Traffic Engineers’ Epic Fail

Megalith

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Traffic engineer Jon Larsen is calling out his fellow street design professionals and demands that they change their tact immediately: most streets are being designed in a way that induces dangerously fast driving (no matter the posted speed limit), resulting in tens of thousands of deaths every year.

Last week, a junior high student was hit and killed in Syracuse, Utah while crossing the street at a crosswalk in front of his junior high school. It should be one of the safest in the city, but it isn’t. This street is long, straight, and wide. Everything about this design tells the driver, “Go ahead, drive fast. It will be OK.” Meanwhile, children are crossing at a marked crosswalk, lulled into a false sense of security.
 
It seems to me that the best solution would be to have both schools on the same side of the street. No chance of pedestrian vs vehicle if the pedestrians are kept off the road.
 
It seems to me that the best solution would be to have both schools on the same side of the street. No chance of pedestrian vs vehicle if the pedestrians are kept off the road.
Not exactly a practical solution and kids are still likely to cross that street.

IMO, the easiest solution's are 1: something in the road that makes noise when you drive over them. 2 Flashing lights during times where kids are likely to be crossing the street. 3. Speed Bumps. I hate the latter, but if all else fails, that's a pretty solid solution. 4. a crossing stop light (it can flash yellow, until someone wants to cross and pushes a button to change the light.
 
1. Lower speed limit
2. Officer with a radar gun
3.
4. Profit

School zones should always have lower speed limits, what's wrong with these city officials.
 
A lot of this is still privy to the approving agency. Yes, I'm actually putting some responsibility on the local jurisdiction that approved the intersection in the first place. He mentions traffic calming in the final portion of his column, which should've been the first thing to discuss in his column. Based on my interactions with my local county's DOT department, any roadway job near a school always, and I mean ALWAYS, over-emphasizes maintaining or adding ('bring up to current standards') traffic calming devices.

Where was the requisite traffic study? These jobs don't get approved in a vacuum.

You also still have three distinct parties here - the designer, the client, and the approval agency. You're telling me nobody raised a stink about this? Particularly with school developments, you usually have a public session/townhall with residents. Again, I'm surprised something like this got through review and and was constructed without a single peep.

Did some more digging:
- Davis County is under Region 1, so that's the responsible office for this work.
https://www.udot.utah.gov/main/f?p=100:pg:0:::1:T,V:59,

- Traffic Impact Study
http://www.udot.utah.gov/main/uconowner.gf?n=20390830840115233
 
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boo hoo. Natural selection proves itself to be true?

School zones should NOT have lower speed limits. It's amazing that in every country but ours kids have no fucking problem taking a mass-transit that everyone else does (subway, train, rail, etc...) and can make their entire trip to school ON FOOT - but yet we can't even have kids walk 2 blocks to school without safety guidance the whole fucking way. Get bent.

We are the only country where our pedestrians are such pompous assholes - that they deliberately start moving in front of vehicles (and with no right-of-way) with the incredible assumption that they will be seen and driver will know (or care) to stop. Way to turn do a complete 180 on survival of the fittest.
 
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boo hoo. Natural selection proves itself to be true?

School zones should NOT have lower speed limits. It's amazing that in every country but ours kids have no fucking problem taking a mass-transit that everyone else does (subway, train, rail, etc...) and can make their entire trip to school ON FOOT - but yet we can't even have kids walk 2 blocks to school without safety guidance the whole fucking way. Get bent.

We are the only country where our pedestrians are such pompous assholes - that they deliberately start moving in front of vehicles (and with no right-of-way) with the incredibly assumption that they will be seen and driver will know (or care) to stop. Way to turn do a complete 180 on survival of the fittest.

I don't know what you're talking about because in PA the pedestrian has the right of way in a crosswalk. That being said, as a pedestrian, just because I have the right of way doesn't mean I walk right out in front of a car just because I'm right.
 
(and with no right-of-way) with the incredibly assumption that they will be seen and driver will know (or care) to stop.
Pedestrians always have right-of-way around here, you can get a ticket if you don't stop (crossing walk or no). Obliviously you do want drivers to see you first :), but if you look like you want to cross cars have to stop and let you cross. I don't live in a big city, but it doesn't sound like this story took place in one either.
 
boo hoo. Natural selection proves itself to be true?

