Martin Treat: DOT and Pedestrian Safety-Good News

Good news on DOT’s focus on Pedestrian Safety in the scope NYMTC study Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Traffic Study.  In December, before he left for duty in Iraq, Chris Hardej of NYMTC’s Designing Streets for Pedestrian Safety, told me that many DOT professionals have taken the workshop and more are coming in the spring.  Seth Berman and Andrew Lenton are graduates of this Federal Highway administered workshop and, after reviewing it myself and getting a crash course from Chris, I also can testify to its strengths.

I hope many of the principles of this pedestrian safety workshop get into our scope.  For example, in the companion book to the study, Pedestrian Safety in the NYMTC Region (9/7), Page 76, NYCDOT statistics are presented that sing the praise of Lead Pedestrian Intervals:  “King (1999) found a 12 percent decrease in vehicular-pedestrian crashes after the implementation of LPI at some New York City intersections.  When compared to control sites and factored for severity, he estimated 64 percent decrease in crashes.”  It would be great to here an update of that kind of study.

And for Split Phasing:  “NYCDOT found an average reduction of 86 percent in pedestrian-vehicle conflicts after the implementation of split phasing at 12 midtown Manhattan intersections, as well as a ten percent decrease in pedestrian crashes, and a reduction of 52 percent in illegal pedestrian crossings.”

On page 77 the Barnes Dance or exclusive pedestrian phase gets a 50% reduction in pedestrian clashes.  An example of a great Table to add to our study can be found on Page 73 (PSNYMTCRegion) “Speed Impacts Downstream of Traffic Calming Measures” where the “Hump” (speed bump) scores highest, but “Narrowing” (neck down) is also a good scorer in reducing clashes with pedestrians.

            Surely our DOT will come up with tables, charts, graphs and statistics that show advantage (or not, in some circumstances) of traffic calming measures instead of so much of Travel Demand and System Management outcomes.  Please make the pedestrian safety a valid outcome with material that points the way.  Especially, we look forward in improvements to the chapter titled Task 4: Development of Improvement Plans/Alternatives (Page 18) where, in former drafts, pedestrian safety is dropped altogether.  In other words, the goal of pedestrian safety and a better pedestrian and biking environment needs more concrete demonstration in the scope.  For example, how about a table showing, according to statistics, the most dangerous intersections and related cause of the clash along with those pedestrian count locations?

            I got curious about the workshops in Designing Streets for Pedestrian Safety that Chris Hardej manages for NYMTC and thought maybe our TAC could get a presentation or members can join the workshop.  Chris writes back by e-mail:   “To date, we have been limiting attendees to the agency people as we want to ensure that this training gets to the implementers.  I can let those agency people on your TAC know about this workshop in May.  This course is always full as we usually always have 35 people.

Seth Berman will be aware of the training as he is my safety contact.”Very good news; we have an expert in our midst.

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