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Bike path on 11th and Pecore


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9 hours ago, Evil Developer said:

has anybody looked at the plan?  it doesn't appear that pecore is included in this.  it is proposed to run from shepherd to Michaux...

 

Haven't seen it yet. And yes, they said no pecore and nothing west of shepherd at this time. 

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WilCal, I dont think its in bad taste. I was pretty upset by that fatality on 8th street as I ride on heights blvd quite a bit. My personal opinion is that the 11th street bike path is a good infrastructure development. My personal way of advocating for additional biking infrastructure is to remind my fellow neighbors that cyclists are people too and building things like protected bike lines might be a way to mitigate fatalities and injuries for pedestrians and cyclists. 

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When you're not used to seeing pedestrians and cyclists, it's easy to forget they exist. A lot of people are used to making right turns by only looking left waiting for vehicle traffic to clear, and moving before looking right (for pedestrians in the cross walk). Usually this works out fine, since pedestrians are uncommon in most places in Houston. As certain areas increase density with more and more infill development, and the cycling and pedestrian infrastructure improves, one hopes drivers will get used to sharing the space.

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  • 2 weeks later...
5 hours ago, Triton said:

When would construction likely start? If it's on the Houston Bike Plan site or here in this thread, I am missing it.

 

It's a CIP project so I'm assuming it would be similar to the Patterson bikeway, which would mean almost immediately. Pretty sure they would have to spend the funds this year. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Apparently, the victim was trying to help someone in a wheelchair who was struggling to get across the street at W 10th and  North Shepherd.  There actually is a painted crosswalk at 10th and Shepherd because there is a bus stop at the SE corner of Shepherd and 10th.  There should be a light at that crosswalk as it is insane to expect people to cross 4 lanes of Shepherd with people flying down the bridge over the bayou going 45-50 mph.  But I would assume that the same reason the city won't put a light at the bike path at 11th and Nicholson would prevent a light at the crossing at 10th and Shep.  I believe it is something to do with traffic control design and the transportation code.  Houston and the State of Texas need to seriously update the laws and infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.  We keep pouring more and more people into urban areas with street grids that were designed for a city about a fourth of the size of Houston and with inner loop density closer to that of the suburbs.    

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41 minutes ago, s3mh said:

Apparently, the victim was trying to help someone in a wheelchair who was struggling to get across the street at W 10th and  North Shepherd.  There actually is a painted crosswalk at 10th and Shepherd because there is a bus stop at the SE corner of Shepherd and 10th.  There should be a light at that crosswalk as it is insane to expect people to cross 4 lanes of Shepherd with people flying down the bridge over the bayou going 45-50 mph.  But I would assume that the same reason the city won't put a light at the bike path at 11th and Nicholson would prevent a light at the crossing at 10th and Shep.  I believe it is something to do with traffic control design and the transportation code.  Houston and the State of Texas need to seriously update the laws and infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.  We keep pouring more and more people into urban areas with street grids that were designed for a city about a fourth of the size of Houston and with inner loop density closer to that of the suburbs.    

There are HAWK beacons in several scattered parts of Houston (there's one on Tidwell bordering Independence Heights, one near U of H, and likely others). I used to use Shepherd fairly regularly and almost never saw anyone trying to use the crosswalk near West 10th and Shepherd. I wouldn't consider a light at 11th and Nicholson until someone does research on how often bicyclists blow the stop signs on the bike path, because everyone would blow stop signs along the bike path on Spring Street.

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2 hours ago, IronTiger said:

 I used to use Shepherd fairly regularly and almost never saw anyone trying to use the crosswalk near West 10th and Shepherd. 

 

Can you blame them? Takes a lot of courage to cross 4 lanes of fast moving traffic with no signal. 

 

 

2 hours ago, IronTiger said:

I wouldn't consider a light at 11th and Nicholson until someone does research on how often bicyclists blow the stop signs on the bike path, because everyone would blow stop signs along the bike path on Spring Street.

 

 

Considering the amount of muscle energy required to stop and start a bicycle compared to a car, all of the 4-way stops along bike paths should be yield signs for bike traffic.

 

If we force pedestrians to go 2 blocks out of their way to cross the street on foot safely, one of two things will happen: people will cross the street unsafely, or they won't walk at all. Lower-speed, higher-effort modes of travel should always get a more direct route than higher-speed, lower-effort modes. That means walking > bikes > transit > cars. Unfortunately, we generally design things in the exact opposite way: cars first, everything else as an afterthought.

