Unlivable Streets

Peter sends along this troubling video of a woman struck by a bus — I’m sure any number of you out there could dissect the many things wrong with that street (not sure where it is).

Almost as disturbing as the video is the fact that its categorized on Digg as “comedy,” which in the world of Internet culture, I’m sure it is.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 8th, 2010 at 12:17 pm and is filed under Cars, Cities, Pedestrians, Traffic safety. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Unlivable Streets”

  1. Rob Says:

    At the end of the movie Mean Girls the antagonist gets hit by a bus. We have been conditioned to see bus accidents and think comedy. Certainly there are other cartoons (possibly even children’s’ cartoons) where someone gets hit by a bus and the audience is supposed to laugh at it.

  2. Stuart Says:

    “Hit by a bus” is iconic accidental death imagery. We use the phrase to when talking about how fragile our lives are: “I could walk out tomorrow morning and get hit by a bus” is the start of many a philosophical argument.
    With the “bus” imagery, the agent of our demise seems collective or maybe even inanimate; a bus is ridden by a many people, driven by a faceless bus driver few of us would imagine being.
    It’s interesting how different it feels from the phrase “hit by a car,” which involves a more intimate scale and some imagined particular other individual, the driver.

  3. Josh R Says:

    That’s a classic “pedestrian crossing in name only” Far too many lanes, no island to wait on, and who the hell puts a bus lane in the middle of the road between the left turn lanes like that?

    Now granted, she shouldn’t have been dashing across against the light like that, in the first bit of the video she nearly gets taken out by a couple of cars, so she was cutting it far too close. But still, she would have been OK had there not been that counterintuitive bus lane. She had passed the cars waiting to turn left, common sense says that after that you have to look for traffic coming from the other direction, not watch for busses coming from the same direction.

    Of course even if she had been crossing with the light, experience has shown that crossing like that never have even close to a long enough walk light, you’ll always end up either stranded in the middle or running in fear the last half.

  4. Josh R Says:

    Also note the sidewalk. Hard to tell how wide it is, but it has to be pretty narrow, and is bordered on one side by a concrete wall. With the traffic screaming by inches from you on the other side, it would be an immensely unpleasant place to walk. Uncomfortable place to walk means only people who absolutely have to walk there will do so. Lower level of walking traffic means drivers are not use to seeing people walking, so the few that do don’t have the critical mass to impinge on the drivers awareness. Increased chance of collision because the drivers are not looking for walkers.

  5. Bossi Says:

    It looks like a typical BRT configuration: nothing outright peculiar about it so long as one obeys the signals. These are appearing in most cities around the world. I do agree that the cross-section is too wide, but in this case that wouldn’t have had much effect.

    The bus lanes are to the left of the left-turn lane because if you were to cross the left-turn lanes over sooner: you’d have to control that crossing — which would mean you’d need turn lanes to get into the turn lanes.

    There are plenty of things which aren’t conducive toward encouraging pedestrian travel here, but this collision appears to be almost completely the pedestrian’s fault. She violated the signals & rushed across an active travelway: most of the time you can do it and live, but it only takes one mistake.

    I’m a bit irked by the community which says that pedestrians are blamed for everything but are actually never at fault… sure they are. Doesn’t mean they *always* are — drivers have their share of boneheaded moves, too — but we’re all human & we all do dumb things regardless of our mode of travel.

  6. Josh R Says:

    I don’t know if I’d call that a “Typical” BRT configuration. My understanding is that BRT lines are suppose to run on their own lanes, completely separate from normal traffic. Much of the advantage of BRT is lost if you have to wait at the same stop signals and deal with the same rush hour as the rest of the cars on the street. (to say nothing of the delay caused by hitting someone.)

    People are just not attuned to a lane layout in which there is a lane of traffic moving in the same direction as the left turning traffic to the left of the turn lane, it’s counter intuitive and anything but a completely controlled intersection is going to have accidents all the time as drivers focus on the oncoming traffic while being blind to the traffic moving up on their left.

    Here’s a fun little video of the Houston LRT to illustrate the point. Every one of these drivers is making an illegal turn and are totally in the wrong, but the fact remains that they failed to see and take into account a freaking train that was often running right beside them prior to the crash.

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