Thursday, January 18

How to Make Streets Safe

Tabor Traffic Safety
The Tabor Traffic Safety group had an interesting meeting today to hear from Bill Ross about how to create successful traffic safety. Bill is the Transportation Chair for the Foster-Powell neighborhood. He was a critical element in creating safer crossings of Foster Road in the 60s blocks.

The Foster Streetscape Plan was set up in 2003 among a group of residents who were embarassed at how meager the pedestrian environment was. They set up to create a solution to the dangerous barrier.
First of all they analyzed and defined what the problem was, namely that pedestrians attempting to cross Foster were terrified. In defining the problem it is also important to understand the whole situation.

  • What type of road is it (arterial, local collector, residential) what uses does it have (freight, emergency, etc)
  • Who uses it (auto, transit, bike, pedestrian)
  • Where is the traffic coming from and where is it going to
In order to do this there are many resources. Find someone who can both provide the information and also help bring the issue to the right ear.

Then it's necessary to look at all safety concerns
  • pedestrian
  • bicycle
  • speeding
  • visibility

The more concerns that are brought to the table, the more potential allies will be interested. Understand that transportation concerns cross neighborhood boundaries. A dangerous road is going to going to have a ripple effect through several towns. Be sure to get contact info for any potential volunteer. Keeping people involved is critical.

With everyone at the table, brainstorm different solutions which will improve the situation. For example physical bariers to speeding are more successful than signs or enforcement.

Look at funding sources. There is money out there, but generally the 'big pools' have been used up. Look for small sources which can fund one aspect of the project. For example if a project will improve a street crossing and it's near a school, than look at funding from pedestrian safety programs, safe routes to school, bike safety programs, and business improvement sources. Get the media on your side to spread the word. Talk to your resources in planning, they can point you to other funding opportunities. Get several people to call about the issue. This has a greater impact than one person.
Keep in mind; it took 50 years for us to get stuck in this mess, it will take a lot of work to get out of it.

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