 

Vehicle speed is the single largest factor in whether a vehicle/pedestrian collision is fatal. And road design is the single biggest factor affecting vehicle speed. I appreciate that traffic calming on streets like Shepherd will add a few minutes to a lot of people's commutes. What I find surprising is how many people apparently think the acceptable number of dead pedestrians per minute of extra commuting time is greater than zero.

 

What if the proposition were reversed? What if the city said, "We can get rid of this pedestrian crossing, which will save the average user of this road 3 minutes of commuting time every day, but it'll mean we kill two extra pedestrians per year. We think the extra deaths are worth it." I think people would rightly find this barbaric, which is why we shouldn't accept any goal short of zero pedestrian fatalities.

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30 minutes ago, Angostura said:

 

Vehicle speed is the single largest factor in whether a vehicle/pedestrian collision is fatal. And road design is the single biggest factor affecting vehicle speed. I appreciate that traffic calming on streets like Shepherd will add a few minutes to a lot of people's commutes. What I find surprising is how many people apparently think the acceptable number of dead pedestrians per minute of extra commuting time is greater than zero.

 

What if the proposition were reversed? What if the city said, "We can get rid of this pedestrian crossing, which will save the average user of this road 3 minutes of commuting time every day, but it'll mean we kill two extra pedestrians per year. We think the extra deaths are worth it." I think people would rightly find this barbaric, which is why we shouldn't accept any goal short of zero pedestrian fatalities.

 

I'm not going to argue points ripped straight out of transit/New Urbanist blogs, "muh dead pedestrians", etc. (because I just know that you'll pull out some source from them, which is usually deliberately skewed to prove a point), but bicyclists and pedestrians still need to follow the rules just like everyone else does. I fail to see why bicyclists deserve to "share the road" when they believe they're above the law. (You know who you are.)

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1 hour ago, IronTiger said:

 

I'm not going to argue points ripped straight out of transit/New Urbanist blogs, "muh dead pedestrians", etc. (because I just know that you'll pull out some source from them, which is usually deliberately skewed to prove a point),

 

It doesn't seem like you're here to have a discussion in good faith. You're building a strawman out of Angostura by accusing him of being some sort of New Urbanist shill instead of actually arguing the substance of his comment. Is asking how many pedestrian deaths is acceptable really that absurd or offensive to you? It seems like a legitimate public policy question to me.

 

Your comment is an example of how the internet degrades our discourse. Angostura never personally attacked you, but you automatically resorted to accusing him of being an irredeemable partisan when he tried to engage in a civil conversation with you.

 

Quote

but bicyclists and pedestrians still need to follow the rules just like everyone else does. I fail to see why bicyclists deserve to "share the road" when they believe they're above the law. (You know who you are.)

 

This isn't really relevant to the discussion. Sure, people should follow rules and we should enforce them, but good design anticipates poor human behavior. Transportation infrastructure should minimize death and injury, period. That goal shouldn't be contingent on our personal, biased perceptions of certain groups of people. Nobody argues that we should remove clear zones on freeways because bad drivers just need to learn to follow the rules (and that we shouldn't feel bad when they die if they don't!).

 

Every system suffers from bad actors. It's human nature. We shouldn't sentence people to death for their poor decision making out of some medieval idea of fairness.

 

If other countries have achieved far lower fatality rates in their transportation systems than Houston's while maintaining reasonable commute times and accessibility for private cars, there's no reason we can't as well.

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2 hours ago, IronTiger said:

 

I'm not going to argue points ripped straight out of transit/New Urbanist blogs, "muh dead pedestrians", etc. (because I just know that you'll pull out some source from them, which is usually deliberately skewed to prove a point), but bicyclists and pedestrians still need to follow the rules just like everyone else does. I fail to see why bicyclists deserve to "share the road" when they believe they're above the law. (You know who you are.)

 

So, it is tough luck for the guy in the wheel chair and the good Samaritan who both got mowed over trying to cross the street because there are a few cyclists who run stop signs?  And what is the harm to drivers when cyclists do not obey the law?  You have to pay attention when you are driving in a residential neighborhood and anticipate what other people might do?  You may have to press on the brake suddenly?  Oh, wait.  I know.  You have to go slower and can't plow through residential neighborhoods as fast as you want.

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I drive by that location several times a day. There were no skid marks to indicate the driver braked at all. The incident happened late Saturday, and the lighting there isn't the best. At this point, I am going to assume the driver wasn't paying attention, so the female victim's kids had to watch her get hit and die, while the driver drove off(she did return later).

