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Old 05-03-2013, 08:41 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,411 times
Reputation: 661

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
That's what arterial roads are for - to facilitate efficient travel.

I agree with that, and in fact think 75-85 mph is a moderate proposal, considering that it's the norm in Europe. For a typical rural interstate as it exists today, 75-85 mph should be the limit, assuming that one is to be set at all. Notice that I said "typical" - rural Interstates in America range from winding mountain freeways to long, straight stretches with no other traffic in sight.

The "increasing safety" line is BS. The only thing traffic cameras increase is government coffers and motorist anger. If you really want to improve safety how about lengthening yellow light times? In almost all cases red light violations are down 50% and accidents are reduced as well, a record that cameras can't match. The majority of red light violations are due to mistakes on the part of drivers, or by drivers reasonably violating a red light when there's a mile of visibility in all directions and no traffic. Very few violations are caused by drivers deliberately running a red light and driving into cross-traffic.

There are basically two approaches to handling traffic: create designs and laws that work against motorists, or create designs and laws that work with motorists. The former approach focuses on obedience to laws that punish deviance from a narrow pattern of behavior. The latter approach focuses on efficient traffic flow and helping drivers via design features. You see an outgrowth of this in the answer to the red light question:

Question: "How can we reduce accidents caused by red light running?"
Follower of approach #1: "Install cameras to ticket anyone who runs a red light. The fear of punishment will dissuade people from running red lights. Curse those lawbreakers!"
Follower of approach #2: "Lengthen yellow light times to allow people to clear the intersection in time. This will cut down on traffic conflict. Curse those revenuers!"

I'm obviously with #2, but I tried to be as neutral as possible in this "dialogue". There definitely appears to be two divergent approaches here. Brooklynborndad and TexasHorseLady provide two excellent examples of approach #1, and myself and KeepRightPassLeft provide two excellent examples of approach #2.



That's true, and those several seconds are called the "all-red clearance interval". That's a safety feature that permits cars still in the intersection (by mistake) to clear it before the cross traffic starts to move. It works quite well in many cases.



Another excellent example of approach #1. Based on what I've always been told and based on common sense, the purpose of the yellow light is to serve as a warning that the light is about to turn red. If you can safely stop without going over the stop line you should come to a stop at that time. If you cannot safely stop in time or if you're already in the intersection, you should keep going.

The situation you describe, that of allowing cars already in the intersection to clear, is more the domain of the all-red clearance interval than the yellow phase. If cars "obeyed the law" (which varies by state*) and took all measures necessary to avoid deliberately entering the intersection a yellow light, then many people would be rear-ended, or come to a stop in the middle of the intersection, or both. Fortunately most drivers know when it's safe to stop and when it's safer to proceed through the intersection. If the law doesn't reflect this then it needs to be changed.

*Some states have a "permissive yellow rule" and some states have a "restrictive yellow rule". The difference is explained here. Texas law, for example, does not prohibit entering the intersection on a yellow, only on a red. Legally the yellow is a warning that the light is about to turn red.

I agree. If you yield the right of way to a pedestrian or other motor vehicle, like you're supposed to at a yield sign, you're not going to hit or injure them. Failure to yield the right of way is a ticketable offense, much like how running a stop sign is. The only difference between a stop sign and a yield sign is that if it is not necessary to stop, you can keep moving at a yield sign, but at a stop sign you have to stop anyway.

If the concept of "you must stop whether you need to or not" doesn't make any sense to you, you're in good company, since most drivers ignore the legal requirement. Most drivers roll through the stop sign if nothing is coming, and come to a full stop to yield the right of way to other cars or to let pedestrians cross. This procedure is also known as "yielding", and surveys tend to cluster in the 80-90% range for the percentage of drivers who treat stops as yields.

Also, about pedestrian safety, even if a driver has come to a full stop there's nothing stopping him from resuming motion and threatening pedestrians () afterward, so I don't see what the point is.