School zones should NOT have lower speed limits. It's amazing that in every country but ours kids have no fucking problem taking a mass-transit that everyone else does (subway, train, rail, etc...) and can make their entire trip to school ON FOOT - but yet we can't even have kids walk 2 blocks to school without safety guidance the whole fucking way. Get bent.

We are the only country where our pedestrians are such pompous assholes - that they deliberately start moving in front of vehicles (and with no right-of-way) with the incredible assumption that they will be seen and driver will know (or care) to stop. Way to turn do a complete 180 on survival of the fittest.

Huh...ever try to cross the crosswalk pushing a double long stroller? Yeah. Fuck. You.
I can't believe I'm am actually saying this, but it is important to have a lower speed limit around schools. Children are dumb, and don't understand that a car/truck can't always see you and stop on a dime. Am I raising my kiddos to be cognisant of their surroundings, and have heightened situational awareness? Yup, no snowflakes in my home. That said, where is the signage? Even a blinking yellow light indicating school activity would be nice...que lawsuit in 3...2...1
 
Simple failure where the city decided to post 40mph speed limit instead of 25mph for school zone. Adding a traffic light for pedestrian crossing would have helped too. Like the article said, the city favored speed and traffic flow over safety. As it is with everything that you decide to roll the dice with, eventually it will bite you in the ass.
 
boo hoo. Natural selection proves itself to be true?

School zones should NOT have lower speed limits. It's amazing that in every country but ours kids have no fucking problem taking a mass-transit that everyone else does (subway, train, rail, etc...) and can make their entire trip to school ON FOOT - but yet we can't even have kids walk 2 blocks to school without safety guidance the whole fucking way. Get bent.

We are the only country where our pedestrians are such pompous assholes - that they deliberately start moving in front of vehicles (and with no right-of-way) with the incredible assumption that they will be seen and driver will know (or care) to stop. Way to turn do a complete 180 on survival of the fittest.

This takes the cake as some of the dumbest shit I've ever read. Probably coming from someone that has no kids or anyone else he could care about.

Quit making the argument that drivers should be less aware of their surroundings if you're arguing that everyone that isn't in a car should be more aware.

I hate to burst your ego but being behind the wheel doesn't make you more important than anyone else. It just means you're an asshole that weighs over 1 Ton.
 
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Jesus, blame the victim much? I bet you also think cyclists should be run over for making drivers "wait" so long.
The problem is people in their cars, driving 1+ ton metal blocks on wheels, can and do wreak havoc when operated unresponsibly. It doesn't matter if the pedestrian is making shitty choices, the pedestrian is a bag of organs against huge unstoppable vehicles.
Quit making the argument that drivers should be less aware of their surroundings if you're arguing that everyone that isn't in a car should be more aware.
When I see comments like his, rather than try to discuss with him, I just assume he has a screw loose in his head.
 
1. Everyone get off your phones.

2. Signage.

3. Profit.

We have school zones here, 40km/h during set posted times that are signed by electronic signs and flash when the times are in session. Sure they're a pita and cause traffic congestion, but slow people down around them, which leads to my next point, stop building schools on main roads. Dumb arse city planners and engineers. Pretty much sums up the calibre of that Larsen guy who thinks it's the road that is the problem.
 
Simple failure where the city decided to post 40mph speed limit instead of 25mph for school zone. Adding a traffic light for pedestrian crossing would have helped too. Like the article said, the city favored speed and traffic flow over safety. As it is with everything that you decide to roll the dice with, eventually it will bite you in the ass.

The article mentions that there have been studies done in which drivers will reliably ignore the posted speed limit based on things like the width of the street and other markings. I don't think a 25mph zone would have helped given the evidence put forth by the writer. (However there are no citations to back up those claims...)

I have to drive through a school zone every day to work and 9 times out of 10 at least one person completely ignores the 20mph limit imposed when the street light is flashing. It's damn near every morning when at least one car, usually more, completely blows through the short block at 40mph instead of 20. If a driver can't even be trusted to see a flashing street sign what good is their attention when there is suddenly a kid crossing the street?

It's a sad world we live in that drivers feel so enabled to act like assholes and then feel like they are wronged when called out on it.
 
