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Old 02-26-2014, 01:55 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
As for slow traffic limits downtown, they make no sense. There are pedestrians all over a city that need to cross the road, it isn't the number of pedestrians that is the problem or the speed of the cars. What is needed is stop signs or traffic signals on larger roads and pedestrians should wait for the cars to come to an stop before crossing the road.
Why? Yes there are pluses to fast moving traffic in convience, but in general it's more pleasant and safer for pedestrians when traffic is slow. There's not much distance drivers are going in downtown Portland and few reasons to drive through it. And judging by that thread, none of the Portland posters find the low downtown driving speeds a problem. Ditto for Downtown Boston, due to the layout and congestion it's difficult for drivers to go faster than bicycle speed anyway.


Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Without stop signs and traffic signals on large busy road drivers may not see a pedestrian waiting to cross. If pedestrians don't wait to till cars have come to an complete stop, then again danger(The driver may not have noticed you) or The car simply does not have enough distance to stop. Where I live people running for the bus are the pedestrians more likely to get hit.
My town has crosswalks mid block traffic (no lights or stop signs) is supposed to yield to. Traffic on that particular road is slow, probably not much more than 20 mph and it's usually congested.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Not surprising depending on the amount of traffic you might not be able to hit 25MPH at busy times but closing every other street off would hurt. It would pile more traffic on to some roads and increase the walking distance to others and possibly harm retail.

As for slow traffic limits downtown, they make no sense. There are pedestrians all over a city that need to cross the road, it isn't the number of pedestrians that is the problem or the speed of the cars. What is needed is stop signs or traffic signals on larger roads and pedestrians should wait for the cars to come to an stop before crossing the road.

Without stop signs and traffic signals on large busy road drivers may not see a pedestrian waiting to cross. If pedestrians don't wait to till cars have come to an complete stop, then again danger(The driver may not have noticed you) or The car simply does not have enough distance to stop. Where I live people running for the bus are the pedestrians more likely to get hit.
The speed limit in downtown Portland is technically 25mph, but the timed lights prevent that, though Naito Parkway along the river is 30mph I believe.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
Contrary to popular belief, most drivers do stop when the light is red.

25 mph is not a "high speed."
It depends on the area, driving through the streets in Philadelphia it is a high speed and the use of stop signs at each intersection prevents being able to drive at 25mph which is much safer for pedestrians and bicycles.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:44 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Huh, I wouldn't have inferred that. If it doesn't specifically say, it's just no information. It's also wikipedia, so the article could just be incomplete. Also sidewalks without curb doesn't mean the pedestrians don't have legal priority to the street. The Dutch woonerf may have sidewalks, but it says:

A woonerf is a living street where pedestrians and cyclists have legal priority over motorists as implemented in the Netherlands and in Flanders.

Woonerf - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

this one has a sidewalk but the sign suggests the roads could be used by pedestrians and children playing:

http://imurp.nl/wp-content/uploads/2...a-1400x900.jpg

this one the sidewalk might disappear

http://aslathedirt.files.wordpress.c...onerf_blog.jpg
Thinking about the shared streets mentioned, the shared, slow street seem to be the extreme form of Street hierachry, often criticized by "urbanists" [is there a better word?] usually in favor of a grid. In the US, arterials separating rather poorly connected residential street often full of meanders and cul de sacs discourages any through traffic and concentrates them in faster moving roads. By slowing residential traffic down, the shared street accomplishes about the same thing, few would want to use them as a through street. One of the articles on the woonerf mentioned they often require short turns to keep a straight path, preventing a true grid.

In the US, children often play in cul-de sacs and dead end streets are often valued for the lack of through traffic. The shared streets are perhaps a European subsitute: slow traffic down to bicycle speed or less so that the streets can used for other things.

So, reaction to the same problem (fast moving traffic on residential streets in a street setup without a hierarchy). The shared street solution prioritizes pedestrain connectivity at the expense of car speed, which might be acceptable at higher residential densities when the distance needed to travel on the slow moving streets before reaching a bigger road is small. And valued more where there are more pedestrians and less private space.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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No, I think urbanist is a suitable word for what you are talking about.

