Thursday, April 30, 2015

Car/Bike Crash - 41st & Kiwanis

If I was given a chance to have my opinion about this week's car/bike crash at 41st & Kiwanis read by someone that pulls the levers of power in this city I would say...


I know this is your work neighborhood. I walk by your front door pretty regularly. You and I met for coffee when the council was considering the 3' safe passing ordinance. Also, you are my councilman.

Thank you for being willing to hear my suggestions.

Consider how we influence human behavior in transportation as you assess crossing 41st & Kiwanis.

A driver encountering an intersection operating at less than standard functionality will poke their way through the intersection as best they can. When intersections are planned to be operating at less than standard functionality we put up signs in advance with warnings and post way-finding messages. We do this because crashes happen when we don't.

Somehow we don't do this for sidewalk users. Heading south or east on the sidewalk we expect users to know 660 or 1100 feet in advance that crosswalk passage through an upcoming major intersection is not available. We offer no way-finding at the point of closure and even if we did the signs would offer options that are round trips of 1/4 mile north or 1/2 mile west. This is a substantial increase in distance and time for most sidewalk users.

Now, my hopefully sensible suggestion:

Don't completely accept police spokesman Sam Clemens press briefing statement, "if you're going to be crossing the street make sure you do it in the marked crosswalk going corner to corner."

Don't completely accept KELOLAND's interpretation of Sam Clemens statement, "Clemens said the crash occurred outside of nearby crosswalks. He urged bicyclists to use marked crosswalks and to make sure the roadway is clear before crossing."

Because you are a city leader I suggest that it makes sense to consider all transportation system users when designing infrastructure. Most crashes happen not because people are out there doing dumb things, but because they're trying to make use of a system that isn't designed to accommodate what they're trying to do. It seems reasonable to me that a person standing on the northwest corner of any intersection in the city wanting to cross in any direction should be accommodated.

Thank you.

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