That reminds me of when Republicans were talking about "backdoor gun control". Letting a corrupt system destroy itself is sometimes the best course to take. There have been cases where yellows were lengthened and red light cameras were removed afterwards, obviously because they were unprofitable.
Completely agreed, and in addition to longer yellows I think better lane management and synchronized lights can go a long way towards a safer environment on the road. When you have a system of traffic lights where people can actually get some kind of considerable distance on an arterial by going close to the speed limit, people seem to be more likely to follow it. In Manhattan, some of the one way avenues have lights which aren't so much synchronized, but rather progressively timed for you to be able to make each one by going the speed limit of 30 mph (granted theres no traffic, or anything else to slow you up lol). The best I've done was 92nd and Columbus to the Holland Tunnel on green lights the entire way...at like 2am lol.

Columbus Ave & W 92nd St, New York, NY to Unknown road - Google Maps

This route, Columbus --> 9th Ave --> Hudson --> Bleecker --> 7th Ave --> Varick Street --> tunnel in about ten minutes, half the Google Maps time by driving the speed limit (30 mph) and making all of the lights. Taxi drivers know this as well, which is why you'll often see them "catch the flow".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
Also, how did we come to discussing red light cameras in a thread titled "Traffic calming"? What do red light cameras have to do with traffic calming?
Bingo:

Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
Freeways could use some form of traffic calming too, since no one pays attention to the 65mph limit. The freeways are scary enough without every idiot doing 80mph (when it isn't backed up with bumper to bumper traffic). What's the point? It accomplishes nothing but wastes fuel and creates stress and road rage, and pollution. And kills more people. I don't think people should be allowed to go any speed they want on the freeways.

I would propose putting those red light cameras on every freeway and start mailing out $500 speeding tickets en masse. And double the fine for repeat offenders. After the first ticket their insurance rates will probably double too. That should take care of the problem real quick. It's simple. You break the law, you pay the price.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:37 PM
 
2,366 posts, read 2,127,516 times
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In addition to longer yellow, I think there should be a delay red to prevent anyone from entering the intersection and to make sure it is clear. This works a lot more better than some silly red light cameras. I'm not a fan of them either. I haven't been caught by them but I shouldn't have to slam my brakes to stop at a light. Speeding has nothing to do with that. You get to a point where you just can't stop in time and must continue forward. At that point, I wouldn't care if I did get ticketed. I rather pay the fine than to risk getting rear-ended and/or wearing out my brake pads.

There is no safety in red-lights, just revenue. Most governments can't come up with a solution to a problem so they find a way to make money off of it.
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:13 AM
 
Location: Laurentia
5,593 posts, read 6,373,602 times
Reputation: 2388
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
Completely agreed, and in addition to longer yellows I think better lane management and synchronized lights can go a long way towards a safer environment on the road. When you have a system of traffic lights where people can actually get some kind of considerable distance on an arterial by going close to the speed limit, people seem to be more likely to follow it. In Manhattan, some of the one way avenues have lights which aren't so much synchronized, but rather progressively timed for you to be able to make each one by going the speed limit of 30 mph (granted theres no traffic, or anything else to slow you up lol). The best I've done was 92nd and Columbus to the Holland Tunnel on green lights the entire way...at like 2am lol.
The synchronization issue is one that is often overlooked. If drivers figure out that their travel time can be reduced by traveling at the speed limit they will be more likely to go at the speed limit. This only works if it's something reasonable - 25-35 mph for a typical urban arterial. You're not going to get much compliance if you synchronize the lights for 10 mph .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phyxius View Post
Most governments can't come up with a solution to a problem so they find a way to make money off of it.
Unfortunately that's the general regime we've been living under for the past several decades.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:40 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,004,178 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
If you're not slowing down in time to stop for a yellow light or a red light then maybe you need to stop being a leadfoot and start obeying the speed limit.
I'm not going to suggest you're not right, but that it's irrelevant because that how people should act and how people do act are very different. If you or anyone really wants safer streets, than the design approach makes sense because it, as much as possible, accounts for how people do act. The best streets get people to police themselves without knowing it.

