Sac Vision Zero top ped intersections

As promised, a follow-on to my post on the top bicycle collision intersections in Sacramento (Sac Vision Zero Top 5 Corridors and top intersections), here is the same sort of analysis for pedestrian collisions. I used a somewhat different data set, this time only killed and severe injury crashes (KSI), for the years 2009-2017. This mirrors the data the city used in the Vision Zero Top 5 Corridors document, and so is not directly comparable to the different criteria I used on the bicycle post.

Pedestrian (walker) collisions are more dispersed that bicycle collisions, fewer occurring at intersections and more in between. Of the 408 collisions, 70 were at intersections, 17%, compared to 69% for bicycle collisions. Of these 408 collisions, twelve intersections stood out: Amherst St & Florin Rd, Marysville Blvd & Grand Ave, and Watt Ave & Auburn Blvd, each with three; and 15th St & Capitol Mall, 29th St & Florin Rd, 5th St & N St, 7th St & J St, Stockton Blvd & Broadway, Stockton Blvd & Lemon Hill Ave, Riverside Dr & X St, and Julliard Dr & Kiefer Blvd & Folsom Blvd, each with two. Of these 12 intersections, 4 are on Top Five corridors: Marysville Blvd & Grand Ave on the Marysville corridor, Stockton Blvd & Broadway on the Stockton-Broadway corridor, Stockton Blvd & Lemon Hill Ave on the South Stockton corridor, and 29th St & Florin Rd on the Florin corridor.

The map belows shows the city corridors and the twelve intersections, with the number of collisions and intersection name labeled. There is also a pdf available.

map Vision Zero top pedestrian intersections
Sacramento pedestrian collision top intersections, with Vision Zero corridors

There is a better alignment between the five designated corridors and pedestrian collision intersections than was true for bicycle collisions.

I will point out that the Julliard Dr & Kiefer Blvd & Folsom Blvd intersection is the site of three pedestrian collisions and four bicycle collisions, which is higher than any other intersection in the city. It should really be a focus for the city.

Addition 2021-03-02: Someone asked how the pedestrian collision locations relate to disadvantaged communities. Below, a map with CalEnviroScreen 3 2018-06 (CES) layer, with red end being higher pollution, green being lower, and weighted with income. CES is not the only measure of disadvantage, but it is one commonly used.

Sac Vision Zero Top 5 Corridors and top intersections

As promised in my previous post, Sac Vision Zero flaws, here is a limited analysis of high injury network intersections in Sacramento. I used bicycle crashes for 2014 through 2018 from the SWITRS crash database, and matched these to intersections of arterials and collectors in the city. It is known that most crashes occur at or near intersections, not in between. Of the 1112 crashes in this time period, 763 occurred at intersections, or 69% (for all crash types, the city said it is 78%). I selected eight intersections to highlight, which had 4, 5, or 7 crashes at the intersection or within 120 feet of the intersection, meaning on the approach or departure from the intersection. The other 590 intersections had 3, 2, 1, or no crashes. I did not analyze the crashes for fatality or serious injury, but that would be a useful.

The map below shows the Sacramento Vision Zero Top 5 Corridors, in red, and the top eight crash intersections with a bicycle symbol. The number to the right is crashes, and the location is labeled with cross streets. This is also available as a pdf.

Of the eight intersections, one is part of the Florin corridor, at 24th Street and Florin Road. The other seven are not.

I ask that the city revise its Vision Zero program to include high injury intersections. The number might be as many as 10, and selection should include the same equity criteria used to select the corridors. That means that the three central city locations might not be selected, or might be lower on the priority list, and that is good. The challenge of the Stockton Blvd & Fruitridge Road intersection is that it is on the city/county boundary, so complete treatment of the intersection would require some cooperation with the county. But with seven bicycle crashes in the time period, it is a very important intersection.

A strong advantage to giving high injury intersections recognition and attention is that they could receive near-term safety improvements that require only reallocation of roadway width and new paint. Full safety improvements probably would require redesign of the intersection.