The article mentions that there have been studies done in which drivers will reliably ignore the posted speed limit based on things like the width of the street and other markings. I don't think a 25mph zone would have helped given the evidence put forth by the writer. (However there are no citations to back up those claims...)
I have to drive through a school zone every day to work and 9 times out of 10 at least one person completely ignores the 20mph limit imposed when the street light is flashing. It's damn near every morning when at least one car, usually more, completely blows through the short block at 40mph instead of 20. If a driver can't even be trusted to see a flashing street sign what good is their attention when there is suddenly a kid crossing the street?
It's a sad world we live in that drivers feel so enabled to act like assholes and then feel like they are wronged when called out on it.
I'm pretty sure we all drive much faster than 25mph when passing a school zone. However, most of us have the common decency to slow down in the morning and afternoon when the the kids are coming to and leaving school.

I think having a 25mph sign does help. Reason being that most people will slow down and when they do, that in term should help slow down traffic including those that usually speed through it.

My city has an almost exact replica of the one shown in the article. We installed a traffic light for crossing between schools and a posted speed limit of 25mph. Often times, there will be the presence of a police car in plain sight when both schools are out. 99% of the time, we are all zipping along between 40mph and 50mph when there is no traffic.
 
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How about pedestrians and cars don't mix. No matter how good the signage, flashing lights, speed limits etc is all around, there'll still be fatalities because a kid isn't paying attention or a driver isn't paying attention.

So separate them. Build a tunnel, build a pedestrian overpass. They do work and have worked for ages.

I just don't understand the idea that to be safe you need to slow down speeds and purposely introduce traffic. That's the lazy/cheap way to do it and it's not very effective because almost no one follows speed limits to the letter. Even in places with speeding cameras they're considered income.
 
1. Lower speed limit
2. Officer with a radar gun
3.
4. Profit

School zones should always have lower speed limits, what's wrong with these city officials.

I pass by a school zone that will have cops posted quite often. People still pass me going 15-20 over the speed limit when the light is blinking. You just can't control some people behavior.
 
Cobblestone parts on the road work pretty good to reduce car traveling speeds. There are a lot of ignorant or distracted drivers, lights and sounds sometimes don't grab their attention, such as in car entertainment items in full blast or disable auditory attention (from being used to too much traffic noise) for example. I think cars with GPS should have attention grabbing warnings when near school districts while in a high rate of speed, speaking of which, don't school areas have a speed limit of 15mph?
 
So separate them. Build a tunnel, build a pedestrian overpass. They do work and have worked for ages.

Was just going to say build a pedestrian overpass, simple as that. Cars can maintain the posted speed limit and kids can be safe and burn a few extra calories. Look at Vegas. the past decade they have removed pedestrian crosswalks and put in pedestrian overpasses. This has saved lives, improved traffic congestion and made everyone happy and safer.

Its not rocket science.....
 
Was just going to say build a pedestrian overpass, simple as that. Cars can maintain the posted speed limit and kids can be safe and burn a few extra calories. Look at Vegas. the past decade they have removed pedestrian crosswalks and put in pedestrian overpasses. This has saved lives, improved traffic congestion and made everyone happy and safer.

Its not rocket science.....
Sure, but it's a lot cheaper to just put in speed bumps or even a traffic light. It doesn't look like it's a terribly busy road.
 
Why narrow the whole road? can't we use speed bumps anymore? Agreed there is probably a design issue with this road, but couldn't it be solved by a few speed-bumps and an active speed sign that tells you the speed you are going? don't need to tear up the whole area and limit side road parking spots to achieve the same result I would think.
 
Speed humps (not bumps, bumps are not permissible on a road) present some liability issues for towns. They also are not appropriate for every instance. For instance in this case you have a shoulder for parking AND a two way left turn lane. People can AND WILL try to avoid them by driving around them.

That said this is a really bad design for a crosswalk. Ideally you would want to give refuge in the center by providing a median island (instead you have to dodge turning traffic). There should also be "bulb-outs" that end the shoulder so that it gives better visibility to pedestrians (parked cars block visibility).
 
The example street is a perfect example of a wide open field of view where pedestrians can easily see cars coming from both directions.
 
So we should stop punishing people because a crime is made to tempting? Murder should be fine because it is just to tempting to kill people. Theft should be allowed as items being there visible to people just invites them to come steal it....
 
I am going with the design/location fail crowd. People expect crosswalks at intersections not in the middle of a block, especially on a 5 lane road. Sure, there is a passive x-walk sign but by the time most folks will see the sign, it is too late to slow or avoid folks in the walkway. Also, looking at the aerial view, there are many vehicle entrances not far from the crosswalk. If a car there is doing the slow crawl while waiting for an approaching car to pass by, guess where the approaching car's driver is likely looking? And a car waiting in the left turn lane to turn into one of the parking lots will block the oncoming traffic's view of people in half the x-cross walk.

