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Wanted: Streets Designed for All

Picking up on a thread from earlier this week on how street design can be used to prevent high-speed crashes in dense urban environments, today on the Network we hear from Streetsblog New York regular "Andy B from Jersey," via WalkBikeJersey Blog.

On a recent drive along the Jersey shore, Andy found Route 35 packed with people, and the street ill-suited to accommodate them.

ocstop.jpgA 21-year-old pedestrian was killed at this Ocean City, NJ intersection in July. Locals say design changes are needed to prevent future casualties. Photo: pressofAtanticCity.com

Talk of pedestrian and bicycle traffic! It was everywhere andcoming from every conceivable direction. This was particularly true inthe Lavallette and Ortley Beach areas. Despite the volumes of bike andpedestrian traffic facilities for them were extremely minimal and oftenin poor condition. Bike lanes are nonexistent and even sidewalks wereintermittent. Bicyclists came from every direction with only one ofover a hundred having any lights even though it was completely dark bythis time. Pedestrians were also hard to see, including ones makingevery effort to use the marked crosswalks. Local authorities did try tohelp pedestrians by placing construction barrels in the roadway toaccent crosswalks but at night this seemed (to me at least) to causemore confusion.

With repairs coming soon at some point it is time for NJDOT to step up and come up with a Context Sensitive Solution for this highway that suits the needs of all roadway users and increases safety for all.

Traffic enforcement and equitable street design shouldn't be an either/or proposition, but what is the proper balance? Can citizens prod law enforcers and urban planners to work together to improve conditions for all road users? If so, where do we begin?

Also today, Transit Miami finds that Quito, Ecuador, is getting it right when it comes to people-friendly streetscaping, while UrbanCincy ponders the merits of signal timing in keeping speeds down. And WashCycle reports that Roanoke, Virginia, cyclists bulked up their bikes to illustrate how much street space is required for the average driver.

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