What Is the Best Way to Improve Safety for Cyclists and Pedestrians?

In response to an eye-opening Atlantic Cities article about the lack of enforcement of traffic laws in NYC, especially as it contributes to pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths, four esteemed debaters offer opinions on how to improve safety.

The New York Times solicited four short essays on what Atlantic Cities reporter Sarah Goodyear advocates as the 'Broken Windows' approach to traffic safety, referring to the NYPD pioneered tactic of, "targeting petty 'quality of life' crimes such as public drinking, turnstile-jumping, and, perhaps most notoriously, squeegeeing."

For Goodyear, its application to traffic safety would require, "the NYPD to get out from behind their windshields and start systematically ticketing people who run red lights and rocket down residential streets and blow off stop signs. Catching the small stuff can change the culture and avoid the worst outcomes for everyone."

The four contributors are:
* Tracey L. Meares of Yale Law School writing "Taking Traffic Violations Seriously". Pointing to a successful program in Miami, she suggests that the NYPD consider the "Red Light/Green Light" program "which contained a substantial traffic enforcement component, in the most deadly areas of the city. Vehicular deaths plummeted."

* David V. Herlihy, author of "Bicycle: The History", writing "The Onus on Cyclists and Drivers". Historically he points out that "fatal accidents involving speeding urban cyclists would indeed mar the great bicycle boom of the 1890s."

* Tom Vanderbilt, author of "Traffic: Why we drive the way we do", writing "The Power of Being Pulled Over", also points to a successful program in Miami "that included decoy pedestrians, feedback flyers, written and verbal warnings, and saturation enforcement for a 2-week period" that NYPD should consider. Vanderbuilt also contrasts NYC's traffic law enforcement with its rigorous enforcement of its parking regulations.

*Peter Calthorpe, new urbanist land use planner, writing "It Starts with Better Design". Calthorpe writes "the more we design for cars, the less walkable, bikeable and enjoyable our streets become - and therefore the more we want to drive."

Thanks to Mark Boshnack

Full Story: Making Cities Safer for Cyclists and Pedestrians



Reduce automobile ues

Get the drivers off their phones! Drive the car or talk on the phone. Pick one. "hands-free" is BS. It's mind free---if your mind is on your phone call, it isn't on the road--it is certainly not paying attention to cyclists and pedestrians around you.

Traffic Calming. Speed limit to 20mph and creation of Bicycle Blvds can be really PRO business since 'through-traffic' in a hurry people will avoid those streets, but curious tourists. Slower moving drivers are much more likely to stop. (citation?) Cyclists and pedestrians will feel much safer in these areas and utilize them more.

Set city policies to encourage alternate transportation:
Make is less convenient to drive by charging appropriate prices for meters and garage use. Parking spaces are expensive. Taxpayers should NOT subsidize them. Making it easier to move around on foot and by bike in the urban areas, and cities/colleges promoting public transportation can help to get people out of their cars (more often). Use ticket and parking meter revenues to pay for the street/sidewalk repair and to assist the public transport system.

Get rid of "parking requirements" per zoning. Let the market decide. City mandates for apartment houses to CHARGE for parking spaces separately can help people decide to opt-out of using their car in the city. It is an unfair burden to include parking prices with the housing--this along with minimum parking requirements are the "seed for MORE cars".

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
-- Nelson Henderson

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