Some techniques include road diets which compact avenue users, thereby making driving less comfortable (comfort=complacency and speed) and flow control (traffic keeps moving at a brisk pace, but via light timing or other control mechanism and traffic volume, it cannot exceed some given speed).
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:21 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,265,560 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
I'm not going to suggest you're not right, but that it's irrelevant because that how people should act and how people do act are very different. If you or anyone really wants safer streets, than the design approach makes sense because it, as much as possible, accounts for how people do act. The best streets get people to police themselves without knowing it.

Some techniques include road diets which compact avenue users, thereby making driving less comfortable (comfort=complacency and speed) and flow control (traffic keeps moving at a brisk pace, but via light timing or other control mechanism and traffic volume, it cannot exceed some given speed).
I think traffic calming begins on the freeway. When people have the mentality that they can go as fast as they want on the freeways so even when they get off the freeway and onto city streets they're in the same speeding state of mind. They want to keep going as fast as possible. Speed is like a drug or a rush and they want to maintain that high. It's also a macho thing. People are racing each other to stay in front of the pack. They may not even be consciously aware that they're engaging in a mindless competition. The car commercials are always glorifying speed and power. They're always bragging about the speed and power of their engines and how fast their cars can go from zero to sixty. Advertising probably has a strong influence on behavior.
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,411 times
Reputation: 661
Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
I think traffic calming begins on the freeway. When people have the mentality that they can go as fast as they want on the freeways so even when they get off the freeway and onto city streets they're in the same speeding state of mind. They want to keep going as fast as possible. Speed is like a drug or a rush and they want to maintain that high. It's also a macho thing. People are racing each other to stay in front of the pack. They may not even be consciously aware that they're engaging in a mindless competition. The car commercials are always glorifying speed and power. They're always bragging about the speed and power of their engines and how fast their cars can go from zero to sixty. Advertising probably has a strong influence on behavior.
Or we could just have higher, more rational speed limits on highways and create stricter guidelines for becoming a driver. I think in the meantime, you should just avoid driving if you can't handle it...because it seems like from the way you're posting, people driving at any speed over 10 MPH just deeply bothers you that you feel the need to just insult and label drivers as a whole (while I do agree a LOT of people have no idea how to drive, I don't think speed is always the true problem...its the way they drive). If you do have to drive, all I can say is stay the hell out of the left lane, please.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:48 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,004,178 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
I think traffic calming begins on the freeway.
True, but this is more a lesson for engineers than drivers. If a street is designed with the same principles as an interstate--wide margins, long sightlines, wide lanes, wide interchanges--it encourages people to maintain absolutely high speeds, despite the presence of bicyclists and pedestrians.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Fishers, IN
4,164 posts, read 4,616,068 times
Reputation: 4224
Most of the stoplights in the city I work in have left turn arrows despite the fact that there is never enough traffic to warrant them. I can think of maybe 5 intersections that are busy enough to require them but otherwise, they are completely unnecessary. And to make things work, much of the time, at least one direction will get the arrow even when there's nobody waiting in the left turn lane. All this tends to do is create angry drivers, something I think city planners should be trying to avoid. You can argue safety, but they are all "left turn yield to oncoming traffic on green" after the arrow anyway. In the following examples, yes, that is typically the busiest these roads are.

Example 1:
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=carme...,248.44,,0,1.1

Example 2:
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=carme...66.79,,0,-3.31

Example 3:
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=carme...35.08,,0,12.41

Example 4: In this example, I understand cross traffic because it's a major street, but the road ahead is coming out of a subdivision. Why is there a left turn arrow??
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=carme...180.17,,0,8.41

Example 5:
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=carme...198.79,,0,1.19
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Old 05-21-2013, 02:11 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,004,178 times
Reputation: 1348
10-lane intersection without traffic lights is perfect for driverless cars

Yes, it does say driverless cars, but I look at this design and see more of the same way of thinking--moving cars ever faster--that has made traffic calming relevant.

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