Again, I fully support the city’s Vision Zero efforts, and want to see them be the best they can be. That means including high injury intersections.

Addition 2021-03-02: Someone asked how the bicycle collision locations relate to disadvantaged communities. Below, a map with CalEnviroScreen 3 2018-06 (CES) layer, with red end being higher pollution, green being lower, and weighted with income. CES is not the only measure of disadvantage, but it is one commonly used.

Sac Vision Zero flaws

Edit: Added graphics for El Camino – Grove intersection and Broadway – Stockton intersection, excerpted from the Sacramento Vision Zero Top 5 Corridors document.

The Sacramento city council will be considering the new Sacramento Vision Zero Top 5 Corridors document at the council meeting on Tuesday, February 15. It is item 11 on the consent agenda, so will not be discussed unless a council member pulls it from the consent agenda.

I have taken a look at the document, though the one included with the with the agenda is a flat file, not searchable, and with low resolution graphics, making it hard to use. When a high resolution and searchable version becomes available, I’ll link to it.

The document continues the pattern established in the 2018 Vision Zero Action Plan of focusing on corridors and not on intersections. The five segments presented as the top five are segments of El Camino Avenue, Marysville Road, Broadway/Stockton Blvd, Stockton Blvd south, and Florin Road. I believe that this exclusive focus on corridors is a mistake. Nearly all other vision zero communities have a dual focus on corridors and intersections, but Sacramento does not.

The Vision Zero Action Plan acknowledges on page 11 that 78% of collisions occur at intersections, but then seems to ignore this fact in pursuit of corridor projects. Of course if a corridor is done correctly, the intersections will be fixed as part of the project. The issue is that these corridor projects will cost millions of dollars and will require seeking state and federal grants to accomplish. The costs are El Camino $16,450,000, Marysville $12,850,000, Broadway/Stockton $8,750,000, Stockton South $9,500,000, and Florin $11,900,000. And these are only for the most important fixes; less important or more expensive fixes are somewhere off in the distant future. But a focus on the high injury intersections within the corridor could yield significant safety benefit at much lower cost, perhaps within the range of general fund expenditures.

This focus on corridors leads to some flaws in the corridor plans. On El Camino, the plan misses that there is a dropped bike lane at eastbound at Grove Avenue and therefore does not recommend the countermeasure Extend Bike Lane to Intersection. At the Broadway/Stockton intersection, the plan does not recommend the countermeasure Bike Conflict Zone Markings for Broadway eastbound and westbound approaching Stockton, and seems to completely drop the bike lane on Stockton northbound approaching, even though a bike lane is already present there.

El Camino Ave & Grove Ave intersection
Broadway & Stockton Blvd intersection

Re-striping of lanes at intersections and green paint could make many intersections a great deal safer without requiring expensive intersection reconstruction and new signals. I recently wrote about Dropped bike lanes, using Broadway/Stockton as an example. Paint could fix a lot of the problems here.

The concerns expressed here are with bicycle facilities. I actually think pedestrian (walker) facilities are more important, but it will take a lot more time to look closely at those.

The bicycle-related countermeasures recommended in the Vision Zero Top 5 Corridors are:

