Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?

This topic contains 84 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  buffalo buffalo 7 mos, 2 weeks.

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Nov 18 2013 at 6:40pm #

Stu – that was one of the suggestions made by Action United, and it would certainly help, although 15 seconds probably isn’t long enough for everyone to get across the intersection given how outrageously wide it is.

Whining about pedestrians jaywalking is about as productive as motorists whining about cyclists running red lights. Make people wait for a ridiculous amount of time to cross the gargantuan intersection, put them in direct conflict with cars so it’s unsafe even when the “walk” sign is on (which, BTW, is only on for the bare minimum amount of time – if it comes on at all, assuming you went to push some out-of-the-way button at the proper time), and then wonder why people cross illegally. Start by making it easier and safer for people to cross the street and there won’t be as much “jaywalking” either. Give people a big middle finger, and good for them for giving one right back.


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Nov 18 2013 at 9:30pm #

In my own example, I’m not entirely convinced the time of one is prioritized over the other. If I yield to people jaywalking, I’m likely to get stuck at the intersection, which would include the time when the ped would have a walk signal.

You can try and splice apart things by scenario to try and get to some sort of greatest good for the greatest number. More power to those with that attentiveness, energy and good will. It’s a rare trio.

Give people a big middle finger, and good for them for giving one right back.

This, however, requires only one attribute, ill will, and with cause, and is thus perhaps a more reasonable thing to expect.

But most interactions are emotionless, steered by scripts written by social norms. And there’s particular logic to trying to ingrain the most basic norm of all. Watch out for the vulnerable. That is, if our goal is safety.

There’s a nice bonus after safety that you see most clearly in pockets of density. The means of travel that leave you most unprotected not coincidentally also mean you require the least space. So by making that safer and more convenient, encouraging travel with less or no adornment, you maximize available space for all and make it easier to get from A to B generally.

These two paragraphs are #1 and #2 justifications for cities to invest in transportation cycling. The same logic also prioritizes unwheeled pedestrians over us. I’m ok with that, even if some do cross right in front of me while I have the green and kill my momentum.


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Nov 21 2013 at 1:31am #

I’ve been reading Jeff Speck’s “Walkable City”, which I highly recommend – it’s excellent (thanks to the ELDI walkability workshops for the reference). I just got to a chapter (and 2 pages in particular) where he makes a lot of the points I was trying to make, a lot more convincingly than I can. Pages 185-186 in particular talk about push-to-walk buttons, shortened pedestrian walk cycles, lengthened vehicle signal cycles, right on red (and right/left on green) and how it adds up to an environment that’s hostile for pedestrians and encourages jaywalking. It’s as if he were describing Penn Ave exactly (and other factors like lane and roadway width are discussed elsewhere). So, why is it allowed to happen?

BTW, he also cautions against the “Barnes Dance” (dedicated all-way ped crossing, named after the person that popularized them), because it also makes pedestrians wait longer. His explanation there makes perfect sense too – if you are walking from point A to point B, and they’re not on the same road, you have to cross streets in two different directions. So, when you reach an intersection, you can choose which way to cross based on the signal and often you don’t have to stop walking at all. If you have the Barnes Dance you are much more likely to have to wait. In fact that happens to me all the time crossing 5th and Negley – I can usually cross both streets with minimal or no stopping. He says there it can still make sense where pedestrian density is very high (so the Target intersection might be a candidate, or maybe at certain times of day).

Anyways, my basic gripe is how often I’m stuck staring at a “don’t walk” sign for absolutely no reason other than whoever designed the intersection decided to prioritize (turning) vehicles over pedestrians.


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Nov 23 2013 at 8:08am #

This is heart rending but hopeful. Not cyclists specifically, but maybe this is the tipping point, our “Stop de Kindermoord”. Maybe the winds are changing:

buffalo buffalo

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Dec 11 2013 at 7:40pm #

BTW, if you too would like to read Walkable City, Pitt and CMU each have a copy, and the local public libraries have several; this link may be instructive:

See if you can pick up a copy of Vanderbilt’s Traffic while you’re at it.

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