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.
February 29, 2012, 12pm PST | Irvin Dawid
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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:
Published on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 in The New York Times - Room For Debate
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