  • Bike Conflict Zone Markings: Green pavement within a bike lane to increase visibility of bicyclists and to reinforce bike priority. The green pavement is used as a spot treatment in conflict areas such as driveways.
  • Class II Bike Lanes: Five to seven foot wide designated lanes for ‘bicyclists adjacent to vehicle travel lanes, delineated with pavement markings.
  • Close Bike Lane Gap: Closing gaps between bike lanes increases the amount of dedicated facilities bicyclists can use, reducing mixing of bicyclists and drivers and Increasing network connectivity and visibility of bicyclists m the roadway.
  • Extend Bike Lane to Intersection: In locations where a bike lane is dropped due to the addition of a right tum pocket the intersection approach may be re-striped to allow for bicyclists to move to the left side of right-turning vehicles ahead of reaching the intersection.
  • Provide Green Time For Bikes: Provide or prolong the green phase when bicyclists are present to provide additional time for bicyclist to clear the intersection. Can occur automatically in the signal phasing or when prompted with bike detection. Topography should be considered in clearance time.
  • Remove Right Turn Slip Lane: Closing a free-flow right-turn slip lane can help slow right turning drivers, eliminates an uncontrolled crossing for pedestrians, and shortens pedestrian crossing distances. The space reclaimed in closing the slip lane can be reused as pedestrian widen sidewalks, enhance curb ramps, more space for street furniture.
  • Separated/Buffered Bikeway: Designated bike lanes, separated from vehicle traffic by a physical barrier usually bollards, landscaping, or parked cars. These facilities can increase safety by decreasing opportunities for crashing with overtaking vehicles, and reducing the risk of dooring.
  • Slow Green Wave: A series of traffic signals, coordinated to allow for slower vehicle travel speeds through several intersections along a corridor. Coordinating signals for slower travel speeds gives bicyclists and pedestrians mare time to cross safely and encourages drivers to travel at slower speeds.

I support the Vision Zero concept and city actions to support this, but I want to make sure that both are the best they can be. I hope to look in the near future at the pedestrian elements of the Vision Zero Top 5 Corridors, the Vision Zero School Safety Study, and the high-injury intersections in Sacramento that have been missed through a focus on corridors.

Sacramento Vision Zero Top 5 outreach

This information from the City of Sacramento via email.

Vision Zero Top 5 Corridors Banner

We have added and updated upcoming outreach events for the Vision Zero Top 5 Corridors.

Join us to learn more about the Vision Zero Top 5 Corridors Study and share your experience biking, walking and driving along these streets at one of the following events:

 

Date and Time Event Location Corridor of Interest
Monday, November 5th

5:00-7:00 p.m.

Community Workshop Peter Burnett Elementary School

6032 36th Ave.

South Stockton Blvd.
Wednesday, November 7th

Noon-2:00 p.m.

Pop-up Event Transit stop at Broadway and Stockton near Food Source (4401 Broadway) Broadway/Stockton Blvd.
Saturday, November 10th

9:30-10:15 a.m.

Old North Sacramento/Dixieanne Community Association GraceCity

701 Dixieanne Ave.

El Camino Ave.
Thursday, November 15th

5:00-7:00 p.m.

Community Workshop Luther Burbank High School

3500 Florin Rd.

Florin Rd.
Thursday, November 15th

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Gardenland/Northgate Neighborhood Association Stanford Settlement Conference Room

450 W. El Camino Ave.

El Camino Ave.
Friday, November 16th

4:00pm-6:00 p.m.

Pop-up Event Grocery Outlet

2308 Del Paso Blvd.

El Camino Ave.
Wednesday, December 5th

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Hagginwood Community Association William J. Kinney Police Facility

3550 Marysville Blvd.

Marysville Blvd.

 

About the Study


In 2017, the City of Sacramento identified the five corridors in Sacramento with the highest numbers of fatal and serious crashes involving pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.

The Vision Zero Top Five Corridor Study will analyze the factors that contribute to these corridors’ high crash rates.  Based on technical analysis, community input, and best practices in roadway safety and design, the study will identify improvements for each of these corridors that can be implemented in the near-term.

More information about the project is available at http://visionzerosac.org

Community meeting on crosswalks – 2

Part one, Community meeting on crosswalks, prior posts:  removal of crosswalksDon’t use the ‘A’ word. Next related post will be about Zegeer.

