Friday, January 30, 2009

Downtown Bicycle-Pedestrian Gap Analysis

Design New Haven has posted an in-depth roundup of the city's public meeting, including press coverage, here:

From one article: "The suggested improvements found support from residents like Meg Howard, who works for Atelier Ten, a London-based environment-friendly infrastructure consulting firm with an office in New Haven. “I have no car, so I walk or bike everywhere,” she said. “I need safe streets.”"

At the meeting, Nelson/Nygaard recommended improving crosswalk signaling, eliminating right-turn-on-reds, and establishing a safer bicycle route system to Union Station. Funded by SCRCOG, the group has also been working "behind the scenes" on other projects affecting Downtown New Haven, including the 360 State Street development.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Groups Call for Transit, Bike, and Pedestrian Prioritization in Local Stimulus Projects

Advocates for bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users will join Representative Thomas Kehoe and Senator Andrew Roraback in calling for the inclusion of “shovel ready” bike, pedestrian, and transit projects in local communities’ use of federal infrastructure dollars. “We have a unique opportunity to leverage the federal economic stimulus funding to jumpstart shovel ready bike, pedestrian and transit projects in communities across Connecticut. Now is the time to make the changes that matter to the health and well-being of the state’s residents and businesses, to insure that newly funded transportation projects will serve our communities now and in the future.” stated Representative Thomas Kehoe, D, Glastonbury.

Advocates have been working hard to make the case for a balanced transportation system with more choices for walkers and bikers and transit users. “ We envision a state where residents have the option to get out of their cars and have a choice to walk, bike, or use transit to get to work, school, and for recreation,” states Senator Roraback, R, greater Litchfield.

Commissioner Marie has demonstrated a new direction for ConnDOT that emphasizes projects that encourage biking, walking and the use of transit. These are healthy, green and economical alternatives that can break our dependence upon cars and foreign oil while also creating many jobs. With nearly 25% of the federal transportation stimulus being allocated to local projects, we need to ensure that “shovel ready” and transit-supportive bike and pedestrian projects are prioritized, rewarding those communities moving the state towards a balanced mobility system and encouraging others to follow suit. Even repaving projects which provide immediate jobs can include traffic calming and other transit and pedestrian amenities and safety enhancements.

The advocates will present their case at a press conference on January 29 at 11 am in Room 2E of the Legislative Office Building, Hartford.

Central CT Bike Alliance, CT Association for Community Transportation, CT Bike Coalition, CT Commission on Children, CT Fund for the Environment, CT Greenways Association, CT Livable Streets Campaign, Elm City Cycling, Regional Plan Association, Transit for Connecticut, Tri-State Transportation Campaign

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How Dangerous is Driving?

See here for a paper on the topic by Todd Litman, of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute. The blog publishing this piece (which had been widely circulating through email among urban planning circles for months), Walk Bike CT, is relatively new and has a number of other insightful articles on ped/bike policy issues around the State.


"Another little-recognized fact is that per capita traffic fatality rates are far lower in pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented, smart growth communities than in conventional, automobile-dependent communities. Automobile oriented suburbs have about four times the traffic fatality rate as smart growth communities. This appears to reflect the combination of increased total driving, higher traffic speeds, and society's inability to withdraw driving privileges to high risk drivers in automobile-dependent communities."

"All of those families that move to automobile-dependent suburbs to provide a safe and healthy place to raise their children are mistaken: they have actually increased their children's chance of dying a violent death."

Also see this article in this month's New Urban News, covering a study showing that traffic-dependent areas have traffic fatality rates that are 225% higher than walkable areas.


The newer cities tend to have more “dendritic” networks — branching, tree-like organizations that include many cul-de-sacs, limiting the movement of traffic through residential areas. They also don’t have as many intersections. The pre-1950 cities, on the other hand, tend to be more grid-like, giving motorists many more routes to choose from.

For several decades, traffic specialists believed a tree-like hierarchy of streets was superior because it made residential neighborhoods quieter and presumably safer. But an American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) study cited by the UConn researchers points out that more-connected street networks tend to reduce travel speeds. That’s important because even a small reduction in speed can boost safety — mainly by reducing the severity of the accidents.