 

The intersection is far enough away from 11th to allow for a pedestrian beacon, which should be installed. I would also put a concrete triangle in 10th Street that would allow drivers to only make a right turn, and discourage drivers exiting the parking lot from Merchants Park from trying to go straight across to 10th. I would also encourage HPD to write about 5,000 tickets to the idiots who come screaming off the bridge at 50+ mph.

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2 hours ago, lithiumaneurysm said:

 

It doesn't seem like you're here to have a discussion in good faith. You're building a strawman out of Angostura by accusing him of being some sort of New Urbanist shill instead of actually arguing the substance of his comment. Is asking how many pedestrian deaths is acceptable really that absurd or offensive to you? It seems like a legitimate public policy question to me.

 

No, you're right, that was overly cynical. At the same time, most of his posts have similar themes without variation in what these blogs offer, including (what I perceived as) crocodile tears to push an agenda. The "pedestrian deaths" I remember reading about an article regarding width of lanes in Florida thoroughfares, going so far as to use terms like "pedestrian massacre" (without scare quotes) and actually misquoting what the data regarding lane width and safety actually is.

 

3 hours ago, lithiumaneurysm said:

This isn't really relevant to the discussion. Sure, people should follow rules and we should enforce them, but good design anticipates poor human behavior. Transportation infrastructure should minimize death and injury, period. That goal shouldn't be contingent on our personal, biased perceptions of certain groups of people. Nobody argues that we should remove clear zones on freeways because bad drivers just need to learn to follow the rules (and that we shouldn't feel bad when they die if they don't!).

A good comparison, I think, would be a train crossing. Traffic infrastructure has helped reduce collisions with flashing lights and gates instead of simple crossbucks. At the same time, trains still have the right of way, cars still will try to cross when it's too dangerous to do so, and bicycle scofflaws will still throw themselves into intersections. And despite Shepherd/Durham being a signaled road (capped at what, 40 mph at most?) with what amounts to a massive median, apparently just having that is enough to be a "freeway" in some people's eyes.

 

2 hours ago, s3mh said:

 

And what is the harm to drivers when cyclists do not obey the law?  You have to pay attention when you are driving in a residential neighborhood and anticipate what other people might do?

You were just criticizing how it was wrong for motorists to go "flying down the bridge over the bayou going 45-50 mph" and wished there was something to be done about it, while being an apologist for cyclists? Therein lies the real problem.

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A few points, and I'll get off my soapbox.

 

First, I'd be happy to see more enforcement on Shepherd, but the real problem is the road design. Psychologically, you feel natural and comfortable traveling at 50mph+ because of how the road is designed. Add in the downward slope coming off the bridge and it's even worse. That's part of Shepherd is a notorious speed trap because you have to consciously force yourself to slow down way below what feels natural. Speed limits have much less to do with typical traffic speeds than road design. There's a reason why traffic flows at ~20-25 on Heights (limit: 35) and 40-45 on Yale (limit: 30).

 

So yes, we have a situation where we have two 4-lane, one-way roads designed for high-speed travel. When this stretch of Shepherd was basically just a row of used car dealerships with very little pedestrian traffic, that probably wasn't too terrible. There is now a ton of new retail, with more on the way, as well as a lot of apartments. People will be walking across Shepherd, sometimes at signalized intersections, and sometimes "illegally". We should provide conditions where this is less deadly.

 

Second, w/r/t bicycles and pedestrians not obeying the laws. A car at 50mph has about 200-500x the kinetic energy of a bicycle and rider at 10mph. The consequences of being struck by a bicycle are far less severe than being struck by a car. Cars also don't require physical effort to accelerate back to their normal travel speed. I'm not a big fan of 4-way stops; I think they're time- and fuel-inefficient. But no one who's actually ridden a bike any significant distance would think it's reasonable to expect a cyclist to come to a full stop every 300 ft (which is the case along several parts of the MKT trail), and most drivers along the trail recognize this, and are pretty respectful about yielding to bikes at 4-way stops. 

 

Third, w/r/t to design priority, if you make a pedestrian go 100 yards out of their way, it may add a minute to their journey. A bicycle, maybe 15-25 seconds. A car, 5-10 seconds. And the driver is in a safe, dry, air-conditioned space. We should, therefore, allow pedestrians the shortest, most direct route to their destination. (Moreover, we should expect them to take the most direct route, even if we haven't designed it that way.) Spending a few months on the other side of the windshield really changed my perspective on this.

