Friday: The problem
Saturday: New York City's vision
Tuesday: Bike lanes
Wednesday: Slow zones
Saturday: Political will
Sunday: The jerks
Five numbers that matter
177 — number of deaths on Winnipeg roads in the last decade, 2004-2013
1094 — number of serious injuries, 2004-2013
46 — percentage of trauma patients in the Health Sciences Centre intensive care unit with crash-related injuries
$1.17 billion — estimated annual spin-off cost of all traffic crashes in Winnipeg
$12.6 million — what the city and Manitoba Public Insurance are spending this year on traffic safety
Source: Manitoba Public Insurance, City of Winnipeg collision statistics, Analysis and Estimation of the Social Cost of Motor Vehicle Collisions in Ontario Final Report, August, 2007, Transport Canada
FIVE SIMPLE FIXES
Those extend curbs a little bit at intersections, allowing pedestrians to see out in front of a row of parked cars. And, it allows motorists to better see walkers. These are also called neckdowns because they narrow the street at intersections.
They are a cheap and pretty way to separate cyclists and pedestrians from cars or to slow traffic by narrowing lanes a little bit.
Winnipeggers sort of hate them, but they’re far safer. Drivers naturally slow down to control the car through a circle. They are easier for cyclists than a four-way stop. If you do get hit, it’s almost never a T-bone, the most serious kind of crash. A study in Maryland found collision injuries shrunk by 86 per cent at intersections where roundabouts were installed.
Winnipeg can’t even keep lane lines properly painted. In New York, the city is making intersections clearer with more arrows, clearer lane designations and alignments and big cross-hatched sections to clearly show where pedestrians belong.
More left turn lanes
Left turns can cause the most serious crashes, and they tend to delay traffic and cause stress. Creating dedicated lanes, with timed turning lights, can help. Or, turns could be banned, moved to other nearby intersections with better visibility and traffic flow.
The IKEA parking lot
If you want a real-life example of some smart traffic engineering, go get yourself a lack table and some IKEA pancakes. The IKEA parking lot has a lot of the best-practice safety fixes road engineers are talking about in other cities, such as New York. There are raised and coloured pedestrian crosswalks, a real two-lane roundabout, limited access that funnels drivers to one main exit and big speed humps. It might drive you nuts, but it’s safer.
THREE WORDS TO KNOW:
That’s short for snowy neckdown, and it was coined this winter by New York City transportation activists. It’s a curb extension caused by snowfall, where the snow is allowed to accumulate because cars naturally don’t drive on those bits of pavement. It’s the best indication of spots where a street could be narrowed to slow traffic and give pedestrians more room. It’s the perfect word for Winnipeg.
In many cities, such as New York, cars are allowed to park right up to an intersection. The practice of removing the parking spots that abutt intersections is called daylighting because it allows pedestrians to see better into traffic, and to be seen. In Winnipeg, we already have to park three meters from a crosswalk.
Removing one lane of traffic or narrowing the lanes is called a road diet. A road diet can be used to add a bike lane, like on Pembina Highway. Or, it can be used to add a left turning lane. Narrowing the driving lanes also generally reduces speeds.