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VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L  February 2007

VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L February 2007

Subject:

Re: COMMENTS ON DRAFT STATE PLAN

From:

Bud Haas <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Bud Haas <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 6 Feb 2007 17:08:46 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (362 lines)

As usual, Tony is right-on; I would suggest the Vt Bike Ped Coalition 
strongly endorse his comments.

Tony reports, "Brattleboro misses the cut because of the narrow Main 
Street–still adaptable to min-roundabouts and a normal one at the bridge 
intersection at the south end adjacent to the rail station."
I am reminded of my recent train trip, White River Junction to 
Brattleboro, to attend a Bike Ped event. Any attempt to walk 2 blocks 
from Brattleboro downtown to the "close-in" Amtrak station , is met by a 
wall of cars on Rt 9 with NO crosswalk. None at the tracks, and none at 
the intersection. Perhaps I was supposed to take a cab the two blocks. 
And unbelievably, after dashing through the wall of cars across rt 9 at 
the intersection, one must walk single file down a narrow 2 foot 
sidewalk to the train station, between a stone wall and the traffic. It 
pisses me off just thinking about it.

Also, Orange County's /only/ signaled intersection at Rt 5 and 25 in 
Bradford has the dubious distinction of having the highest accident rate 
in the County. It has 4 corners with retail businesses on each corner. 
Crosswalks? No.
How is it that U.S. engineers are such Neanderthals?

Regarding Allen and Hubbard's comments: Meaningful, useful and 
measurable goals and objectives are absolutely required. And, paths and 
linear parks have their place in the scheme of things. They must be 
viewed as primarily bicycle- recreational , and for 
pedestrian-recreational or transit use. But "side" paths between every 
village/town in Vermont can not and will not happen. Routine bicycle 
travel between all of those cities and towns, along with roundabouts and 
attitude changes can make most of the existing road system safely 
available to all users.

_Most of Vermont is still a beautiful place because most of the roads 
have /not/ been widened_ to accommodate wide lanes, remove curves, or 
build huge shoulders; although getting rid of those pesky curves is on 
the engineers' drawing boards. So I must disagree with Mr. Allen, if 
what he means by " ridable shoulders or bike lanes are an appropriate 
solution" means widening Vermont highways.

Widening highways in Vermont for any reason is just plain wrong.

The answer is limited size trucks and reduced speeds. And roundabouts. 
Period.

