In this final installment of our Complete Streets Blog Series, guest author David Riley will highlight a sampling of intersections and trouble spots that were nominated for the Complete Streets Makeover project, and share his ideas for how they might be made safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
Back in May, we launched our Complete Streets Makeover project by asking the general public to help identify the intersections and trouble-spots where you live, work and play that could be redesigned to make them safer for everyone. We received over 90 nominations, and after a careful process to examine each and every submission, we selected the following locations:
Every year in Rochester, hundreds of people are struck by vehicles while out walking and biking on our community streets. The top two factors in traffic fatalities in this country are alcohol and speed. And the percentage of crash deaths that involve speeding is higher on minor roads (like our neighborhood streets) than on highways and interstates.
How fast we drive on our community streets impacts that safety and quality of life for those who live, work, play and shop along those streets. Around the country, cities such as Cambridge, MA, New York City, and Seattle, are lowering their speed limits to make residential streets safer. Many are hoping Rochester will soon follow suit.
Join the effort led by HealthiKids to reduce the City speed limit from 30 to 25 mph on residential streets.
- Send a message to City Council Now
- Attend this month’s City Council meeting and “Speak to Council” to show your support for safer streets: Tuesday, October 17th at 6:30PM
Can 5 or 10 mph really make that much of a difference?
The higher the speed, the greater the risk to a pedestrian or cyclist.
A person has more than a 90% chance of surviving if hit by a car traveling 20 mph. If that car is traveling 40 mph, there is about a 90% chance that person will die. Those risks increase if the pedestrian is a child or older adult. The human body can only handle so much.
Reduced speeds are good for pedestrians AND drivers.
Lower speeds allow drivers more time to notice things and react. If something is in the road 100 feet ahead of you when driving 40 mph, you will hit it going 36 mph. If you are traveling 25 mph, you can stop well within 100 feet.
At lower speeds, crashes are likely to be avoided altogether. And if they do occur, they will be far less severe.
Reduced speeds can benefit the entire community.
- Reduced public health costs
- More vibrant local businesses
- Healthier people
- Happier people
- Improved quality of life
- Improved property values
- Lower crime rates
[Read more about the benefits beyond safety]
Reduced speed limits on our residential streets alone aren’t the silver bullet, but are an important tool in the overall solution to safer streets. Done in concert with education, enforcement and design, the culture of how we use and share our streets can begin to change.
Let City Council know you want Rochester to be the next city to make streets safer by lowering the speed limit on residential streets!
Guest essay submitted by: Michael Tomb & Marcia Zach, Highland Park residents…
As many of you are aware, because of a crash near the intersection of Meigs & Linden, in 2009, we created the HPNA Traffic Calming team which eventually became “The Highland Placemaking Team”. We came up with a plan for traffic calming in the area of our playground and, although quite a few items were implemented, many of the safety related traffic calming features were not because of County resistance, City policy and other things.
Our intent was to avoid something as what JUST happened in my neighbor’s front yard. No children should have to witness such a scene in their front yard while waiting for the school bus. I am thankful we avoided (barely!) a major heart-wrenching tragedy, but it was NOT because of this driver’s fear of the consequences of being so careless. It was only a matter of timing that prevented something much worse from occurring. You and I both know we need to do better.
We are also both saddened and absolutely outraged the driver was NOT ticketed. Maybe I am bit ashamed of my city as well. My assessment after working on matters of traffic calming in Rochester has actually been to expect that kind of response from law enforcement. Indeed, I have been telling friends that if a person desires to damage property and and even kill innocent bystanders, in order to face the fewest number of consequences, the car IS your weapon of choice. It wasn’t always that way… the tolerance for irresponsible driving was a hard -earned privilege. Read more
We were proud to be part of today’s launch of the City of Rochester’s Pace Car program! We joined Mayor Lovely Warren and other community leaders to introduce the new citywide initiative that asks drivers to be part of the solution to make our community streets safer for all who use them. Pace Car drivers sign a pledge to drive within the speed limit, drive courteously, yield to pedestrians and be mindful of bicyclists and others on the street. Drivers display the yellow Pace Car sticker on their vehicles to show others that they are taking accountability for how they drive on our community streets.
Regular, everyday citizens rallying together can set in motion great change in our communities. After all, the people who are most in touch with what is needed in our neighborhoods are those who live, walk, ride, play, drive, shop and work in them every day.