 

Finally, a practical point: With the exception of the occasional conversion of drainage ditch to curbs-and-gutters, we have probably seen the last surface-street widening inside the loop. The number of lane-miles probably peaked before the last light rail expansion, and will continue to fall. The only way we'll reduce surface-street congestion is to reduce vehicle miles traveled. As the city gets denser (and the city is going to get denser) drivers should want to encourage as much space-efficient transportation (bikes, scooters, walking) as possible. Every bicycle in the bike lane is a car that's not in front of you at the stoplight or competing with you for a parking space. The harder (and less comfortable and more dangerous) we make things for pedestrians and cyclists, the more people will opt to drive instead.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Angostura said:

First, I'd be happy to see more enforcement on Shepherd, but the real problem is the road design. Psychologically, you feel natural and comfortable traveling at 50mph+ because of how the road is designed. Add in the downward slope coming off the bridge and it's even worse. That's part of Shepherd is a notorious speed trap because you have to consciously force yourself to slow down way below what feels natural. Speed limits have much less to do with typical traffic speeds than road design. There's a reason why traffic flows at ~20-25 on Heights (limit: 35) and 40-45 on Yale (limit: 30).

 

So yes, we have a situation where we have two 4-lane, one-way roads designed for high-speed travel. When this stretch of Shepherd was basically just a row of used car dealerships with very little pedestrian traffic, that probably wasn't too terrible. There is now a ton of new retail, with more on the way, as well as a lot of apartments. People will be walking across Shepherd, sometimes at signalized intersections, and sometimes "illegally". We should provide conditions where this is less deadly.

 

You are absolutely right regarding Shepherd. Speeds are way too high, mostly due to the road design. There needs to be at least twice as many traffic lights as there are now, which would also solve most of the pedestrian crossing issues. More attention to traffic flow and light timing through this section should be able to minimize any negative effect on commute time regarding vehicular traffic.

 

Something needs to be done before the mid rise apartments planned and under construction for this corridor are open, which will likely double or triple the quantity of regular pedestrian traffic crossing Shepherd and (to a lesser extent) Durham.

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16 hours ago, IronTiger said:

You were just criticizing how it was wrong for motorists to go "flying down the bridge over the bayou going 45-50 mph" and wished there was something to be done about it, while being an apologist for cyclists? Therein lies the real problem.

 

When motorists go flying down the bridge, they kill people.  When cyclists fail to obey traffic laws, they get killed.  Arguing against much needed pedestrian and cyclist safety infrastructure on the grounds that cyclists need to obey the law first just shows the pro car/anti pedestrian bias that has been endemic in Houston and has given us a city that is rapidly adding density without any options for transportation other than motor vehicles and infinite traffic jams (and smog).

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On 3/11/2019 at 8:49 AM, Angostura said:

When you're not used to seeing pedestrians and cyclists, it's easy to forget they exist. A lot of people are used to making right turns by only looking left waiting for vehicle traffic to clear, and moving before looking right (for pedestrians in the cross walk). Usually this works out fine, since pedestrians are uncommon in most places in Houston. As certain areas increase density with more and more infill development, and the cycling and pedestrian infrastructure improves, one hopes drivers will get used to sharing the space.

 

traffic circles will make pedestrians more visible to drivers. and are probably warranted when pedestrian traffic reaches a certain ratio against driving traffic.

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1 hour ago, s3mh said:

 

When motorists go flying down the bridge, they kill people.  When cyclists fail to obey traffic laws, they get killed.  Arguing against much needed pedestrian and cyclist safety infrastructure on the grounds that cyclists need to obey the law first just shows the pro car/anti pedestrian bias that has been endemic in Houston and has given us a city that is rapidly adding density without any options for transportation other than motor vehicles and infinite traffic jams (and smog).

It's not bias, they're inherently unequal, and arguably it's pro-pedestrian since if a car hits a pedestrian, by default if a motorist hits a pedestrian, the motorist is at fault (save for isolated incidents like if the pedestrian threw themselves in front of a car as part of an obvious insurance scam). If bicyclists were required to get licenses, insurances, and have consequences for breaking the law, then there's more room for comparison, and as it stands, infrastructure isn't going to do squat if either party blows through a light or sign.

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18 hours ago, IronTiger said:

It's not bias, they're inherently unequal, and arguably it's pro-pedestrian since if a car hits a pedestrian, by default if a motorist hits a pedestrian, the motorist is at fault (save for isolated incidents like if the pedestrian threw themselves in front of a car as part of an obvious insurance scam). If bicyclists were required to get licenses, insurances, and have consequences for breaking the law, then there's more room for comparison, and as it stands, infrastructure isn't going to do squat if either party blows through a light or sign.

