wool stats geek, and the BTA demonstrates his faith in data. By measuring the problem—the amount of time and money lost in traffic every year—we can begin to solve it, he says. We can turn the knobs on the entire transportation system to maximize efficiency. Komanoff’s model suggests a world in which everything from subway fares to bridge tolls can be precisely tuned throughout the day, allowing city planners to steer traffic flow as quickly and smoothly as a taxi driver tooling his cab down Broadway on a quiet Sunday morning.”
"In Melbourne I developed a way-finding-system for the Eureka Tower Carpark. The distored letters on the wall can be read perfectly when standing at the right position." I wonder how well this really works.
The mayor of La Paz, Bolivia, has instituted a program where in teenagers dress up as zebras and act as crossing guards. This helps solve the problem of dangerous traffic in La Paz. This is great. Absolutely great.