Reconnect Rochester is happy to announce a new initiative that is a direct result of everyday citizen action: Streets for the People…
In January, DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx unveiled the Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative . The goal is to address “non-motorized safety issues and help communities create safer, better connected bicycling and walking networks.” He called it the most comprehensive and forward-thinking initiative the DOT has ever put together on bike and pedestrian issues. It aims to engage transportation specialists, safety experts, leadership and the public to make streets safer for a variety of transportation options. And it recognizes the vital role biking and walking play in a reliable multimodal transportation network…
Congress introduced a bill this week that will help streets across the country become safer for all people, regardless of their mode of transportation. With bipartisan support, The Safe Streets Act of 2015, was introduced by Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH):
It’s been a tough winter for anyone having to be outside in Rochester. Transit riders have to hike over ice encrusted snow drifts and stand in streets, because their stops are buried. Pedestrians have to wear crampons to trudge across the uneven icy places where sidewalks once were. Those who are less steady, have things to carry or have to walk with assistance, have been forced to use the plowed streets. Cyclists hold on as they brave traffic, since the bike lanes are no longer there. And drivers cautiously turn corners blocked by snowbanks higher than their cars, taking turns on residential streets with only enough room for one car at a time. But the people walking out in the elements have clearly been given the lowest priority of attention.
Posted by: Brenda Massie, Board Member and Secretary, Reconnect Rochester.
Getting around during winter in Rochester is challenging — no matter what mode of transportation you choose. Subzero temperatures, snowy sidewalks, and dangerous street conditions become part of everyday life. As a pedestrian, it is especially hairy…
This month marks the one year anniversary of New York City’s ambitious Vision Zero campaign , a plan to eliminate traffic fatalities by the year 2024.
As part of the effort , traffic calming and street design measures were implemented, bike lanes were expanded, speed cameras were installed in school zones, the citywide default speed limit was reduced to 25 mph, arterial slow zones were established, public education and awareness were ramped up and the NYPD significantly stepped up enforcement and ticketing for traffic violations. It’s an effort that requires all people, regardless of how they traverse those streets to rethink how they drive, walk and ride about their daily lives. It requires a shift in the culture of getting about in NYC, which is no easy task.
So, one year later, is the campaign making a difference?
Last week, the City Council approved further study of Rochester’s red light camera program. This isn’t a brand new study, but an expansion of the study that was released in November. The results of that study indicated a reduction in the number of accidents at 22 intersections that have red light cameras. Two intersections had no changes in the collision rates before and after the cameras were installed. And 8 intersections had an increase in the number of collisions. Those 8 intersections are the subject of the expanded study, as well as whether the cameras could be tied into traffic signals to help reduce operation costs…
This Wednesday, 5:30 – 7:00pm at the Penthouse (1 East Avenue – 11th Floor) you are invited to attend a Downtown Parking Summit hosted by the City of Rochester. But this is not a meeting to discuss how we create more parking. We’ve tried that before, and it nearly killed our city.
Reconnect Rochester recognizes the importance of having an adequate supply of downtown parking. However, we believe parking should be one component to a much larger, diverse plan to improve access to downtown…
New York City’s new lower citywide speed limit goes into effect today. In June the NY State legislature passed a bill that allowed NYC to lower its default speed limit to 25mph . Part of the city’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic fatalities, the new lower default speed limit was approved by the City Council in October and signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio last week. And the new 25mph signs are going up today…
Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo granted permission for several cities and counties in New York, including Rochester, to begin or continue red light camera programs until 2019. Red light camera programs remain a controversial topic, but cities all over the country are choosing to continue their programs as they strive to make their streets safer for all who traverse them. New York City Mayor de Blasio is leading the charge in our state with his Vision Zero plan, a multi-faceted approach to reducing traffic fatalities – and red light cameras are one of those facets…
The City of Rochester began installing red light cameras in 2010. There are currently over 30 intersections equipped with red light cameras (see the full list and a map here ) The cameras are active 24/7 and get still photos and video anytime a vehicle runs a red light. Registered owners of vehicles that are “captured” running red lights in those intersections are sent a Notice of Liability in the mail.
Many drivers, of course, do not like the presence of the cameras. They feel like big brother is watching…
Last week the City of Rochester decided it would not move ahead with a planned road diet along Lake Avenue that many had hoped would improve safety for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and those who depend on bus service in the area. The Lake Avenue Improvement Project would have replaced two automobile lanes with a center turning lane and bike lanes. Due to pressure from the Charlotte neighborhood and merchants associations, city engineers will be sent back to the drawing board, ordered to keep all four auto lanes…
Yet, New York State plans to spend fewer dollars on pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure; advocates call on the Governor to allocate more resources.
According to state data, there were 2,679 vehicle collisions with pedestrians or bicyclists in Monroe County over a four-year period from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2012. Using the New York State Department of Transportation’s Accident Data Files, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit transportation policy watchdog organization, found that pedestrians were involved in 1,479 of these collisions and 1,200 involved bicyclists.1 Thirty-three of these collisions were fatal (28 pedestrian collisions and 5 bicyclist collisions). The City of Rochester had the highest number of collisions (1,614) and the town of Greece the second highest (215)…