LPIs and bicyclists

Following on to the benefits of leading pedestrian interval (LPI) signals for walkers, more LPIs, these signals can also benefit bicyclists.

I routinely see bicyclists proceeding on the pedestrian signal, before the traffic signal has turned green, at every location with a LPI. And that’s what I do. Technically it is not legal to do so, so I would like to see state law changed so that it clearly is legal. Even though unlikely to be enforced, there is no reason to give law enforcement a pretext to harass bicyclists.

The permission should be for bicyclists proceeding straight, not for bicyclists turning. Though a turning bicyclist presents a tiny fraction of the danger to walkers of a motor vehicle driver, I still don’t want to see walkers using the LPI to feel intimidated by bicyclists.

When the stop as yield at stop signs, and the stop and proceed when safe at stop lights, is eventually passed in California (this is called the Idaho stop law, though it is now in several other states and being considered in more), this proceed on LPI will become moot. However, being somewhat cynical (or very), I suspect that CHP will succeed in deep-sixing any such change in law for a number of years.

The simpler step forward of permitted bicyclists to proceed straight on LPI should not be controversial with anyone, and could be passed and implemented this this legislative session.

Sac Grid 2.0 additions

The Sac Grid 2.0 plan is a good one which I mostly support, but I have had, and do, and will have, some suggestions that I think would improved it.

Access to and from the Sacramento Valley Station (Amtrak) is of critical importance for walkers, bicyclists, and transit users. Bicycling and walking are handicapped by the one-way streets, high-volume and high-speed streets, and prohibited pedestrian crossings. It is not clear from the maps presented, and the projects may not have been clearly enough defined, to know whether these issues will be completely or only partially solved by the Sac Grid 2.0 plan and resulting projects. Two key issues are: 1) exactly how I Street will be modified to improve access, and 2) whether access will be provided to the train platforms from the Class IV separated bikeway through the railyards that connects F Street in the east to Jibboom St and the Sacramento River Bike Trail on the west.

There are locations where pedestrian space is already so constrained and pedestrian use is so high that some roadway must be reallocated to sidewalks. Two examples are 16th Street between P and O Streets on the east side, where the restaurant seating leaves far to little pedestrian space, and J Street between 21st and 22nd Streets on the north side, with the same issue. As more and more properties are redeveloped and the pedestrian realm activated along 16th Street and J Street, these issues will become more profound. The city is already proposing some reallocation in both these locations, but I am concerned that the reallocation will be to bicyclists and not to pedestrians. Despite myself being primarily a bicyclist, I believe that pedestrians are more important than bicyclists to making a place livable, walkable, and economically successful. So I hope that in cases where a limited amount of road space must be reallocated to one or the other, pedestrians will receive preference.

The Chicago complete streets mode priority diagram, which I’ve shared before, visually summarizes my feelings about transportation in the grid, and beyond. I’d like to see the city adopt this diagram to express priorities. I know some in the bicyclist advocacy community would like to see bicycle in position one or two, but I think the indicated priorities will lead to the most livable place, and therefore the happiest environment for everyone.

ChicagoCompleteStreets

The city has said that the element maps will be posted to the Sac Grid website soon, and when that happens, I can point out some additional areas of concern.

bicyclist collisions in Sacramento

This post complements my recent post on pedestrian collisions in Sacramento. Please see that post for details about data sources (SWITRS GIS Map in TIMS) and mapping.

The collisions mapped are:

  • Date: 01-01-2004 to 12-31-2012
  • Location: City of Sacramento only (no, I can’t explain why some are outside the city)
  • Victim role: Bicyclist
  • Victim degree of injury: Killed or Severe Injury
  • 143 collisions (the pedestrian collisions were 388)

The overall number of bicyclist collisions in the killed or severe injury category over this nine year period is low enough that patterns may not accurately represent hazardous roadways since a small number of collisions can significantly change the pattern.

The first map, a point map of the entire city, shows:

  • the greatest density of collisions is in downtown/midtown, but there are certainly plenty in other areas
  • almost all collisions happen at intersections, not mid-block
  • almost all collisions are associated with major streets, called arterials and collectors, which are wide and high speed, intended to move motor vehicle traffic at speed rather than provide for multi-modal transportation

bicyclist collisions, City of Sacramento, killed or severe injury
bicyclist collisions, City of Sacramento, killed or severe injury

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Slaughter on the roadways

In the last there days, Monday through Wednesday, at least four people died when struck by car drivers, and two others were injured. I know that the Sacramento Bee does not report all pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and injuries, so there may have been more in the region, but this is an incredible level of slaughter.

The SacBee articles so far are:

The better of these articles describe the outcome and location in a factual manner. The poorer ones place the blame on the victim. This victim blaming is aided and abetted by the law enforcement officers who make the assumption that either a) it was a “tragic accident” that could not have been prevented or b) the driver was not drunk and remained at the scene, so clearly it is the pedestrian or bicyclist’s fault. Both are nonsensical statements and ideas.

Continue reading “Slaughter on the roadways”