Hello everyone--as you may have heard, WGBH and Wicked Local are doing a multi-part series on how bikes and cars co-exist in the Boston area. I'm trying to put together a panel of cyclists, car drivers, and possibly pedestrians to talk candidly about their experiences and frustrations. If you'd be interested in participating, please give me a call (617-300-2534), send me an email (email@example.com), or tweet me (@reillyadam). Thanks.
Boston Police report three people became hospital patients early this morning when they darted out from behind a van right into the path of a car traveling down Dot. Ave.
Police say the three stepped into the road near Edison Green around 12:34 a.m.:
The operator stated she never saw the three individuals until it was too late and she couldn't stop or avoid the accident. Officers spoke with a witness on scene who reported the same account.
Two women, 28 and 32, and a man, 29, were taken to area hospitals. All are expected to survive. The driver was not cited.
H_Boston discovered somebody in Cambridge got a little frustrated with a pedestrian-crossing button.
Copyright H_Boston. Posted in the Universal Hub pool on Flickr.
Biking in Heels posits that differences in the way our traffic signals work for pedestrians explain why Bostonians dart every which way from every direction, while Cantabrigians are more thoughtful, even when jaywalking:
In Cambridge, the city has had a policy for a long time of concurrent walk signals, so pedestrians have a right of way every time the cars going parallel have a light, so there's never much of a wait. There are regularly spaced crosswalks in areas without closely spaced lights, and where those crosswalks are on high speed roads, there are lights with "on demand" buttons. The signalized crossings controlled by the city of Cambridge (for example the ones around Fresh Pond) operate almost immediately after pushing, with only 30 seconds or so of delay to safely slow and stop traffic. In most places, especially pedestrian dense areas, there are countdown timers too, so that the pedestrian knows exactly how long they have until the light will actually turn.
Oh, do check out the inflammatory rhetoric in the Herald. Chris Cassidy is successfully riling up the ragers there.
Yesterday, it was Cyclists, drivers are wheeling and dealing — keying off on ticket numbers and starting with a Steve Murphy slam on bikers. Today, Cyclists plan provocations in Hub bike-car war is even more heavy handed. He does the straw-man thing, manufacturer the pitched battle and sits back.
The comments are even harsher than those on bike posts here.
Maureeen Rogers tackles that report that claims Boston is the safest city in America for pedestrians, recounts an incident in San Francisco in which she and her husband were looking for a particular restaurant:
There was a woman a few yards ahead of us, and we caught up to her to ask for directions. After she provided them, I asked her whether she was from Boston (She did not have a New England accent). She said that she had recently moved from Boston, but asked why we might think she was a former Bostonian.
"You're the only one other than us who's jaywalking," I told her.
The Metro reports on a request from Mayor Menino to the state legislature to increase fines for red-running bicyclists from $20 to $150.
Boston Biker says fine, but only if the city does the same for pedestrians:
If you passed a law giving police the ability to write $150 j-walking tickets, you could go downtown on any given weekday and solve the state budget problem. Not only would this make pedestrians more likely to follow the law, but it would make everyone safer (not the least of which the pedestrians themselves). I can't count the number of times I have almost been knocked off my bike by a pedestrians walking out from between parked cars.
Meanwhile, the Boston Cyclists Union is urging Menino to file another home-rule petition, to cut the speed limit on all local roads to 20 or 25 m.p.h., in the wake of Monday's fatal crash involving a bicyclist. Union Director Pete Stidman says:
Mitch Blum strides across the road in defense of Boston jaywalking:
... True story: when I lived in Beacon Hill a cop once yelled at me for not jaywalking across Cambridge Street. There was construction going on and me standing there was a bigger public safety risk than me jaywalking. In that instance jaywalking probably saved a life. Think about that for a minute.
Boston is a special place and part of our specialness is our still extant spirit of independence. Just because The Man installs a bunch of paint and lights doesn't mean he can tell me where or when to walk. ...
Sharon Gartenberg crunches accident data from the state and determines that 40% of all pedestrian accidents in Framingham happen on just three roads: Rte. 9, Waverly Street and Concord Street. She provides a query tool and a map - which really makes it look like cars play whack-a-walker quite often on the Rte. 126 corridor from Rte. 9 to downtown Framingham.
The Watertown Police Department thought you should know.
Color Sharon disgusted by the way local cities and towns plow roads but not sidewalks:
... Walking around in winter is NOT an optional activity. Local government should be providing the same snow-clearing services for pedestrians on public sidewalks as they do for drivers on roads.
John compares Washington and Tremont streets. Washington is just too wide for pedestrians to get across safely:
It's like running for a touchdown.
Tremont, though, has too many crosswalks to be safe for motorists:
For drivers, it's an accomplishment to make it from Mass Ave to Berkeley without being rear-ended, having to slam on the breaks at every corner for someone jumping off the curb.
Hmm, what are your worst streets for crossing in Boston?
John admits to occasional drives to places only 3/4's of a mile away. But he starts thinking about how to encourage more foot traffic in Boston after reading about a proposal to ban cars on New York's Broadway: Are there streets on which cars should be banned? Besides Washington Street in Downtown Crossing, that is?
... Now, first off, you're thinking, well, that's stupid. But, really, would things be worse if roads were to suddenly disappear? We live in almost a continuous state of gridlock, anyway. I mean, I was stuck in a traffic jam on Albany Street at 1:30 AM, the other night. Not fun. ...
According to this report, Boston is one of the safest metro areas in the country for kiddie pedestrians. Go figure.
Supposedly, we're way safer than Nashville and Chicago, but not as safe as Pittsburgh, San Francisco and New York. FedEx is a proud sponsor of the report, so I'm assuming FedEx drivers are trained not to run down little kids.
Grumpy ed. note: The report is one ginormous PDF file, because, you know, putting swirly brown and blue backgrounds on every page makes it so much more understandable and useful than boring old HTML.