Looks like there is a main entrance out of the middle of the Jr High that leads right to the road. Probably used by a lot of kids considering there is a driveway almost opposite.
 
Around here if there are any streets with schools, libraries or parks (basically places kids might be) there is always a stop sign at the crosswalks (or almost always).

But having a buddy who works with CalTrans it's amazing what they have to do in order to slow people down. Like come on people this shit isn't about you, stop driving 80 just because you can, as a result they close down lanes for "maintenance" and now everyone is slowed down to 35, thanks a lot dicks who think "I CAN DRIVE FAST I'M A GOOD DRIVER!"

The older I get the more I think people should not be allowed to drive.
 
boo hoo. Natural selection proves itself to be true?

School zones should NOT have lower speed limits. It's amazing that in every country but ours kids have no fucking problem taking a mass-transit that everyone else does (subway, train, rail, etc...) and can make their entire trip to school ON FOOT - but yet we can't even have kids walk 2 blocks to school without safety guidance the whole fucking way. Get bent.

We are the only country where our pedestrians are such pompous assholes - that they deliberately start moving in front of vehicles (and with no right-of-way) with the incredible assumption that they will be seen and driver will know (or care) to stop. Way to turn do a complete 180 on survival of the fittest.

TBF in othe cpuntries these kind of issues are handled way earlier in he "process"
- Better driving education /requirements
- The crime is way less so its safer to take public transportation

at somepoint you just gota admit that whatever is the american way, its no reaking working when its constantly falling so for behind on so many metrics. But hey patrionism beat common sense right ?
America is all about fixing stuff after it breaks. most other modern countries. tries to avoid it from the getgo.
 
meanwhile in other countries, engineers had learned to add speed bumps at student crossing ever since speed bumps were introduced.

somehow the rest of the world had also figured out how to build pedestrian bridges.
 
Fix is quite simple. You file multiple lawsuits: against the school, another one against the town, and a third to the driver.

After losing millions of dollars the school and town will get that fixed in no time so they never again lose so much money plus the added benefit of no one else dying, and the family gets compensated to deal with their tragedy
 
boo hoo. Natural selection proves itself to be true?

School zones should NOT have lower speed limits. It's amazing that in every country but ours kids have no fucking problem taking a mass-transit that everyone else does (subway, train, rail, etc...) and can make their entire trip to school ON FOOT - but yet we can't even have kids walk 2 blocks to school without safety guidance the whole fucking way. Get bent.

We are the only country where our pedestrians are such pompous assholes - that they deliberately start moving in front of vehicles (and with no right-of-way) with the incredible assumption that they will be seen and driver will know (or care) to stop. Way to turn do a complete 180 on survival of the fittest.

I rarely post to shit like this, but I have to respond having six children.

Natural selection proves itself to be true? How fucking heartless do you have to be to state shit like that? Survival of the fittest? A kid is dead and this is the type of god damn garbage that is allowed on HARDFORUM????
 
I know it's not the cheapest or practical solution, but what about building an overpass bridge? Pedestrians in general get to be safe. I'm not saying do it everywhere - but heavily transited areas should be doable. Even speed bumps would help, but that'd just be annoying. I rather inconvenience pedestrians some by having to go up some stairs.
 
How about pedestrians and cars don't mix. No matter how good the signage, flashing lights, speed limits etc is all around, there'll still be fatalities because a kid isn't paying attention or a driver isn't paying attention.

So separate them. Build a tunnel, build a pedestrian overpass. They do work and have worked for ages.

I just don't understand the idea that to be safe you need to slow down speeds and purposely introduce traffic. That's the lazy/cheap way to do it and it's not very effective because almost no one follows speed limits to the letter. Even in places with speeding cameras they're considered income.

There was a corner in Ireland I believe where they tried everything, signs galore and all sorts of barriers and shit and people still crashed.
So they had enough, they took all the signs and nanny horse shit away and what would you guess - the crashes almost entirely stopped.
Making people take personal responsibility was the key here.

For crossings like this, tunnel or lights and active crossing 'crew' (volunteer kids) with a teacher + fold out signs that physically block the road and shit when crossing is probably one of the best ways on the cheap, it's what we do here in NZ. That said we don't have so many straight roads, many drivers are shit though especially in the country roads, townies suck ass.