 

can you provide a citation?

 

even if this is true, it doesn't show favoritism towards peds, it shows that drivers are at fault for accidents more often than peds. do police officers responding to the scene just make up facts to put the drivers at fault?

 

any way you slice it, since the 1960s the focus has been on making cars more safe for the occupants in a collision.

 

the stats now show that there is a really high number of peds/cyclists that die each year, and it's rising. perhaps it's about time we focus a bit on the people not in safety cages, and start designing the streets to be more safe for peds/cyclists. 

 

why would anyone not be in favor of this?

Edited by samagon
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19 hours ago, IronTiger said:

It's not bias, they're inherently unequal, and arguably it's pro-pedestrian since if a car hits a pedestrian, by default if a motorist hits a pedestrian, the motorist is at fault (save for isolated incidents like if the pedestrian threw themselves in front of a car as part of an obvious insurance scam). If bicyclists were required to get licenses, insurances, and have consequences for breaking the law, then there's more room for comparison, and as it stands, infrastructure isn't going to do squat if either party blows through a light or sign.

 

(Emphasis mine)

 

Infrastructure affects behavior, though. As I said before, there will always be bad actors in a system—drivers who speed, bicyclists who run lights, etc.—but the way we design our infrastructure can affect both the rate at which bad actors appear and the consequences of poor decision making. Drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians don't exist in vacuums where they make decisions without regard for the context of their surroundings. They respond, consciously or unconsciously, to the way the infrastructure is built.

 

The idea that changing our infrastructure will not reduce pedestrian and bicyclist accidents because those parties are generally irresponsible is patently false. Consider the Dutch "Sustainable Safety" transportation planning program, which studies have found led to a 30% reduction in the roadway fatality rate (for all roadway users) in that country between 1998 and 2007. Sustainable Safety emphasizes contextual roadway design, playing on our perceptions of space to design streets that clearly communicate expectations for each user (driver, pedestrian, etc.). A situation like Shepherd would never exist under the Dutch model. If Houston adopted Sustainable Safety principles, there would be clearly delineated areas for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians, and the roadway would be designed to passively enforce its speed limit with proven traffic calming strategies. This presentation by a Northeastern University student provides a good summary of how Sustainable Safety principles could be applied in the U.S.

 

Also, are we forgetting that this discussion started with news of two pedestrians being killed while legally using a marked crosswalk? The pedestrians in question here were not bad actors. I'm not sure why bicyclists who (anecdotally) run stop signs on Spring Street two miles away are relevant to a conversation about improving safety on Shepherd. This story is a clear cut example of the inadequacy of our infrastructure, and we shouldn't be muddying the waters with irrelevant discussions about how bicyclists run stop signs sometimes.

Edited by lithiumaneurysm
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1 hour ago, samagon said:

 

can you provide a citation?

 

It has been difficult to search for that, as most of the pages lead to lawyer pages discussing one way or the other. From what I can gather the "pedestrian always has the right of way" is technically a myth, and even if the pedestrian is jaywalking they can only be held partially at fault.

 

 

1 hour ago, lithiumaneurysm said:

 

Also, are we forgetting that this discussion started with news of two pedestrians being killed while legally using a marked crosswalk? The pedestrians in question here were not bad actors. I'm not sure why bicyclists who (anecdotally) run stop signs on Spring Street two miles away are relevant to a conversation about improving safety on Shepherd. This story is a clear cut example of the inadequacy of our infrastructure, and we shouldn't be muddying the waters with irrelevant discussions about how bicyclists run stop signs sometimes. 

 

The pedestrians killed obviously at the driver at fault--she didn't even stop if I'm reading it right. But at the same time, that appears to be an isolated incident, and if you actually read my posts, I wouldn't be against adding more HAWK signals for times pedestrians need to cross roads. What I am against is people never letting a tragedy go to waste and whinging about cars and (in general) absolving pedestrians and bicyclists of all guilt (and yielding right of way). I used to work in a business near Spring Street, and I could probably count on my fingers how many actually stopped even when I approached the intersection, so it's not anecdotal. The only reason I brought that up was to do some actual research on studying existing behavior at the intersection before adding any sort of permanent fixture.