Bud Haas
Bradford


Tony Redington wrote:
> Great comments by Rick Hubbard--wonder if he kept count of the 
> roundabouts he encountered and how they connect to bikepaths?
>
> My final comments (two part) that got in under the deadline.
>
> *COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT VERMONT BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN PLAN *
>
> Submitted by Tony Redington
>
> February 1, 2007
>
>
> Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Vermont Bicycle 
> Pedestrian State Plan. As a charter member of the Vermont Bicycle 
> Pedestrian Coalition (VBPC), the following comments are respectfully 
> submitted.
>
> *COMMENT 1: A SMELLY RUBBISH PLAN *
>
> *THE SMELL: *Pedestrian plans equal smelly rubbish (versus smelly New 
> York air) without incorporation of roundabouts at all ped route 
> intersections. You do not have to (but it would be a good idea) to 
> read the 1000 Friends of Oregon study pedestrian report done before 
> the roundabout consciousness. It creates a simple rating of four 
> factors for determining a positive pedestrian environment, i.e., an 
> environment that results in peds actually using a system in reality. 
> The Friends formula calls for a minimum score of 9, based on rating 
> four factors on a scale of 1 to 3: (1) presence of sidewalks; (2) 
> interconnection of sidewalks into a network; (3) absence of severe 
> grads (tough on Vermont scores); _AND (4) EASE OF CROSSING 
> INTERSECTIONS_. Almost by definition, you cannot easily cross any busy 
> intersection (read "collector" on up the FHWA hierarchy intersections) 
> without roundabout treatment. (Local street to local street 
> connections to score a "3" (maximum) in my book would need traffic 
> calming treatment.) "Ease" in my view includes all aspects, including 
> delay and safety. Stop signs (better) and signals (worse) are 
> negatives compared to roundabouts. Since a roundabout (single lane) 
> cuts 90% of serious injuries and reduces injury severity, how can 
> anything else but a roundabout score a 2 or a 3 on the "ease" factor? 
> Guess I would score a single lane roundabout a 3 and a 2-lane 
> roundabout a 2-3 depending on the context.
>
> Frankly, smelly ped plans, that is, those plans without lotsa 
> discussion of roundabouts, are not worth reading–if the word search 
> option in your Adobe cannot come up with any “roundabout” hits–do not 
> bother to read the plan!
>
> All roundabout projects (most assuredly all single lane roundabouts 
> where peds are actual potential) must be considered as bike/ped 
> projects and touted by the VBPC and transportation agencies as such 
> (when the U.S. gets to $1-2 billion yearly, the roundabout development 
> activity will begin to near its potential--it is now $400-$500 
> million, best guess).
>
> Of course, the new Vermont draft bike/ped plan--as one finds with any 
> public transportation agency in a steady state of denial (they are 
> numerous but slowly declining nationally)--the word "roundabout" is 
> absent. This is particularly discouraging since the City of Winooski 
> in a retrograde moment built one of the first traffic circles in the 
> U.S. in decades in a location with lots of peds–City center!! To not 
> at least chide the Winooskians for their supreme attainment of an 
> “American Grafitti” moment of transportation infrastructure 
> installation through recognition of the traffic circle inanitation, 
> leaves them still hanging out there to be brought back to reality when 
> the first pedestrian gets treated to a mc- vehicle grill lunch.
>
> For those worried about two-lane roundabouts, take a day ride to 
> Malta, NY Northway Exit (about ten miles below Saratoga Springs) and 
> walk the multi-use path through the interchange and commercial area 
> connecting the five brand new five two-lane roundies completed about a 
> month ago (not sure the path is plowed but that is not a problem so 
> far this winter). Remember, New York’s State DOT banned signal 
> investments two years ago with a “roundabouts only” policy. The Malta 
> five-pack represents the first northeast roundabout “corridor”–the 
> corridor approach drops speeds between intersections by about 25% to 
> the low 30s mph–and reduce through travel times. The winner? Peds of 
> course (where peds are part of the corridor)!
>
> *PEDESTRIAN-SAFE LOCATIONS IN VERMONT DOWNTOWNS * By definition–no 
> roundabouts, no pedestrian safety. Ped-safe downtown locations in 
> Vermont? Well, first and foremost, Church Street Marketplace in 
> Burlington, no cars and car crossings that are traffic calmed. Other 
> two locations–upper Main Street in Montpelier where the first 
> northeast roundabout (1995) is located and just below “malfunction 
> junction” in Manchester where the Grand Union Roundabout operates.
>
> First corridor of roundabouts in Vermont? First planned one, Putney 
> Road in Brattleboro (see 1993 plan and Chamber policy from 2004). 
> First likely, the downtown Manchester Center where “malfunction 
> junction” VT 7A/VT 11 and 9 roundabout, Grand Union to the south on VT 
> 7a and likely first Vermont min-roundabout a hundred yards more-or- 
> less to the north (VT 7A/VT 30) gives a safety jolt to the classic 
> village center with its Y intersection. With the usual deliberate 
> speed of safety project development (particularly ped-oriented) we can 
> expect the Manchester corridor completed before the end of the decade.
>
> *MORE ROUNDABOUTS MORE SAFETY FOR PEDS!!* The roundabouts peds safety 
> story is so overwhelming that even those who believe that military 
> victory in Vietnam and Iraq was possible cannot fail to see the light! 
> The French who installed 27,000 roundabouts 1993- 2003 on top of 