In the US I am not a fan of shared streets, but in Europe I would credit them with the fact that a number of those shared streets are typically old streets and the types of vehicles that use them are typically small. Probably not gonna field someone in their Hummer 2 driving down it.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
Contrary to popular belief, most drivers do stop when the light is red.
Yes, but not all crosswalks have traffic lights or stop signs. And that doesn't factor in people turning on their green into the crosswalk and not paying attention to the pedestrians.

Kinda like this incident earlier this week in SF:

Family of woman hit on 10th Ave & California is “thankful she’s alive” | Richmond SF Blog
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:14 PM
 
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If a pedestrian has a don't walk signal or no crosswalk is available, then they shouldn't be in the streets.
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Well, there's many different types of streets/roads. You have places where the main purpose is to provide access, and places where the main purpose is transportation.

You have streets like this in Kensington Market:

https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.65433...lgQD-g!2e0!3e5

Look around street view from the intersection of Kensington Ave and Dundas St W in Toronto, go North to Baldwin, West on Baldwin to Augusta and North on Augusta to College St W. These streets are very much about access and not transportation (of cars at least). It's all about access to pedestrians, of which there are a ton, bikes, delivery trucks and the occasional car of which there are very few. From the point of view of automobile traffic, you're not going to be going here unless the starting or end point of your trip is on one of these streets. It's very chaotic, and quite narrow, regardless of what the speed limit is, you'd be crazy to drive fast. Regardless of the speed limit, 99% of people are probably going to drive under 15 MPH, a lot of people would probably be driving at 5-10MPH. There isn't really a point of putting in cross walks, people just cross wherever they want and it's safe to do so. It's not designated as a woonerf, but it often functions like one, or almost. These kinds of streets are relatively uncommon in North America, though they're very common in other parts of the world, some places go further by making them true woonerfs. Usually in North America commercial streets will have at least a moderate amount of through traffic.

The opposite would be a typical interstate going through the countryside, connecting two cities. They're all about throughput, about getting vehicles from point a to point b fast and efficiently. Access should be limited so that vehicles can travel unhindered, and the design speed should be high.

Then you have places that are in between.

You have main streets with relatively low vehicular traffic like King Street in Downtown Kitchener.
https://www.google.com/maps?q=King+S...,295.04,,0,5.6
This street was recently rebuilt to be more pedestrian friendly, even more recently the driving lanes were converted to bike sharrows (not seen in street view). King Street has a lot of businesses close together. Businesses have a lot of people going in and out (compared to houses), so access is important. Transportation along King St through Downtown is not that important. Although other parts of King are more transportation oriented, the Downtown gets less non-local traffic since most non-local traffic (including buses) take "downtown bypass" streets like Weber, Charles or even Courtland/Park. King Street is narrow with just two lanes to cross as a pedestrian. You're still expecting pedestrians to cross mid-block away from crosswalks, but maybe a bit more carefully than in Kensington Market where people probably barely look (if at all...) before crossing. Being able to cross anytime anywhere can be beneficial for a commercial street like King, maybe someone sees a business across the street and considers checking it out. The easier it is to get across, the more likely they'll do so, if they have to cross at the next intersection and then go back, they might decide "oh forget it". I think most people like being in places where their movement is as unrestricted as possible, so such commercial areas could attract more people (in terms of the whole commercial area, not just a specific business) as well. Maybe it will even influence people into living close by. An appropriate speed on King Street might be around 15-20 MPH.

Some places will limit access to one mode (ex cars) to improve conditions for other modes (mainly pedestrians). That can work, if pedestrians are very dominant.