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33 minutes ago, IronTiger said:

The pedestrians killed obviously at the driver at fault--she didn't even stop if I'm reading it right. But at the same time, that appears to be an isolated incident, and if you actually read my posts, I wouldn't be against adding more HAWK signals for times pedestrians need to cross roads. What I am against is people never letting a tragedy go to waste and whinging about cars and (in general) absolving pedestrians and bicyclists of all guilt (and yielding right of way). I used to work in a business near Spring Street, and I could probably count on my fingers how many actually stopped even when I approached the intersection, so it's not anecdotal. The only reason I brought that up was to do some actual research on studying existing behavior at the intersection before adding any sort of permanent fixture.

 

Is it really an isolated incident? People are "whinging about cars" because Houston has abysmal transportation safety metrics. We have an abundance of scientific literature which suggests our infrastructure design standards are a large contributor—that they give far too much space and lenience to drivers and little to no consideration to other users.

 

The point I've been trying to make is that we need to remove perceptions of guilt from the design of our infrastructure. The Dutch standards that I mentioned previously presume that human beings make mistakes and break rules. They design roads around that fundamental truth, and as a result, their roadway fatality rate is one third the U.S.'s. Their methodology is preventative. Houston's is reactive—we install HAWK signals and other interventions after a tragedy (often multiple) has taken place. We assume people will always follow rules and absolve ourselves of the responsibility to preempt these tragedies. Sure, better education and enforcement are also important, but that's not the whole nine yards.

 

We could commission hundreds of studies on existing behavior, or we could use what we already know: people adjust their behavior to their surroundings, and we can design our streets to a set of standards which exploits this fact to the benefit of all roadway users.

 

We should expect these horrific incidents to continue as long as we keep kicking the can down the road on making our infrastructure safer. If it takes an accident to install a HAWK signal or some other intervention, dozens and dozens more people will die before Houston's infrastructure is anything close to safe. Only a systemic, proactive approach which changes the design philosophy of the entire roadway system will make a meaningful impact on pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

 

Edit: Also, yes, there are many urbanists who are rabidly anti-car, to a point of absurdity. But I think most people invested in the issue, especially in Houston, understand that this is a car-dependent city and that provisions need to be made for traffic efficiency. That doesn't mean our standards are not up to par, or that we don't grant an excessive amount of space to drivers at the expense of the safety of other users.

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30 minutes ago, IronTiger said:

It has been difficult to search for that, as most of the pages lead to lawyer pages discussing one way or the other. From what I can gather the "pedestrian always has the right of way" is technically a myth, and even if the pedestrian is jaywalking they can only be held partially at fault.

 

 

Texas law says that pedestrians do not have the right of way when they are at a crosswalk with pedestrian signals that say don't cross, and when they are crossing a street with no marked or unmarked crosswalk.

 

Note: that due to there being an intersection at 10th, the pedestrians would have the right of way. 

 

Here's the applicable Texas state law .

 

And yes, pedestrians would only be held partially at fault because drivers don't get the right to plow into anybody/anything that is doing something illegal. They have the expectation to mitigate any damage/incident. Speeding could easily be part of a reason to hold a driver responsible for hitting an illegally crossing pedestrian if they weren't able to stop in time, for instance. 

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4 minutes ago, lithiumaneurysm said:

The point I've been trying to make is that we need to remove perceptions of guilt from the design of our infrastructure. The Dutch standards that I mentioned previously presume that human beings make mistakes and break rules. They design roads around that fundamental truth, and as a result, their roadway fatality rate is one third the U.S.'s. Their methodology is preventative. Houston's is reactive—we install HAWK signals and other interventions after a tragedy (often multiple) has taken place. We assume people will always follow rules and absolve ourselves of the responsibility to preempt these tragedies. Sure, better education and enforcement are also important, but that's not the whole nine yards.

 

 

And this intersection is a prime example. They have had meetings in the last year about making changes, but people are clearly driving well north of the 35 MPH speed limit, and it's four lanes wide. Yet pedestrians have the right of way to cross at 10th to get to the bus stop via the unmarked crosswalk. That would be absolute suicide for a large portion of the day.

 

Part of it is that most drivers assume that pedestrians don't have the right of way unless there is a lit signal. It's a giant design fail and really sad that things like this continue to happen.

 

Haven't seen it discussed in this thread, but I've seen some internet comments about how the driver was actually driving the wrong way down Shepherd when the accident happened. Another frequent issue on this road. 

