9.21.2006

traffic calming efforts and best intentions

my blood is already starting to boil
I am trying to brace myself for the worst
I fear that I stand alone in my understanding of this situation

all of my efforts to gather some attention to the speeding traffic on my street may very well backfire

over all sorts of emails...
there was some talk of this

there was some talk of that
there was the modification of a stop light at the top of the hill

there was talk of a study
I said give me a bike path
the insignificant expense of some paint on the road
lets do something now
as the study will take time

for a second it sounded like they were going to act on my request
then I heard otherwise
there was talk of a sidewalk being added to the other side of the street

initially I was over joyed
the thinner road sounded like a good plan
in other neighborhoods I have witnessed that the thinner roads force cars to slow down to avoid a head on collision
but these measures would not work on a road with a double yellow line in the center
the amount of road thinning that would need to be done would have all sorts of negative backlash

I fear that the thinning of the road will make the road more dangerous for all users of the road...
parking the cars will be more difficult
cars will have to stop and wait for the cars to fully get into their spaces
aggressive and irrate traffic will cross the double line heading into on coming traffic
car doors will be at risk when opened
car drivers will be pinned against their cars as they walk up or down the block to their cars
it seems that the wider road had its hidden advantages
as unintentional as they were

the double parking of UPS trucks, Postal vehicles, people picking up and dropping off friends, or whatever would block the road causing congestion
as well as the dangerous crossing of the double yellow line

the thinner road would force the cyclist to block traffic behind them
both headed down the hill
and definitely headed up the hill
a road that is already dangerous for the high volume of bicycle traffic will become more dangerous
road rage will increase
and I will tell you... road rage is already at a volatile level

here it falls back to the logic of the bike lane
the simple cost effective request of a bike lane
a bike lane not just for bicycle purpose


what would the bike lane do?
the bike lane would give the illusion of thinner road
the effort for cars to stay within the parameters of the center lane and the bike lane would cause drivers to slow down
it would also keep the drivers in control
rather than swimming freely in an undefined space
the bike path itself would create a no mans land where pedestrians could stand as they work their way across the street (with anticipation and respect for oncoming cyclists in the bike path)
the bike path would allow for the parked cars to open their doors (when clear of oncoming cyclists in the bike path)
and the bike path would create a safer experience for the cyclists that use this road for their commute or their work outs
yes, the bike path would be in the "door zone"
but
the cyclist is already riding to the right of traffic and trying to stay aware of opening car doors
so this has not changed

what frustrates me...
I do not see that any of my neighbors see my vision
the importance of the cyclist's rights and the cyclist safety goes unseen
the forward thinking of the dangers of the thinning road go unanticipated and unseen

there is some agreement
there is movement towards some action
and
there is discussion
all of this is important
but... the view must be all encompassing
the cyclist's future on this road is as important as the cars

the one thing that has been learned through the discussions is that the calming of traffic will not be achieve through just one effort
the issueing of tickets is a failed effort
as the issueing of tickets does not change behavior
we all know that the speeder speeds away after getting the ticket only to speed more once out of view of the officer

there needs to be a combination of efforts
the sidewalk is an unlikely prospect
the sidewalk on National Park land would be an improvement
but not if the sidewalk takes up any of the road space
that road space is vital to the fluid movement of traffic
the high volume of bicycle traffic can not go unnoticed
the bicyclist voices can not go unheard

I am counting on Eric Gilland of WABA and Jim Sebastian of DDOT to be able to see forward enough and to be persuasive enough to aid others to see the need to take the bicycle traffic into account
tomorrow is the formal "walk through"
I am coming home from work for this meeting
I hope it goes well
I hope that it does not frustrate me more
I hope that what is resolved is best for all
the neighborhood as well as the passing traffic.... passing traffic which includes bicycles

I WANT TO SEE MAPS
I WANT TO SEE MODELS
I WANT TO SEE THEM PAINT A PICTURE OF THE FUTURE

I AM NOT SOLD ON THIS SIDEWALK THINNING EFFORT
A SIDEWALK YES
AN ACTUALLY THINNER ROAD?
NO.

a poetic gwadzilla archive for a fallen rider

in addition to the road changes there needs to be an education
adults are behaving like children
and the children are... well... pushing the parameters of their parents
if the parents are bad drivers now
the next generations will only be worse
who is failing to anticipate this?

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2 comments:

Chris, Liz & Jamie said...

I feel your pain. I'm fortunate to live on a lightly traveled one way street, but here are still asshats that go too fast. Perhaps I'll push an empty stroller in front of their cars one day. Ooops, Sorry!

Hope to see ya on the bike sometime.

gwadzilla said...

chris
surprised we have not crossed paths on the path
those trails are great
but
the traffic gets hectic
everyone fighting for king or queen of the path
how can we get more paths?
I guess we are going to have to take back the streets
-zilla

(the stroller into the street is very JACKASS... it may get the point across)