Author Archive | jedge

Tear Down That Stop Sign!

In what may seem to be a counterintuitive approach to improving pedestrian safety, the Bendigo City Council, in Victoria, Australia, has decided to remove traffic signs to return its streets to pedestrians. The concept, pioneered by some European communities, is believed to create a safer environment more conducive to use by pedestrians and bicyclists.

From Planetizen:

The council will today unveil a $16 million makeover of its city centre, coined “naked streets” by commentators. It will radically alter the city centre by narrowing spaces for cars and returning the town’s wide streets to walkers and cyclists.

Under the scheme, all “visual signals” that streets are for cars first and walkers second will go. Footpaths will be dramatically expanded and filled with street furniture and public art.

Continue reading Tear Down That Stop Sign!

Tram: 1,000,000

The Portland Aerial Tram has exceeded ridership expectations and has already provided it’s one millionth trip between OHSU and South Waterfront.

From the Portland Tribune:

Colleda O’Neil was just headed downhill for her doctor’s appointment at the OHSU Center for Health and Healing.

Instead, the OHSU employee was selected as the one-millionth rider of the Portland Aerial Tram.

“I’m shocked,” she told a group of reporters and TV cameras, who were waiting for her at the lower tram station.

OHSU Transportation Operations Manager Mike Brooks handed over a briefcase full of prizes, including a tram logo t-shirt, DVD’s, and a coffee table book about OHSU.

As for how they calcualated the 1,000,000 figure, OHSU says it counts a one-way ride on the tram as one trip, meaning if a passenger rides up to OHSU and back down to the South Waterfront it counts as two trips.

Looking for a Quick Ride?

Rent a bike! Similar to the Flexcar car sharing program, but perhaps paid for in part by advertising, we may soon be able to rent any of up to 500 bicycles in downtown Portland.

From portlandonline.com:

The City of Portland is accepting proposals for a bike rental system in the central city area. Imagine being able to rent a bike for a half-hour to get to your downtown meeting, grab lunch at your favorite, out-of-the-way spot, or just go for a ride on the waterfront. You can read more from the Portland Tribune and from BikePortland.org.

You can listen to an NPR story here.

Comprehensive Evaluation of Congestion Costs and Solutions

This article, written by Todd Litman and published on Planetizen, broaches the possibility that the Texas Transportation Institute’s methodology for their annual Urban Mobility Report is flawed by using unrealistic expectations as a benchmark for measuring the cost of congestion. He suggests that a more realistic measurement of cost could be derived by using a congestion benchmark other than a grade “A” level of service (free-flowing traffic), instead using a benchmark of grades “D” or “C” (equivalent to a moderate level of congestion). This is similar to how Metro determines whether a particular roadway is adequate for its modeling of Region 2040 traffic levels, because they do not define the goal for all roadways as “free-flowing traffic,” instead choosing to acknowledge that a certain level of congestion is to be expected in a region with a healthy economy.

Additionally, Todd covers how other issues factor into the measurement of overall cost including providing parking, vehicular accidents, pollution, roadway maintenance, and even the cost of vehicle ownership.

Via Planetizen:

The newest Texas Transportation Institute Urban Mobility Report was recently released, stimulating discussion of congestion costs and potential solutions. Here are some things you should know when evaluating these issues.

There are many several possible ways to measure congestion costs. The method used by the Texas Transportation Institute leads to relatively high cost values, since it assumes that “optimal” roadway conditions are freeflow (level-of-service A), although many transportation economists consider this assumption is inappropriate (see for example, the 2006 report, Costs of Non-Recurrent Congestion in Canada). They argue that congestion costs should be calculated above an optimal threshold, such as level-of-service C or D, which leads to significantly lower cost estimates.

Continue reading “Comprehensive Evaluation of Congestion Costs and Solutions”

I Brake for People

This morning we welcome a new contributor, Joseph Edge!

The Oregon Department of Transportation and City of Portland Office of Transportation are collaborating to launch a media campaign to make crossing the street safer for people. While Oregon law requires that motorists stop at intersections and crosswalks to allow pedestrians to cross safely, many people remain unaware of this.

The campaign, called “I BRAKE FOR PEOPLE,” is designed to educate drivers on how to interact with pedestrians safely. Join campaign sponsors and supporters as volunteers create a living billboard to urge motorists to follow the law and stop for pedestrians.

What: Press Event for the “I BRAKE FOR PEOPLE” Campaign
When: 10:00 a.m. on Monday, October 22
Where: Vestal Elementary School Auditorium, 161 NE 82nd Avenue

Who:
Susan Keil, Director, Portland Office of Transportation
Jason Tell, Region 1 Manager, Oregon Department of Transportation TriMet
Portland Public Schools
City of Portland Pedestrian Advisory Committee
City of Portland Pedestrian and Bicycle Technical Advisory Committee
City of Portland Safer Routes to School Program
Willamette Pedestrian Coalition
82nd Avenue of Roses High Crash Corridor Safety Action Plan Advisory Committees
82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association
Elders In Action
Vestal Elementary School students and staff
Other community partners for pedestrian safety

Why: Pedestrian safety has long been a concern of the City and ODOT. In downtown Portland, 72% of pedestrian collisions are a result of driver error. Citywide, 49% of pedestrian injuries happen in a crosswalk. One out of three traffic fatalities is a pedestrian or a bicyclist (Portland 1985 – 2000), and pedestrian injuries are the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children.

The “I BRAKE FOR PEOPLE” campaign will be visible out on the street where motorists interact with pedestrians. Ads on TriMet buses, benches, and shelters will carry the message. Radio announcements during drive time will complement the campaign and remind motorists to stop for pedestrians.

Press Event: 10:00 a.m. on Monday, October 22 – Sponsors and supporters will be available for interviews