> 10,000 already in place (roughly 70% singles, 25% two- lane and the 
> remaining 5% three or more)_ WITHOUT ANY INCREASE IN TOTAL ANNUAL 
> FATALITIES AND SERIOUS INJURIES AT ALL ROUNDABOUTS! _ Can you believe? 
> The French government transportation research folks reported at U.S. 
> Transportation Research Board first roundabout conference (the 2004 
> “Vail” conference) that the ped study show 2 fatalities per year in 
> 1993 and the same in 2003, injuries about 1,500 yearly in 1993 and the 
> same in 2003. Overall, per roundabout, safety improved 60%.; Building 
> about 1,000 roundabouts a year, France now has over 30,000 roundabouts.
>
> *WORST PED CITIES IN VERMONT?*
> Several Vermont cities compete for the worst pedestrian conditions. 
> Chief among them are Bennington (about 30 of the worst-100 Vermont 
> unsafe intersections, mostly pedestrian busy, are in Bennington–what a 
> record!!!), Rutland (it has a crazy system of giving different audio 
> sounds for each crossing direction while keeping traffic moving in the 
> parallel direction–a really impressive way to introduce the visually 
> challenged to the community much less the rest of us!), Springfield 
> and Barre (the City center intersection just cannot be beat for ped 
> frustration over delay). Rutland Center Street is a natural candidate 
> for a Church Street Market Place conversion, particularly since it has 
> a $15 mil 600-plus car parking facility that remains two-thirds 
> empty). Brattleboro misses the cut because of the narrow Main 
> Street–still adaptable to min-roundabouts and a normal one at the 
> bridge intersection at the south end adjacent to the rail station. 
> Roundaboutizing benefitting peds as well include St. Albans, 
> Montpelier, Burlington (convert those four-way stops to minis-!), So. 
> Burlington (particularly Kennedy Drive, Dorset Street, Swift Street, 
> and Williston Road), Essex Junction (the new “malfunction junction” 
> becomes 5-Corners now that Manchester gives its former baddie a 
> roundabout transplant), St. Johnsbury, Newport (natural downtown 
> gateway by the State office building commended), Middlebury (already 
> some plans but obvious lack of support from local luminary Gov. 
> Douglas), and White River Junction (village area has a candidate or 
> two besides those already under development at a collector street 
> connecting to the I 91 interchange area).
>
> *VERMONT PED ROUNDABOUT POTENTIAL* All signalized intersections are 
> candidates for roundabouts–half of the roughly 300 signal systems are 
> in town control and the other half VAOT. The most obvious corridor for 
> conversion–US 7 in Rutland literally forces traffic AWAY from downtown 
> and operates like a Berlin wall between the east part of town and the 
> central and western sections–can be added to the list suggested above 
> (Kennedy Drive, Putney Road, etc.) as well as Main Street (Burlington 
> and Montpelier), US 2A in Williston, VT 15 extending from Winooski 
> Traffic Circle through Colchester to Essex shopping area (possibly the 
> easiest and most adaptable corridor to roundaboutization in Vermont), 
> and Lyndonville to the I 91 interchange,
> Probably left some out but you get the idea.
>
> ROUNDABOUTIZATION PLANS Because most intersections in each region can 
> be converted to roundabouts, plans need to be developed in each region 
> for roundaboutization. It is key as part of this planning to integrate 
> the roadway system and ped system so that as roundabouts are built 
> priority is given to completing in a natural manner the ped system 
> first. Region roundaboutization plans need to be supplemented by urban 
> or “built up area” ped circulation plans.
>
> *COMMENT 2: APARTHEID STATUS OF WALKING* My sense continues to be the 
> roundabout remains in the early stage of the transportation community 
> awakening to its true value. Conceptually and practically it continues 
> to show amazing properties--but no more important than that for the 
> pedestrian.
>
> In regard to transportation priority, we need to first provide for and 
> protect the pedestrian, then the bicyclist and then the car occupants. 
> The numbers of pedestrians in the world predominate, then bicyclists, 
> then much further down the line autos. Public transit--from 
> pedicycles, taxis on up to trolleys (light rail) and the TGV--for the 
> most part involve safety through engineering design.
>
> Of all transportation modes, the one most deserving the description of 
> the APARTHEID of transportation" is that of the pedestrian. In the 
> rush to moving cars in the U.S. (and only the U.S. in developed 
> nations) the pedestrian receives short shrift in safety and facilities 
> so that pedestrian mobility, range of movement, and safety attains 
> apartheid status. While VW tries to tell us that crashing is just fine 
> for vehicles, a sort of "wow"
> moment, it does not display a vehicle hitting a pedestrian, for example.
>
> It is little wonder then that we in the U.S. (really still somewhat 
> apparent in the U.K. and to a lesser extent in Europe and other 
> developed countries) that the roundabout whose primary benefit is ease 
> of crossing- -and increased safety--for pedestrians gets short shrift 
> in competition with expansion of roads, subsidies for cars (like 
> hybrids), and support from even the bicyclist community.
>
> The hidden secret of the roundabout is that--like its equal partner of 
> the sidewalk which connects roundabouts--it is the singular 
> development in the past century that truly provides a safe and 
> inviting environment for the pedestrian facing the day to day danger 
> of sharing space with cars.
>