Question and answer session of the meeting:

  • The city is doing a speed study on Freeport from Sutterville Rd to Meadowview Rd, and will include part of Sutterville (not clear what part)
  • There are no red light cameras on Freeport; the city piggybacks on country red light program
  • There are no lead pedestrian interval signals on Freeport, or even is south Sacramento (all are in the central city); Ryan Moore said these should not be used in low pedestrian areas (which is false)
  • Resident commented on Fruitridge Rd, 24th to Freeport, a lot of red light running and few safe crossings
  • Resident who lives on Oregon suggested changing the speed limit on Freeport
  • Steve Hansen says that the city would like to change Freeport, but to do so, the community (residents, businesses, neighborhood associations) will need to come together to decide how; people will have to give up some time for better safety; he also mentioned narrow sidewalks with obstructions
  • Several people asked about or commented on specific sections and intersections; Matt mentioned catching egregious speeders
  • South Land Park Neighborhood Association (Ryan?) asked what public notice there was before crosswalk removal and said they were not notified; not clear if the other two were notified
  • Ryan Moore said that each removal was analyzed, he says they followed the law of CA MUTCD; said most of the removals were result of complaints; said neighborhood input makes no difference; mentioned FHWA info on crosswalks, referring to Zegeer report though not by name (more info about Zegeer in a future post)
  • Neighbor said that any process that removes crosswalks is flawed; mentioned no still phase on signals (time between red one direction and green the other); going out of the way is not reasonable to ask; can’t have data on people walking because people are scared to walk
  • Steve Hansen and Jay Schenirer want to review pedestrian guidelines, not sure what document this is; said we need to talk about equity because the top corridors of Vision Zero concern are not necessarily located in disadvantaged communities
  • Neighbor said speed display signs don’t seem to have any effect on behavior; asks for immediate action and not years out
  • Ryan Moore continually says “we’d like to but we can’t” but offers no proof; continues to say that crosswalks at this volume and speed are not safe
  • Neighbor said there are bus stops close to Oregon which is true and which might make removal a violation of Title 6
  • Issue of sidewalk maintenance responsibility has come up several times; city continues to insist that it is the responsibility of the property owner (even though most sidewalks are part of the public right-of-way and all are part of the transportation network)
  • Many people pointed out that improvements could have been made at the Freeport-Oregon intesection, such as bulb-outs, refuge median, lighting; there is a median already but it is too narrow to provide refuge
  • Participant asked for a pedestrian commission, Jennifer Donlon Wyant said the the city Active Transportation Commission would be seated in April or May
  • Jay Schenirer wrapped, mentioned that McClatchy students drove the changes to Freeport north of Sutterville Rd

My overall take on the community meeting is that the city council members and the public, both residents of the neighborhood and others, want proactive changes to increase pedestrian safety and walkability. They don’t want excuses. Ryan Moore, the Interim City Traffic Engineer, seem prepared only to offer excuses.

Of all the people on stage, Ryan Moore seemed the least sympathetic to the person killed, or the issues that it raises. He said much the same thing he’d said to the SacBee: “Instead, traffic engineers hope that by removing some crosswalks, pedestrians will instinctively choose to cross at a safer, nearby intersection,” Moore said. He kept referring to federal and state standards that were being followed, though a number of people in the audience who know a great deal about traffic engineering noticed that he was mis-stating and mis-using standards and research to defend his actions and opinions.

Community meeting on crosswalks

I had promised I’d report on the community meeting to address the crosswalk removal over Freeport at Oregon and related issues, but it has taken me a while. Previous posts: removal of crosswalksDon’t use the ‘A’ word. For background, see the SacBee article: Why Sacramento erased 23 crosswalks, including one where a grandmother died after removal.

The meeting was hosted by City of Sacramento council members Jay Schenirer and Steve Hansen, and school board president Jessie Ryan, and held March 8 at Hollywood Park Elementary which is east of the intersection where the fatality occurred.

Steve talked about the concept of a stroad, a street/road hybrid that doesn’t do either well, though he did not use the term. Freeport is a stroad. He introduced vision zero, talked about changing both infrastructure and behavior, mentioned that the traffic motor officers are gradually being built up but are far below what they should be, and said “we should enjoy the public space and not be afraid.”

Ryan Moore, Interim Traffic Safety Engineer, and the person responsible for the removal of crosswalks, repeatedly mentioned a ‘Systematic Safety Analysis Report’ but is was not clear what this is, and the city website has no mention of it. He also said that he was following all the federal and state rules, as well as research, by removing the crosswalks.

