APCSC has found that Asbury Park’s Fire Department is coming on board with Complete Streets principles (the concept of the Road Diet is still somewhat a sticking point), but there are still holdouts (and also in our Police Department) clinging to the thinking that it’s all about response times, rather than accepting that faster road speeds lead to increasingly high numbers of traffic related injuries and deaths. It’s about #slowthecars and right-sized emergency vehicles.
Rule 51: Expand the Fire Chief’s Mandate
Rewrite the fire chief’s mandate to optimize public safety, not response times. Replace the 20-foot clear and minimum curb radii with more precise measures. Do not add or keep unwarranted signals in the name of preemption. Size new fire trucks to the community and not vice versa.
By Jeff Speck
Perhaps the most ironic day in the life of every city planner is the one on which she discovers that her greatest opponent in making her city’s streets safer is the fire chief. How this bizarre circumstance has come to occur in city after city across the United States is a veritable morality play on the topics of siloed thinking, the confusion of ends and means, and Murphy’s Law. It goes something like this:
A faster response time is good, but not at the expense of life safety.
The fire chief’s job performance is typically judged on response time. The fire department’s budget is often based on the number of calls that fire trucks respond to. These two facts conspire to replace a fire chief’s natural mandate, optimizing the life safety of the community, with a much narrower focus: sending out lots of trucks, and getting them to their destinations quickly.
A stunning personal story about how a tragic car crash changed a life, starting with the realization that there are no accidents. “…over 35,000 people die every year in the United States from traffic violence. Every two years, more people die in our streets than the number of Americans killed during the Vietnam War.”
Misfortune changed this young man’s life. But he knows (as do we at APCSC) that the problem is solvable. He observes in his city: “We continually see elected leaders prioritize publicly-subsidized parking ahead of safe streets. Some publicly shame folks who get around using a bicycle. They wait to improve safety until after people are hit and killed. And most importantly, they often do nothing. They aren’t just killing bike lanes. But we know they can do better because sometimes electeds show leadership. APCSC knows that our Mayor and City Council are showing real leadership. Stay tuned for the Walking and Bicycling Master Plan, and design and implementation all over the city to make it safe for everyone to get around with slower, and fewer cars on our streets.
sA Better Street
By Owen Pickford
“This misfortune irreversibly changed my life, the lives of everyone in that car, their families and their friends. I reacted by imagining life as capricious. Death and suffering seemed to be arbitrary “accidents” caused by human error. Life forced this on me every time I got in a car. With no effort at all I could be killed or kill someone else.
But seventeen years later, I feel much different. My friend’s death was not an accident. All of the 35,000 deaths each year in our streets include painful personal stories like the one I’ve recounted. These deaths are not accidents. Traffic violence is caused by public policy. It’s the result of our collective decisions about street design, speed limits, and land use. We know how to minimize crashes but we fail to care. ”
Asbury Park isn’t alone in working on implementing ways to #slowthecars, and to get drivers to yield and stop for people walking and on bikes. Using “human factors psychology,” (focused on altering group behavior) and positive reinforcement with a “community engaged approach”. Here’s how St. Paul is doing it. Check out the “gateway treatment”. Could AP use this idea?
From Planetizen: “Human factors psychology includes other jargon-y sounding terms like “social norming” and “implied surveillance.” “…clarify more of the concepts behind this tool for convincing drivers to slow and even stop for the safety and right of way of pedestrians.”
To Get Drivers to Yield, St. Paul Uses Psych Trick
By Angie Schmitt
The third wave of enforcement, which was in August, we put up simple R1-6 signs (or “bollards“) . Those went up at our treatment sites and they were very effective. We started doing another wave of enforcement. Then we started seeing compliance in the 70s, which is just a dream compared to where we were last fall.
Then we did our fourth wave in October and we enhanced those in-street signs to “gateway treatments.” A gateway treatment is when you have that R1-6 sign on the center line and then when you have one in the outside lane. So you’re driving through multiple signs on a gate.
Highlights from August 22, 2018 City Council Meeting
“…proposed improvements include an
upgrade of the traffic signal at Third Avenue and Pine Street to include walk signals, 6 neighborhood
roundabouts, 4 vehicle activated traffic calming signs, and bike lanes…”
Vision Zero is working in cities all over the US. “To actually make progress or commit to Vision Zero, it will really take a transformative shift in how your city is prioritizing safe mobility.”
Asbury Park is actively working on strategies to reduce automobile speed on city streets. Stay tuned for our initiative #slowthecars.
Vision Zero Network Hires Big Gun To Focus on Slowing Drivers Down Already
By Angie Schmitt
“To actually make progress or commit to Vision Zero, it will really take a transformative shift in how your city is prioritizing safe mobility.
We’re also going to be focusing more on the importance of speed management. We, as a society, need to be paying as much attention to the issue of managing speed as many communities have done around drunk driving. The level of change in government over the last few decades, thanks to groups like MADD, has resulted in a sea change in how people think about drunk driving. We need to have that same sort of focus on managing unsafe speeds.
We’re going to try to help cities actually move forward with strategies that effectively reduce speeds in their communities, whether that’s lower speed limits, more automated enforcement or engineering changes.
Another big focus is equity. There are some positives in the sense that Vision Zero is very data driven and can help highlight systemic inequities in our transportation system and beyond. More and more people are recognizing that not all communities have been treated equitably when it comes to safe transportation investments.”
Streets were once considered public spaces, places for people, but have become dominated by cars, and streets designed for speedy traffic flow. Now people are marginalized, called “pedestrians” and those walking outside of painted lines are demonized as “jaywalkers”, and blamed if they are injured or killed.
“Before the advent of the automobile, users of city streets were diverse and included children at play and pedestrians at large. By 1930, most streets were primarily motor thoroughfares where children did not belong and where pedestrians were condemned as ‘jaywalkers’.”
The small fishing town of Ísafjörður in the Westfjords unveiled the first ever “3D crosswalk” in Iceland.
The crosswalk, which is painted to look like it is hovering over the street, is intended to slow down traffic and reduce driving speeds in the narrow residential streets of the old town of Ísafjörður.
The environmental commissioner of Ísafjörður, Ralf Trylla, had come across the idea while researching for novel ways to slow down traffic speed.
It only took a couple of weeks from Ralf getting the idea to all necessary permits from the Police and the Transport Authority being in place. In the meantime Gautur Ívar and Ralf practiced 3D painting.