> (Note: Comment 2 was originally issued to the Kansas State University 
> Listserv which convenes the worldwide roundabout community.)
>
> *COMMENT 3 “WALK PLANS”* General bicycle and walking plans, 
> roundaboutizing plans, “corridor” plans, etc., fail to establish the 
> primogeniture of the pedestrian. Establishment of “walk plans” as part 
> of the Act 200 process at all levles and Municipal Planning Law would 
> for the first time place emphasis on all aspects of walking (from 
> safety to infrastructure). The Walk Plan (WP) needs to be developed 
> for each separate built up area in a community as well at regional and 
> state levels. Issues long hidden and squelched, such as the refusal of 
> towns to support ped facilities because of the cost of maintenance and 
> snow plowing, would quickly surface and demand resolution.
> Walk Plans would also address and map both sidewalk systems as well as 
> informal networks and identify opportunities to expand both formal and 
> informal networks. Roundabouts and curbed sidewalks become the “spine” 
> of all WP content. The Walk Plan would be connected to a bike/ped plan 
> which would identify biking needs along with the community network(s) 
> of car free space.
>
> *COMMENT 4: ROUNDABOUT CORRIDOR SPEED CALMING–THE SECRET TO PEDESTRIAN 
> SAFETY? *The documentation of drastic reductions in corridor speeds 
> (85^th percentile engineering measurements) can be found in studies of 
> Stockholm and Golden, Colorado. Speeds measured with traffic signals 
> approached 50 mph in pre-roundabout studies and in the low 30 mph area 
> after roundaboutizing. This phenomenon may well explain why the French 
> experience of no increase of injures and fatalities held steady as 
> their roundabout population increased from 10,000 to 27,000 
> (1993-2003). Since roundabouts traffic calm individually about 300 
> feet distant from each entry/exit, the increase of roundabouts may 
> well create an overlapping pool of reduced speeds, a reenforcing 
> mechanism benefitting all affected intersections and pedestrian safety.
>
> *COMMENT 5: ROUNDABOUTS WHERE PEDESTRIANS ARE PRESENT ARE PEDESTRIAN 
> PROJECTS* The downtown projects in Manchester (2 roundabouts) and the 
> Montpelier US 2/302 roundabout provide radically changed for the 
> better safety conditions for pedestrians as well as full 
> pedestrianization (the Montpelier roundabout includes about a half 
> mile of sidewalk connecting to the City system).
>
> *COMMENT 6: VBPC ENDORSES ROUNDABOUTS *The VBPC strongly endorsed 
> single lane roundabouts for pedestrians at their 1997 annual meeting. 
> At that time data on multi-lane roundabouts was sparse. Development of 
> improved pedestrian and bicycle design (for example, on/off ramps for 
> bicycles at entry/exits) reflect the kind of progress of the 
> roundabout in bike/ped safety for a facility that is now in it 41^st 
> year.
>
>
> SUPPLEMENTAL COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT VERMONT BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN PLAN
>
> Submitted by Tony Redington
>
> February 3, 2007
>
>
> Thank you for the opportunity to further comment on the Vermont 
> Bicycle Pedestrian State Plan, supplemental to those submitted on 
> February 1.
>
>
> *COMMENT 7: $10 MILLION AND UP ANNUALLY FOR ROUNDABOUTS *The 
> approximately 300 Vermont major intersections with signals–about half 
> on town-owned highways and half on State- owned roads–provide a rough 
> potential fo the number of roundabouts needed in Vermont as of this 
> date. The typical roundabout built with federal funds varies widely in 
> cost–from a few hundred thousand to a million or so dollars. The 
> backlog for roundabouts in Vermont probably numbers in the 300 to 500 
> range, and an annual production level of 10- 20 roundabouts would 
> involve an annual investment of over $10 million yearly. The 
> development of Walk Plans, car-free networks in all built up areas, 
> and town/regional “roundaboutization” plans establish the needs and 
> priorities for building roundabouts. A rough guess would be that about 
> two-thirds of all roundabouts built would service significant numbers 
> of pedestrians–and practically all would serve bicyclists.
>
> *COMMENT 8: OTHER ROUNDABOUT BENEFITS *Roundabouts provide an 
> incredible number of benefits including, perhaps most important, 
> increased density of development (existing and new) which clearly 
> benefit and promote biking and walking modes. Typical roundabout 
> benefits, in addition to those above, include (all benefitting 
> bicyclists and pedestrians too!!) include:
>
>    *
>       improved scenic quality
>     * 15,000-20,000 gallons of motor fuel per year saved at moderately
>       busy intersections (much more at highest volume intersections
>       like 5 Corners and Dorset Street intersections
>     * substantially reduced pollution
>     * reduced noise levels
>     * reduced vehicle wear and tear (half of stop maneuvers erased)
>     * lower maintenance costs (no need to update signals, no electric
>       bills, etc.)
>     * lower incident management and enforcement costs (a reduction of
>       about half of crashes and up to 90% of injuries)
>
>   0.
>       Again, thank you for your consideration.
>
>
> Tony Redington
> 521 Green Street Apartment 4
> San Francisco, California 94133
> Tony [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>
> Tony Redington
> Transportation Policy
> [log in to unmask]
> San Francisco, CA 94133
> 415-402-0832
> ========== 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. 

==========
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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