Jennifer Donlon-Wyant, the Active Transportation Specialist, gave a Vision Zero presentation similar to what many people have seen before, but highlights are that Sacramento is the second worst in the state for pedestrian fatalities per capita. She went over the ten profiles that are the core of the draft Vision Zero Action Plan, of which three are related to speed, and one related to transit stops, which all play a role in this incident. One that does NOT apply is ‘Pedestrian Crossing Outside of an Intersection or Crosswalk.’ Though the city had erased the marked crosswalk, it was and is still a valid legal crosswalk. Freeport Blvd is not one of the top five fatality and injury corridors in the city.

Matt Armstrong, Sergeant of the Motor Team (officers on motorcycles) said he has 7 officers on at a time, maximum, for the entire city. They respond to complaints, but otherwise focus on schools and high volume corridors. He said top concerns are red light running, distracted driving, and speed. He mentioned something I had not heard before, that this was a multi-lane threat crash. A multi-lane threat crash occurs on streets with more than one lane in the same direction (Freeport has two lanes in each direction), when one driver stops for a pedestrian and other drivers does not. This is a violation of CVC 21951 “Whenever any vehicle has stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.”

Jessie Ryan said the district recognized that their policies were insufficient and were going to adopt the California School Boards Assocation Safe Routes to School policy (which is very weak), that they were creating heat maps to prioritize unsafe routes, is committed to using and reviewing data, and welcomes public input. The district, prior to this, has shown little interest in Safe Routes to School and has implemented only some minor projects.

Kirin Kumar of WALKSacramento and Jim Brown of Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) spoke briefly about the need for culture change in the community and in the city bureaucracy.

Next post I’ll discuss some of the public comments and questions, and the answers provided.

Don’t use the ‘A’ word

I attended the community meeting hosted last evening by Jay Schenirer, Steve Hansen, and the school district, called as the result of the recent fatality and severe life-threatening injury on Freeport Blvd. I’ll write more soon about the meeting itself, but for today, a comment about use of the ‘A’ word, accident. Every public official that evening, with the exception of Jennifer Donlon Wyant, used the word accident. Some of them repeatedly, with Ryan Moore, the Interim City Traffic Engineer, being the worst offender. Many of these uses were made while standing in front of the Vision Zero slide that states “Vision Zero ~ a traffic safety philosophy that rejects the notion that traffic crashes are simply “accidents,” but are preventable incidents that can and must be systematically addressed.” Oh, the irony.

Not the time to go into a detailed explanation of the harm that using this word causes, but you can check out http://droptheaword.blogspot.com, or #CrashNotAccident on Twitter. Basically, the common understanding of the word in traffic violence conversations is to excuse motor vehicle drivers (and engineers) of responsibility for their actions, implying that nothing could have been done, when in fact many things could have been done.

So, a modest proposal. Every time a public official uses the ‘A’ word, they make a contribution of $20 to a local transportation advocacy organization. Eventually, people will cure themselves of using the word, but in the meanwhile it will be an important source of income for nonprofits working to overcome the bias inherent in use of the word, and the underlying windshield perspective that accepts traffic violence as inevitable.

Vision Zero comments

Here are my comments on the draft Vision Zero Action Plan for Sacramento. Most of these were posted on the boards at the 2018-01-31 meeting, and in email to the city.

  • Sacramento essentially has no traffic enforcement currently. More about this tomorrow.
  • I was concerned by the prominence of the bicyclist fatalities increasing 150% without any contextual information. As with any data point with small numbers, as bicyclist KSI (killed and severely injured) is with respect to pedestrian and vehicular KSI, noise can lead to apparently huge changes that may not indicate a pattern. It would be sad if that one statistic were used to argue that changes to protect bicyclists should be prioritized, when it is clear from all the other data in the plan that pedestrians are at the greatest risk.
  • If 78% of KSI occurred at intersections, issues can be addressed more quickly and cheaply by focusing on intersections rather than corridors.