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18 minutes ago, lithiumaneurysm said:

The point I've been trying to make is that we need to remove perceptions of guilt from the design of our infrastructure. The Dutch standards that I mentioned previously presume that human beings make mistakes and break rules. They design roads around that fundamental truth, and as a result, their roadway fatality rate is one third the U.S.'s. Their methodology is preventative. Houston's is reactive—we install HAWK signals and other interventions after a tragedy (often multiple) has taken place. We assume people will always follow rules and absolve ourselves of the responsibility to preempt these tragedies. Sure, better education and enforcement are also important, but that's not the whole nine yards.

 

 

That's how the world works. Most laws are put in place after abuse of existing laws or tragedies (the alternative is pre-emptively banning everything), and most signals and road improvements are put in place after tragedy (or at least some horrific congestion issues). However, Houston was developed a long time ago...the Heights is neither a virgin suburb or a large plat of land that could be redeveloped as a miniature planned community (like, say, CityCentre). Nor is it comparable to the Netherlands, with its much denser road network, more (traditionally) homogeneous population, and a variety of other differences.

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11 minutes ago, IronTiger said:

 

That's how the world works. Most laws are put in place after abuse of existing laws or tragedies (the alternative is pre-emptively banning everything), and most signals and road improvements are put in place after tragedy (or at least some horrific congestion issues). However, Houston was developed a long time ago...the Heights is neither a virgin suburb or a large plat of land that could be redeveloped as a miniature planned community (like, say, CityCentre). Nor is it comparable to the Netherlands, with its much denser road network, more (traditionally) homogeneous population, and a variety of other differences.

 

so we should just throw up our hands and say that because it's always worked this way people are just going to have to die?

 

cities in the Netherlands have been redesigned many times over, they didn't just start building the country in the 1990s. 

 

furthermore, the Netherlands has a far more diverse population than Houston, what that has to do with traffic, you'll have to give examples.

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3 minutes ago, samagon said:

 

 

so we should just throw up our hands and say that because it's always worked this way people are just going to have to die?

 

cities in the Netherlands have been redesigned many times over, they didn't just start building the country in the 1990s. 

 

furthermore, the Netherlands has a far more diverse population than Houston, what that has to do with traffic, you'll have to give examples.

I'm saying we shouldn't throw money into questionable pre-emptive traffic redesigns because it worked halfway around the world. We can't even find solid evidence that "complete streets" actually are beneficial.

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1 hour ago, IronTiger said:

 

That's how the world works. Most laws are put in place after abuse of existing laws or tragedies (the alternative is pre-emptively banning everything), and most signals and road improvements are put in place after tragedy (or at least some horrific congestion issues). However, Houston was developed a long time ago...the Heights is neither a virgin suburb or a large plat of land that could be redeveloped as a miniature planned community (like, say, CityCentre). Nor is it comparable to the Netherlands, with its much denser road network, more (traditionally) homogeneous population, and a variety of other differences.

 

I respectfully disagree. We have a real-world example of a Western country which has adopted a pre-emptive roadway design philosophy and has subsequently seen significant reductions in traffic deaths. It's worth noting the Netherlands had a higher traffic fatality rate than the U.S. before the Sustainable Safety reforms were introduced. They had many of the same issues that we have today with conflicts between vehicular and non-vehicular users and poor road design.

 

We don't even have to look to Europe for better roadway design. Consider Australia, which has a traffic fatality rate one-half the U.S.'s despite being just as car-dependent. In Perth, pedestrian crossings are generally built (or existing ones retrofitted) with refuge islands and, on arterial roads, their version of a HAWK signal. Here's what a pedestrian crossing looks like on a four-lane road there:

 

https://goo.gl/maps/qRbRtkfVUb52 

 

You'd be hard-pressed to find that quality of pedestrian crossing in Houston because of our reactive approach. Perth and other Australian cities have been actively retrofitting their infrastructure with these improved safety features. The Netherlands retrofitted their (significantly older) road network over a couple of decades. We shouldn't wait, and we shouldn't make excuses for inaction.

 

Quote

I'm saying we shouldn't throw money into questionable pre-emptive traffic redesigns because it worked halfway around the world. We can't even find solid evidence that "complete streets" actually are beneficial.

 

 

This link is a discussion of the impact of Complete Streets on property values and has no relevance to safety.

Edited by lithiumaneurysm
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1 hour ago, IronTiger said:

I'm saying we shouldn't throw money into questionable pre-emptive traffic redesigns because it worked halfway around the world. We can't even find solid evidence that "complete streets" actually are beneficial.

 

there is nothing questionable about their impact on safety.

