CONTACTTRAFFICABOUT TOM VANDERBILTOTHER WRITING CONTACT ABOUT THE BOOK

Crosswalks on Van Brunt

Getting local for a moment, very local, as I’m right off Van Brunt at the moment, this article — about a lack of crosswalks on Van Brunt Street — is a bit odd.

The only crosswalks that span the increasingly busy Van Brunt Street are at Sullivan, Wolcott and Bowne streets. That leaves about a half-mile stretch with no absolutely crosswalks, that familiar cross-hatching pattern that alerts drivers of that pedestrians are likely to be present.

In other parts of the country, drivers may actually stop at marked crosswalks — as the law actually requires — but in NYC, marked crosswalks (sans stop sign or traffic light) are quite rare; probably because no driver actually stops at them, which is my experience on Van Brunt. They certainly don’t seem to influence driver behavior, based on the ridiculous approach speeds of outer-borough drivers headed to Fairway.

I’m not a fan of putting in traffic signals for the sake of it, but that seems to me the only chance of bringing some order — and chances for non-harried pedestrian crossing — to Van Brunt, which by rough calculation must be one of the longest — and most populated — streets in NYC, with hardly any traffic signals.

[del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Google] [MySpace] [Slashdot] [StumbleUpon] [Yahoo!]

This entry was posted on Friday, July 16th, 2010 at 10:08 am and is filed under Etc., Uncategorized. 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.

3 Responses to “Crosswalks on Van Brunt”

  1. Josh R Says:

    Yeah, I’ve walked in NYC on a couple of trips. Trusting your life to the fact that you’re in a marked crosswalk should be grounds for committal to a mental institution for your own safety.

  2. Jim PE Says:

    The seminal study on marked crosswalks has shown that at best, they do nothing for pedestrian safety, and, at higher speed, multilane roads, they actually are associated with more pedestrian crashes than equivalent crossings without markings.

    http://www.tsc.berkeley.edu/newsletter/summer2006/zegeerxwalks.html

  3. Tony P Says:

    The key point in Zegeer’s “seminal study”, as quoted in Jim’s link is that: “The design issue is not “if” pedestrians are part of the equation, but “how” they can best be included.” So, if marking crosswalks is not sufficient to provide safety, then more needs to be done (such as raised median refuges, advanced stop lines, etc., as noted in the link).

    I think something missing from this study (and previous ones, such as the San Diego study that suggest a “false sense of security” in marked crosswalks) is consideration of why motorists fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and whether a policy of generally not marking crosswalks, as followed in San Diego and many other communities for 30-some years after the oft mis-interpreted study there, breeds a false sense of entitlement on the part of motorists (i.e., lack of marked crosswalks reinforces the motorists’ belief that pedestrians don’t belong in the road and their ignorance of the presence of unmarked crosswalks; it is really rather fantastic to expect that motorists, who ignore such posted direction as speed limits and stop signs, would somehow pay attention to invisible demarcations for pedestrian safety). More specifically, I’d like to see a study of the potential “halo effects” of comprehensive marking of crosswalks within a city. Such an effect has been observed with photo enforcement of traffic signals; it is reasonable to expect, and anecdotal evidence in “pedestrian friendly” cities suggests that the more obvious the pedestrian infrastructure, the better yielding behavior by motorists.

    The other, rather obvious consideration, is that the faster traffic is moving, the less likely motorists are to yield to pedestrians, as it’s just more difficult and disruptive to stop from a high speed than a low one. The indictment should not be of marked crosswalks, but rather of high-speed roads in pedestrian environments.

    As the Zegeer study points out, the behavioral aspects have not been well studied. Rather, previous researchers have focused on speculation about the behavior of pedestrians (the unsupported “false sense of security” of the victims), while almost completely ignoring the behavior of the motorists (the ones doing the killing).

Leave a Reply

Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage: krunde@randomhouse.com.

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency: zoe@zpagency.com.

For speaking engagement inquiries, please contact
Kim Thornton at the Random House Speakers Bureau: rhspeakers@randomhouse.com.

Order Traffic from:

Amazon | B&N | Borders
Random House | Powell’s

[del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Google] [MySpace] [Slashdot] [StumbleUpon] [Yahoo!]
U.S. Paperback UK Paperback
Traffic UK
Drive-on-the-left types can order the book from Amazon.co.uk.

For UK publicity enquiries please contact Rosie Glaisher at Penguin.

Upcoming Talks

April 9, 2008.
California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
San Francisco, CA.

May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Bloomington, MN

June 23, 2009
Driving Assessment 2009
Big Sky, Montana

June 26, 2009
PRI World Congress
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 27, 2009
Day of Architecture
Utrecht, The Netherlands

July 13, 2009
Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP)
Phoenix, AZ.

August 12-14
Texas Department of Transportation “Save a Life Summit”
San Antonio, Texas

September 2, 2009
Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting
Savannah, Georgia

September 11, 2009
Oregon Transportation Summit
Portland, Oregon

October 8
Honda R&D Americas
Raymond, Ohio

October 10-11
INFORMS Roundtable
San Diego, CA

October 21, 2009
California State University-San Bernardino, Leonard Transportation Center
San Bernardino, CA

November 5
Southern New England Planning Association Planning Conference
Uncasville, Connecticut

January 6
Texas Transportation Forum
Austin, TX

January 19
Yale University
(with Donald Shoup; details to come)

Monday, February 22
Yale University School of Architecture
Eero Saarinen Lecture

Friday, March 19
University of Delaware
Delaware Center for Transportation

April 5-7
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
McMurrin Lectureship

April 19
International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Organization Management Workshop)
Austin, Texas

Monday, April 26
Edmonton Traffic Safety Conference
Edmonton, Canada

Monday, June 7
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, July 6
Fondo de Prevención Vial
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, August 31
Royal Automobile Club
Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 1
Australasian Road Safety Conference
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday, September 22

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
Traffic Incident Management Enhancement Program
Statewide Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wednesday, October 20
Rutgers University
Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Piscataway, NJ

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
Injury Prevention Forum
Toronto

Monday, May 2
Idaho Public Driver Education Conference
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, June 2, 2011
California Association of Cities
Costa Mesa, California

Sunday, August 21, 2011
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
Madrid, Spain

April 16, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Gardens Theatre, QUT
Brisbane, Australia

April 17, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Centennial Plaza, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

April 19, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne, Australia

January 30, 2013
University of Minnesota City Engineers Association Meeting
Minneapolis, MN

January 31, 2013
Metropolis and Mobile Life
School of Architecture, University of Toronto

February 22, 2013
ISL Engineering
Edmonton, Canada

March 1, 2013
Australian Road Summit
Melbourne, Australia

May 8, 2013
New York State Association of
Transportation Engineers
Rochester, NY

August 18, 2013
BoingBoing.com “Ingenuity” Conference
San Francisco, CA

September 26, 2013
TransComm 2013
(Meeting of American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
Communications.
Grand Rapids MI

 

 

[del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Google] [MySpace] [Slashdot] [StumbleUpon] [Yahoo!]
Twitter
July 2010
M T W T F S S
« Jun   Aug »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031