Profiles

All profiles should have the DAC/CES overlay, not just profile 3.

  • Profile 1: unsafe speed and profile 3: 35+ streets: Street Narrowing should say Street Narrowing and Speed Limit Reduction
  • Profile 4: 30+ streets should include lane narrowing
  • Profile 5: broadside: is there evidence that adding signals reduces crashes, anecdotal evidence would argue that it increases crashes
  • What does no bullets for efficacy mean, that there is no benefit, or that there is insufficient research?

I asked about why there was a 30+ and a 35+ profile. The answer is that collision characteristics change considerably between 25 and 35, with 30+ being an issue for bicyclists, and 35+ being an issue for all modes.

Vision Zero Actions (p. 45-50)

  • 1.5 Launch online, interactive crash data map and website. > short-term
  • 2.2 Install 10 low-cost safety improvements, including new road markings, signs, and minor signal modifications per year. > 10 locations
  • 2.3 Develop prioritized list and deliver half of engineering safety projects on the HIN in Disadvantaged Communities (commensurate with share of fatal collisions). > separate so that list is short-term, deliver is long-term
  • 4.4 Install school zones at all schools. > what about reductions at qualified locations?
  • 5.4 Update City signal timing policy to improve safety for all modes (e.g. all red time, pedestrian crossing times). > should include specific mention of LPI at high-pedestrian or high-collision intersections

crash not accident

CrashNotAccidentCourtesy of Families for Safe Streets, Transportation Alternatives and the Vision Zero movement in New York City, there is a new effort and pledge to stop using the incorrect word “accident” for crashes involving vehicles, at Crash Not Accident. Though this is an effort that has been going on locally and nationally for some while (see We Save Live’s Drop the “A” Word). In the Sacramento region, the two most egregious users of the incorrect term are @SacRegion511 and law enforcement officers.

I ask all of you to join this effort. Every time you hear the word accident used when people are talking about vehicle crashes, correct them. Every time you see something on the Internet that uses the wrong word, comment. Yes, those people who prefer to absolve motor vehicle drivers of fault and consequence will not be happy. They may unfriend or unfollow you, and they will reply with angry requests to consider the poor “victim,” the motor vehicle driver, who will be scarred for life. In my opinion, scarring for life is a tiny price to pay for taking someone else’s life with irresponsible use of a motor vehicle. Am I angry? You bet I’m angry!

South Sacramento Vision Zero

Vision Zero Kick-Off MeetingWALKSacramento and other partners are hosting a Vision Zero Kick-Off Meeting on Wednesday, January 14 in south Sacramento, part of the ongoing Building Healthy Communities project. This is the first event in Sacramento, and I encourage you to participate, even if you don’t reside or work in south Sacramento. A city, county and region can be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens, and there is no doubt that walking (and bicycling) safely is a major justice challenge for south Sacramento. Click on the thumbnail at right to view the flier.

From WALKSacramento’s email:

You are invited to join WALKSacramento on January 14, 2015 as we launch “Vision Zero” in South Sacramento.
Vision Zero aims to reduce pedestrian and bicycle fatalities to ZERO by improving infrastructure, education, and enforcement.  We’re starting a Vision Zero project in South Sacramento because we know that it is within our power to prevent these tragedies on our streets.
We need better street design, better regulations, and better enforcement.
Let’s start talking about what we can do to help make Sacramento streets safer.
For more information and to RSVP, please contact Emily Alice Gerhart, egerhart@walksacramento.org

Vision Zero, which started in Sweden, is now a wordwide effort to eliminate pedestrian, bicyclist and motor vehicle fatalities. In the United States, New York and San Francisco are leaders, but the idea is now being talked about nearly everywhere, including Sacramento.

A Vision Zero for Cities Symposium was held in November in New York City, with attendance by a few people from the Sacramento region. Transportation Alternatives has posted the Collectively Drafted Statement of Principles from that symposium, and Streetsblog USA has a good summary of the event at What Would a National Vision Zero Movement Look Like?