Lakeshore Road in Downtown Oakville is similar to King St, but a bit wider. It has some parallel streets that are probably faster for traffic (Randall, Church, Robinson) trying to get through downtown. Typical speeds are maybe 20 MPH, which is appropriate and works well. I don't remember what the speed limit is, maybe 25 or 30 MPH, but people generally drive slower.
https://www.google.com/maps?q=Lakesh...228.89,,0,3.62

You've also got streets with no businesses that are primarily about providing access, except this time it's just access to residents.
https://www.google.com/maps?q=Oakvil...18.36,,0,-0.26
There are no sidewalks but you'll still have dog walkers stopping in the middle of the street to chat and let their dogs sniff each other on streets like this. Or kids play street hockey or ride their bikes. It's very much a side street, you're not going to get any through traffic here. In my experience (I grew up nearby on a similar street) most people drive slowly (i.e. 20-25 MPH) and this is appropriate. If the driver sees people in the street, they'll slow down, and the people will get out of the way. You'll get the occasional "speeder" going at 35 MPH and yes it's probably someone who lives there. That doesn't make the people complaining about speeders hypocritical, I'm guessing those aren't the people speeding but rather it is other neighbours (who probably aren't complaining... or maybe their teenager).

A higher density example.
https://www.google.com/maps?q=Missis...221.96,,0,1.98

Also see most side streets in South and even much of North Philadelphia.

Then you places like Erin Mills Parkway in Mississauga.
https://www.google.com/maps?q=Lakesh...30.09,,0,-3.36
Erin Mills has relatively limited access, but not as limited as a true highway. Its main purpose is to connect more local streets and businesses to highways, and allow people to make medium distance (2-10 mile) intracity trips faster. It certainly does act as a pedestrian barrier between neighbourhoods, although in that sense it's not as bad as a highway. Speed limit is 70km/h which is about 45 mph. Most people probably go a bit faster, around 50mph.

Something I want to emphasize though is design speed vs speed limit. Some streets might be designed for a high speed but have low speed limits.
Prime example:
https://www.google.com/maps?q=Las+Ve...12,88.1,,0,0.6

If you didn't know what the speed limit was, you'd probably be driving at 35-40mph if not 45 mph. The leafy suburban side street I posted might technically have a speed limit of 30mph (I think?) but most people drive slower because the character of the street encourages people to drive slowly (it might help that drivers are mostly residents too). The Las Vegas example is designed the same way as your typical Las Vegas arterial (speed limit = 35 mph?).

Another school on the same road in Las Vegas.
https://www.google.com/maps?q=Las+Ve...,266.9,,0,9.83

This time the school zone speed limit is 25mph, and 35 mph outside the school zone. I'm not sure why the school zone ends there though, since it's still next to the school property. I guess they only expect pedestrians at the intersections?

You also have some streets that are inappropriately designed for their conditions.

Yonge Street in Downtown Toronto
https://www.google.com/maps?q=Yonge+...356.91,,0,1.47

Although the buildings fronting Yonge are different from what's along the Las Vegas arterials, the design is pretty similar. Narrow sidewalks, no buffer (such as street trees or on-street parking) and four lanes of two way traffic. The first Las Vegas example had a turning lane, but that's the most significant example. In the street view, I count 5 vehicles, including what appears to be a stopped delivery van, and 35 pedestrians in the same stretch. Look at Downtown Yonge anywhere else in street view, and you'll get 5, 10 or sometimes even 20 pedestrians for every vehicle. IMO there is too much emphasis on vehicular throughput. This is the main N-S commercial street of Downtown, so access should be very important. There are other thoroughfares that are less commercial (University, Jarvis, even Bay and Church) going N-S that can be alternatives to Yonge which doesn't even get that much traffic. It should be easier to cross the street on a whim anywhere anytime as a pedestrian. You can do that if Yonge is gridlocked, but other times it's not as comfortable. Narrowing the space dedicated to driving lanes, either with conversion to on-street parking or widening sidewalks would be good. My preference would be wider sidewalks, possibly even woonerfing based no the amount of pedestrians, which should grow with the new housing, and could potentially grow a lot more if Yonge is made to be a more pleasant street for pedestrians. That includes more space, seating, street trees and either slowing traffic, buffering or both.

