London’s plans for Oxford Street show that even the busiest roads can ban vehicles—but there’s one major misstep.
Finally, it’s happening. After years of discussion, London’s Oxford Street is being pedestrianized. A key London axis known for its huge popularity as a place to shop—and its equally huge pollution problem—Oxford Street has endured for years as a notorious fume trap because it’s such a vital corridor for buses. As you might imagine, tidying up has been a logistical headache. But if it works here, the plan could become a template for any city that wants to turn a busy thoroughfare into car-free zone.
There’s no reason that cars in urban areas should be capable of traveling more than 20 mph.
Slowing cars with speed limit reductions and enforcement is only part of the solution:
“A ramming attack carried out at 20 mph is not going to cause great harm. A vehicle moving at 20 mph can more easily be evaded, and any impact is much less likely to be fatal.
If we address this vulnerability, not only would intentional vehicular attacks lose their destructive power, but the far, far larger number of traffic fatalities and injuries caused by ordinary negligence and recklessness would also plummet. The potential to prevent this routine violence and the staggering loss of life and limb it generates is the most compelling reason to cap car speeds.”
The other and even more effective is technology that prevents cars from traveling faster than 20mph in cities:
“The transition to 20 mph cars in cities would be far simpler than any hypothetical transition to all-out autonomy, while delivering huge public safety benefits. We can live in cities where cars don’t travel at lethal speeds. In fact, we should insist on it.”
Motorist speed is still the single biggest factor associated with pedestrian deaths.
OPINION: The “Phones Down, Heads Up” act won’t solve the real problems on Ontario’s roads. Liberal MPP Yvan Baker should drop his bad idea, writes John Michael McGrath
It’s never fun to watch a smart person do something dumb, and despite the criticism he’s getting from some corners this week, Liberal MPP Yvan Baker isn’t a dumb or malicious person. The rookie member of the legislature hasn’t ascended to cabinet, but he’s the parliamentary assistant to the finance minister (no small role) and has previously offered private member’s bills that address real problems in thoughtful and creative ways.
His latest, however, is a turkey. And it’s not a good time of year for poultry.
Following Honolulu’s lead, Baker introduced Bill 171 on Monday. The “Phones Down, Heads Up” act would impose fines on any pedestrian operating a cellphone or music player while crossing the road. The intent, he told reporters, was to raise awareness of the need for everyone on the road, including pedestrians, to be mindful of their surroundings.
The 2012 transportation law (MAP-21) required transportation agencies to begin using a new system of performance measures to govern how federal dollars are spent and hold them accountable for making progress on important goals, like congestion, traffic fatalities, reliability, road/bridge condition, mode share and carbon emissions. For two years, USDOT worked to establish this new system, soliciting reams of public feedback, and finalizing the measures in January of this year.
Climate impacts aside, tracking carbon emissions is one of the best ways to judge how efficiently we’re moving people and goods. More on that in a minute.
The Trump Administration is attempting to repeal this carbon emissions measure. Take action and provide an official comment to USDOT in support of keeping it intact. (Official notice here)
For more than 13 years, the National Complete Streets Coalition has believed that better engineering and design have the greatest influence on safety for all users of all abilities. Today, the Coalition is officially endorsing Vision Zero because we believe that it represents an important complement to safe street design.
In the last few years, the Vision Zero movement, which originated in Scandinavia, has popularized the ambitious goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities. It’s exciting to see Vision Zero taking off as all hands are needed to reach zero deaths. We believe that all traffic fatalities can be prevented with better policy, design, and education. Today, we are thrilled to issue an official statement endorsing Vision Zero and safe street design, which you can read here.
We have heard all of them, and heard them repeatedly, regardless of which town we are in or which project we are working on. Here are three of the most common myths about the Complete Streets approach to building communities, and our perspective on why these are myths.
As statewide advocates, we lead or participate in many discussions about Complete Streets, traffic calming, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and creating livable communities. From municipality to municipality, we’ve heard the same rhetoric from the uninformed who rarely have any data to back up these claims. Here are the three most common myths we hear about Complete Streets, and our debunking of these myths:
Myth #1: “That won’t work here. Our town is UNIQUE!”
Reality check: Just about everyone will tell you their town is unique. If they didn’t, they probably wouldn’t live there. But while we applaud individuals for feeling such strong civic pride, what is unique about towns has little to do with the streets and sidewalks and how people interact with them. A community’s uniqueness is related to its architectural and cultural assets, interesting destinations, creative and one-of-a-kind businesses, and the mix of cultures of the townspeople themselves. People drive, walk, shop, ride a bicycle, and spend money pretty much the same way wherever they go in the world, regardless of a town’s uniqueness. What is also common among most New Jersey towns is the high rate of pedestrian crashes; getting hit by a vehicle is not unique to any town, and neither are the preventative countermeasures that towns can take to eliminate them. For more information and the facts, see the Federal Highway Administration’s Proven Safety Countermeasures.
“Over the last 60 years, Amsterdam’s leaders, planners and designers have by trial and error created a template for a city where bikes are the dominant force in transportation planning and design. That template has five essential characteristics; skip or short-change any one of them and your city of bikes won’t work as well.
1. All streets are bike streets
In most cities, the network of bicycle tracks and lanes is far sparser than the overall street network for vehicular traffic. In Amsterdam, the street network map is the bike network map. Almost all streets in the city have excellent bike facilities of one type or another. What is extraordinary is that in Amsterdam you are more likely to need a specialized car map than a bike map, since many streets have limited or no car access.”
Cycle helmets – an overview
“It is at first surprising to many people that the wearing of helmets by cyclists is a controversial subject. However, cycling safety is a much more complex issue than many people realise, where best evidence and real-world experience sometimes conflict with received opinion. Key considerations about risk when cycling, what influences cycling safety and the inter-relationships between safety interventions, cycle use, behaviour and health (both individual and public) are often poorly understood. In particular, opinions as to whether cycle helmets are an appropriate, proportionate or effective intervention are often dominated by emotion and expressed with exaggeration, which can make it difficult to know what to believe.
The Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation (BHRF) and cyclehelmets.org were established to provide a resource of best-available factual information and to challenge evidence and policies that do not stand up to scrutiny. BHRF is pro-cycling and pro-health and seeks to judge the evidence on its merits.
This overview is an attempt to distill the most important evidence and arguments about cycle helmets. Readers are invited to explore the cyclehelmets.org website for comprehensive information on the topics covered with in-depth technical analysis and references.”
The Complete Streets Summit Taskforce (NJDOT, New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center) selected the Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition to receive a Complete Streets Champion Award at the New Jersey Complete Streets Summit at Rutgers University yesterday. We’re proud and honored to have been recognized for our efforts to help make streets safer for everyone in Asbury Park. Our work will continue with the support of Mayor Moor, City Council, and Transportation Director Mike Manzella. We’re grateful for invaluable guidance from NJ Bike & Walk Coalition.
The plaque is for the city Complete Streets Policy. The glass award is APCSC!