They also have walking busses and other shit. Before we were allowed out solo as a kid we had road safety drilled into us.

Lowering speed limits at 2am does nothing to help, I hate that inefficent, lazy shit just because 'MUH 5 GORILLION KEEEDS' . Temporary limit signs are the way to go and we have more of them now around schools and I have no problem with them.

The 'motorway' here in NZ is what needs work most. 80kmh (45mph) 'motorway' sections with variable signage that's not used (used to be 100kmh) which would be 120kmh+ in Germany with the exact same setup. Enough said.
They even fucked up building a tunnel which was supposed to be 100kmh but now is 80kmh. Fucking idiots.
 
1. What ever happened to teaching your kids to look both ways before crossing the street? Even if there is a marked crosswalk, you can't just assume that everybody is going to be paying attention and stop for people running out into the road.

2. There should be warning lights and ruble strips.

3. A pedestrian bridge could somewhat help.. but unless there is a high fence along the street on both sides, people will still just run across the street because they are too lazy to go up a few stairs in order to cross safely.

4. You can't fix stupid... on both the driver and pedestrian side.

5. For school crosswalks, I have never seen one, during normal school starting and ending hours, that wasn't manned by a cross-guard.
 
Maybe add an overhead crosswalk?
Come to think of it, most Americans would jay-walk that road anyways, because who likes going up and down a set of stairs?

Yup, traffic calming device, like reduced lanes, a raised center median and a lower speed limit through there would help immensely.


Also, 40mph speed limit in a zone with two schools? That is just all levels of stupid and/or inept.
 
I've seen enhanced pedestrian crossings with "in-use" activation lights seem to be well received. Ex.
kal7.jpg


You might have to post a cop to kick people in the crotch until they actually learn they have to stop for the pedestrians though.
 
i lost count of how many kids I see everyday crossing the street with their eyes buried in their phone.


oh, and this is the best crosswalk signage.....

r960-94b030284631aa61ec47b48969b80dca.jpg
 
The problem with reduced school zone speed limits is that 90% of the time they don't really apply. Since there are only kids present for at most, a cumulative hour per day , drivers get trained to ignore school zones. It's been proven time and time again, that the majority of people will simply drive at the speed they feel comfortable, regardless of speed limit.

I'm in the 'fix the pedestrian' camp. There's no reason to have a crosswalk in the middle of an arterial. It should be moved to the nearest intersection, where drivers already expect to stop.
 
Fix is quite simple. You file multiple lawsuits: against the school, another one against the town, and a third to the driver.

After losing millions of dollars the school and town will get that fixed in no time so they never again lose so much money plus the added benefit of no one else dying, and the family gets compensated to deal with their tragedy

they will just shut down the school.
 
There was a corner in Ireland I believe where they tried everything, signs galore and all sorts of barriers and shit and people still crashed.
So they had enough, they took all the signs and nanny horse shit away and what would you guess - the crashes almost entirely stopped.
Making people take personal responsibility was the key here.

For crossings like this, tunnel or lights and active crossing 'crew' (volunteer kids) with a teacher + fold out signs that physically block the road and shit when crossing is probably one of the best ways on the cheap, it's what we do here in NZ. That said we don't have so many straight roads, many drivers are shit though especially in the country roads, townies suck ass.

They also have walking busses and other shit. Before we were allowed out solo as a kid we had road safety drilled into us.

Lowering speed limits at 2am does nothing to help, I hate that inefficent, lazy shit just because 'MUH 5 GORILLION KEEEDS' . Temporary limit signs are the way to go and we have more of them now around schools and I have no problem with them.

The 'motorway' here in NZ is what needs work most. 80kmh (45mph) 'motorway' sections with variable signage that's not used (used to be 100kmh) which would be 120kmh+ in Germany with the exact same setup. Enough said.
They even fucked up building a tunnel which was supposed to be 100kmh but now is 80kmh. Fucking idiots.


If the intention is not to profit through fines and summons, then there are MANY ways to reduce speed on highways. Just work with WAZE to give reports on SPEED CAMERA AHEAD. Like in my country except its sort of a grey area on who's actually reporting and whether it is allowed to be shared

But you know politicians and bureaucrats. Only once in a blue moon do they do something actually benefiting the public. They even tried having the Private sector install their own Speed traps and ticketing system.
 
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