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VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L  July 2001

VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L July 2001

Subject:

Re: Burlington Traffic Calming

From:

"Peter K. Duval" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Peter K. Duval

Date:

Wed, 25 Jul 2001 11:51:34 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (155 lines)

Burlington's "street print" at cross walks is too short (2m) to be
effective traffic calming for cars and trucks, which require a long hump
(4m) to make driving slowly more comfortable than fast driving.  The
unfortunate side-effect of the crosswalk humps is that they are ideally
sized to make bike riding uncomfortable at road speed (speed
differential is often cited as a risk factor in crashes, so the improper
sizing of the humps may work against cyclist safety).

The central islands are very long and shallow (>10m), making it more
comfortable to drive on the center island.  This tends to draw the alert
driver toward the center of the roadway.  Apparently in response to this
island driving, the City has taken to putting lightweight bollards on
many of the islands.

Chapin claims that space and money limit traffic calming in Burlington.
This is not true.  Lack of will and vision are the limiting factor.
Moguls, cushions, and Mini-roundabouts demonstrate that any type of
vertical traffic calming measure can be implemented within constrained
right-of-way.  Replacing the Pine/Home stop signs and the Pine/Flynn
traffic signal with a mini-roundabouts using mostly textured, painted
asphalt would be good first step.

If the City is too timid to get serious about traffic calming there are
plenty of alternative solutions to the "Problem":

* Enforce the speed limit by police or automated photo-radar.
* Ban the use of jake brakes in Burlington.
* Relocate the bulk-break road salt depot out of the City.  Instead of
burning cash on the Southern Connector, an efficient and profitable
intermodal port could be constructed at the end of I-189.

The City has plenty to learn about the fundamentals of traffic calming
and the engineering of proper road humps.  But with the Filenes project,
the Main Street widening project, and the recent return to gutter
striping on North Willard Street, and lackluster traffic calming program
as evidence of Burlington's supposed commitment to cycling and walking,
it's clear that the City first needs to find the will to take cycling
and walking safety seriously and follow best engineering practices
rather than pursue political expediencies.  I don't hold much hope for
that.

-Peter

Chapin Spencer wrote:
>
> Dear VBPCers,
>
> I read with great interest the concern James and Ben expressed about
> Burlington's traffic calming on Home Avenue.
>
> As a major proponent of traffic calming (and a policy maker in Burlington),
> I thought I would articulate my reasons for supporting such "street print"
> traffic calming treatments.  I would be very eager to hear if this type of
> traffic calming is not supported by the general walking and cycling public.
> As you know, traffic calming (street engineering) is an important part of
> the 3 E's to make our streets safe: Engineering, Education and Enforcement.
>
> THE GOAL:
> Burlington, more than many newer communities, has arterial roadways
> traveling though high-density residential areas.  "Traffic Calming" seeks to
> slow down automobile and truck traffic in these areas.   I assume the broad
> goal is supported by all cyclists and pedestrians.  How we implement it is
> the $1,000,000 question!
>
> THE PROBLEM:
> We have measured speed on Home Avenue (and other streets) for years.
> Consistently it has averaged above the 40mph range (I do not remember the
> exact figure).  The speed limit is either 25 or 30mph.  The fact is the road
> is not designed to encourage neighborhood-like driving as the street appears
> very wide and straight.  There is also a heavy amount of 18-wheeler truck
> traffic on the road to access Industrial Avenue.  When a truck uses their
> "Jake Brakes" at 40mph, it rattles the nearby homes and wakes people up.
>
> THE TOOLS:
> In every situation, we evaluate the street, the type of traffic, the level
> of traffic, the direction of traffic, the environment of the neighborhood,
> to discern the proper traffic calming installation.  We use everything from
> bump-outs, neck-downs, trees, roundabouts, raised crosswalks, medians,
> narrow travel lanes, speed humps and more.  Street print is an effective
> though inexpensive and non-obtrusive treatment.  It is a relatively new
> technology.  We could not use jigs & jags or roundabouts on Home Avenue
> because of the 72' tractor-trailers.
>
> STREET PRINT ADVANTAGES:
> * Gives road narrow appearance without huge infrastructure changes
> * Has proven to slow drivers by 4 to 5 miles per hour
> * Allows drivers to drive on it if extra roadway space is needed
> * Does not require special plowing
> * Is less expensive than other measures
> * Compared to other measures, it can be more modified more easily to respond
> to issues
>
> Before the street print on Home Avenue, drivers were everywhere and going
> fast.  Perceiving narrow travel lanes, drivers are going more slowly.
> Drivers can still drive on the street print median because it is only an
> inch or two high (without a curb face).
>
> If cyclists would like to see bike lanes on Home Avenue, let's talk about
> it.  The State will be trying a colorized bike lane treatment on the I-89
> bridge resurfacing on Williston Road this year.  Maybe we can use that
> treatment in other places to create bikes lanes and still make the road
> appear much more narrow.
>
> These are my thoughts.  For more information on street print, you can
> contact Burlington Public Works at 863-9094.  Please see the announcement
> for the Bike Path Forum below:
>
> BURL BIKE PATH PUBLIC FORUM TUESDAY NIGHT (6/24)!,
> The City of Burlington is looking at ways it can improve the popular
> Burlington Bike Path.  Parks and Recreation along with Public Works is
> hosting a public forum Wednesday night at 6:30pm to hear from YOU!  Do you
> have a danger spot on the path?  Do you wish the path had better signage?
> Do you want it wider?  Do you want it better linked to South Burlington and
> Colchester?  Come and give your input!
>
> I believe the meeting is at the new DPW / Parks building at 645 Pine Street
> (corner of Lakeside and Pine).  You can call 863-9094 or 864-0123 to confirm
> the location.
>
> Let's make sure we cyclists and walkers are heard.  If you cannot attend the
> meeting, you can always send an email.  Bob Whalen's (Parks & Rec) email is
> [log in to unmask]
>
> Best,
> Chapin
>
> Chapin Spencer
> Local Motion, Executive Director
> (formerly Burlington Bikeways)
> 1 Steele Street #103, Burlington, VT 05401
> (802) 652-BIKE (phone/fax)
> [log in to unmask]
> http://www.localmotionvt.org/
>
> Local Motion is a non-profit organization developing and advocating
> non-motorized trails, routes and facilities to promote cycling, in-line
> skating and walking.
>
> ==========
> VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L: The Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy Discussion List
> Subscription control: http://list.uvm.edu/archives/vtbikepedpolicy-l.html.
> For help: email [log in to unmask] with the word "help" in the message body.

--
----------------------------------------------------------
Peter Duval                               (sent from emba)
98 Sleepy Hollow Road                      +1 802 899 1132
Essex Jct., VT                                fax 899 2430
USA 05452-2798                  http://www.uvm.edu/~pduval

==========
VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L: The Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy Discussion List
Subscription control: http://list.uvm.edu/archives/vtbikepedpolicy-l.html.
For help: email [log in to unmask] with the word "help" in the message body.

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