 

http://www.youthforroadsafety.org/news-blog/news-blog-item/t/the_dutch_woonerf_an_example_of_safe_road_spaces

 

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/call-bring-dutch-woonerf-model-2034016

 

https://gizmodo.com/this-street-has-no-lanes-signals-or-signs-and-its-saf-1651826670

 

they are safer. the proof and data is there.

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23 hours ago, samagon said:

 

furthermore, the Netherlands has a far more diverse population than Houston,

 

I don't want to side-track, but I can't let this claim stand unchallenged.  The Netherlands is 79.3% Dutch Caucasian. Other ethnics that are minorities include: Europeans (more Caucasian) comprising 5.7% of the population, the Turks comprising 2.4%, Indo-Europeans with 2.3% of the population, Moroccans at 2.2%, Surinamese with 2.1%, Caribbeans at 0.9%, Poles (more Caucasian) at 0.6% (so they are about 86% Caucasian); Chinese at 0.3%, Iraqis at 0.3%, and some other ethnic groups that comprise the remaining 3.9%.  http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/netherlands-population/

 

The Netherlands might be more diverse than, say Minneapolis, but it doesn't hold a candle compared to the diversity of Houston.

Edited by Houston19514
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5 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

I don't want to side-track, but I can't let this claim stand unchallenged.  The Netherlands is 79.3% Dutch Caucasian. Other ethnics that are minorities include: Europeans (more Caucasian) comprising 5.7% of the population, the Turks comprising 2.4%, Indo-Europeans with 2.3% of the population, Moroccans at 2.2%, Surinamese with 2.1%, Caribbeans at 0.9%, Poles (more Caucasian) at 0.6% (so they are about 86% Caucasian); Chinese at 0.3%, Iraqis at 0.3%, and some other ethnic groups that comprise the remaining 3.9%.  http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/netherlands-population/

 

The Netherlands might be more diverse than, say Minneapolis, but it doesn't hold a candle compared to the diversity of Houston.

 

I sit corrected. and thanks for the stats, that's enlightening.

 

I still am trying to wrap my head around why the diversity of a population matters when taking steps to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

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5 hours ago, samagon said:

 

I sit corrected. and thanks for the stats, that's enlightening.

 

I still am trying to wrap my head around why the diversity of a population matters when taking steps to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

 

Diversity of population doesn't matter in this case as much as diversity (or lack thereof) of opinion.  If there was an overwhelming preference for bicycles and walking over driving in the overall population things would be different.  When you have a sizable majority preferring one thing, particularly when economics or convenience is involved you get results that match that preference.

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8 hours ago, august948 said:

 

Diversity of population doesn't matter in this case as much as diversity (or lack thereof) of opinion.  If there was an overwhelming preference for bicycles and walking over driving in the overall population things would be different.  When you have a sizable majority preferring one thing, particularly when economics or convenience is involved you get results that match that preference.

 

There are two kinds of people who commute (and make other trips) by modes other than a personal vehicle: people that can't afford to own, operate and maintain a car, and people who have the means to travel in a personal vehicle, but find other modes more convenient, more economical, more appealing, or faster. There are very few of the former category in this country, and those there are have very little influence on politicians.

 

In cities where the majority of non-drivers are people who WOULD drive if they could, pedestrian infrastructure tends to be kind of crappy. It's in cities where the majority non-drivers are of the second category that the pedestrian environment starts to improve.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, Angostura said:

 

There are two kinds of people who commute (and make other trips) by modes other than a personal vehicle: people that can't afford to own, operate and maintain a car, and people who have the means to travel in a personal vehicle, but find other modes more convenient, more economical, more appealing, or faster. There are very few of the former category in this country, and those there are have very little influence on politicians.

 

In cities where the majority of non-drivers are people who WOULD drive if they could, pedestrian infrastructure tends to be kind of crappy. It's in cities where the majority non-drivers are of the second category that the pedestrian environment starts to improve.

 

 

 

I think the people that can't afford to own a car is a higher number than you want to think it is. go drive around gulfton area and it becomes kind of clear.

 

then there are people that can't afford a car, but choose to find a way to make it work. they'll buy cars that really shouldn't be on the road for $500, they may skip out on insurance. you'd think that anyone on the road would want these cars/drivers off the road.

 

if those people had a safe and reliable alternative, they for sure would choose that alternate, mainly out of not wanting to eat ramen every night.

 

overall, sadly, you are right. 

 

as with all things, money makes your voice louder.

Edited by samagon
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