On the other hand, you have Eglinton East.
https://www.google.com/maps?q=Yonge+...,73.97,,0,7.41
Back in the 1950s when the area was beginning to get built up, it should have been planned out differently. Right now, access is not very limited. There are a lot of street intersecting it, unlike Erin Mills where it was just a small number of collector roads. There are a lot of strip malls with a lot of different entrance. Erin Mills didn't have much commercial along it, and what it did have often had entrances on the collector roads rather than Erin Mills itself, except for Erin Mills Town Centre mall which had its own intersection. Generally suburban arterials in the Toronto area will have a large number of businesses in a strip mall sharing a single entrance, often near intersections where cars will be stopped/queued up anyways. Eglinton East has a lot of one off businesses with their own parking entrance, and a lot of strip malls will multiple entrances all over the place. Combining all of these parking entrances and intersections with high speed high volume traffic, pedestrians and buses (oh yeah, a lot of apartment buildings were built nearby where many residents are low income and have limitted/no access to a car) causes congestion and makes the road dangerous. One of the intersections of Eglinton East (at Kennedy) had the most serious injury causing collisions of Toronto from 2006-2008.

You can also change the design of a street if you want to influence it to function differently. Typically roads that are about moving cars keep land values down and high value uses out.
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:34 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Thinking about the shared streets mentioned, the shared, slow street seem to be the extreme form of Street hierachry, often criticized by "urbanists" [is there a better word?] usually in favor of a grid. In the US, arterials separating rather poorly connected residential street often full of meanders and cul de sacs discourages any through traffic and concentrates them in faster moving roads. By slowing residential traffic down, the shared street accomplishes about the same thing, few would want to use them as a through street. One of the articles on the woonerf mentioned they often require short turns to keep a straight path, preventing a true grid.

In the US, children often play in cul-de sacs and dead end streets are often valued for the lack of through traffic. The shared streets are perhaps a European subsitute: slow traffic down to bicycle speed or less so that the streets can used for other things.

So, reaction to the same problem (fast moving traffic on residential streets in a street setup without a hierarchy). The shared street solution prioritizes pedestrain connectivity at the expense of car speed, which might be acceptable at higher residential densities when the distance needed to travel on the slow moving streets before reaching a bigger road is small. And valued more where there are more pedestrians and less private space.
Seems like you've made a good case for cul-de-sacs and more disconnected residential streets. Maybe that was the thought process behind them all along. My neighborhood is a combination of grid and cul-de-sacs. The kids that live in the culs often play outside on the street.
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:38 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Thinking about the shared streets mentioned, the shared, slow street seem to be the extreme form of Street hierachry, often criticized by "urbanists" [is there a better word?] usually in favor of a grid. In the US, arterials separating rather poorly connected residential street often full of meanders and cul de sacs discourages any through traffic and concentrates them in faster moving roads. By slowing residential traffic down, the shared street accomplishes about the same thing, few would want to use them as a through street. One of the articles on the woonerf mentioned they often require short turns to keep a straight path, preventing a true grid.

In the US, children often play in cul-de sacs and dead end streets are often valued for the lack of through traffic. The shared streets are perhaps a European subsitute: slow traffic down to bicycle speed or less so that the streets can used for other things.

So, reaction to the same problem (fast moving traffic on residential streets in a street setup without a hierarchy). The shared street solution prioritizes pedestrain connectivity at the expense of car speed, which might be acceptable at higher residential densities when the distance needed to travel on the slow moving streets before reaching a bigger road is small. And valued more where there are more pedestrians and less private space.
A lot of neighbourhoods in Toronto have converted to a confusing network of one way streets to discourage through traffic. Here you can see Atlas Avenue changing direction from one side of Vaughan Road to the other.

https://www.google.com/maps?q=Yonge+...324.57,,0,-0.6

You also have local grids and T-intersections helping to create a street hierarchy.

Anyways, most of what's I've said regarding access vs transportation/throughput functions of streets/roads/highways is pretty similar to what Chuck Marohn talks about on strongtowns. What he calls streets prioritize access and a pleasant environment, while roads prioritize efficient (fast) transportation. What he calls stroads and the futon of transportation are the hybrid. I think he would like to have no stroads at all. I think sometimes a hybrid might be a necessary compromise, but it is definitely a compromise, so something that should be avoided if possible.
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