October is Pedestrian Safety Month! ITE will be recognizing the efforts of public agencies to improve pedestrian safety in their communities. Check out the following projects below and stay tuned for new projects to be added throughout the month.
Every year, nine people are killed or severely injured while walking in Berkeley, an 18 square mile city with 122,000 people. The 2019 City of Berkeley Vision Zero Action Plan recognizes that these tragedies are preventable and adopts a comprehensive approach to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries by 2028. Actions were developed through months of coordination with two working groups: 1) a Task Force comprised of key City staff, elected officials, and partner agencies, and 2) an Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from advocacy groups, the public, Berkeley Unified School District, and the City of Berkeley Commissions. This highly collaborative process resulted in an equity-focused, data-driven Action Plan that supports pedestrian safety. Example actions include establishing a Vision Zero Rapid Response Safety Project Protocol to identify quick-build projects that improve pedestrian safety and prioritizing improvements on high-injury streets where 91% of severe and fatal pedestrian collisions have occurred.
EWorking with the City of Bellevue, Advanced Mobility Analytics Group (AMAG), Microsoft Research, and Jacobs are employing an integrated, intelligent traffic safety platform to provide deep, AI-assisted video and predictive analytics for identifying potential crash risks and helping eliminate crashes before they occur.
The partnership will assess the safety effectiveness of Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) signal timing modifications implemented at twenty intersections. The focus on advanced technology and partnerships is integral to Bellevue’s Safe Systems approach to Vision Zero which leverages conflict analytics to identify areas of potential risk, select appropriate safety countermeasures, and monitor outcomes. This analysis will inform decisions on broader LPI deployment.
Success with Vision Zero requires extensive traffic safety experience and methodically proven models facilitated by innovative technology – a challenge welcomed by Jacobs, Microsoft, and AMAG.
The Maybank Highway and Woodland Shores Road Complete Streets project includes installation of an 8-foot sidewalk and a crosswalk on Maybank Highway, an arterial highway with an estimated average annual daily traffic count of 30,700. Charleston County recognized the importance of improving the corridor due to pressing safety issues. A busy shopping plaza and music venue that hosts weekly farmers markets are located on opposite sides of Maybank Highway. Pedestrians often cross this highway to access these businesses, and currently there is no safe crossing. Although residential neighborhoods surround both of these local businesses, the area lacks facilities allowing residents to safely walk or bike to this commercial area. The installation of a sidewalk on Woodland Shores Road will include piping a ditch to help address known drainage issues and provide the needed connection for residents. The County received funding for this project through the local metropolitan planning organization.
The Lockwood Drive at Beaufain Street Improvements project includes addition of a crosswalk and median within the left travel lane beyond the intersection of Lockwood Drive and Beaufain Street. There is a sidewalk to the north of the intersection and a multi-use path to the west. This project extends the median to create a forced left turn and dedicated single through lane. These improvements along a major downtown arterial will provide traffic calming for vehicles approaching a sharp curve on Lockwood Drive. Those crossing on foot can now take refuge at the extended median. The crosswalk improves safety and connects the adjacent neighborhoods to major pedestrian and bicycle amenities in the downtown area.
Traditional safety projects have a high cost and can take significant time to implement. To address this, the City of Boulder Transportation & Mobility Department started the Vision Zero Innovation Program to install innovative, quick-build safety treatments on high-risk streets. The program’s three treatment types include curb extensions, pedestrian and bicyclist crossing treatments, and traffic-calming elements. The first treatment installed was a series of curb extensions located next to an elementary school. These shorten pedestrians’ crossing distance by physically narrowing the roadway with flexible delineators and slow turning vehicles by modifying the corner radius. Staff plans to gather both quantitative data (traffic speeds, school zone compliance) and qualitative data (via an online questionnaire, neighborhood outreach) from the community to assess the projects’ effectiveness and build the city’s Vision Zero toolbox.
The following pedestrian safety improvement project was performed in Kelowna BC, Canada, at Bankhead Elementary School. The project was performed to increase crosswalk safety for students walking to school. Safety was improved by providing a protected waiting area behind the crosswalk, reducing the crossing distance, and increasing sightlines. Speed reduction was also achieved by narrowing the travel lanes at the crosswalk and reducing the curve radius to slow down turning vehicles. This project piloted the use of traffic calming curbs in lieu of concrete curb, which were designed by the City of Calgary. Because the project was recently installed, no follow up data has been collected, however, the design follows the traffic calming principles outlined by the Transportation Association of Canada.
Y2K Engineering (Mesa, AZ) was proud to assist the City of Surprise, AZ with their Safe Routes to School initiative. In five separate studies, Y2K assessed each school’s infrastructure, initial design of on-site circulation, and staff and crossing guard presence during drop-off and pick-up. Recommendations included enhanced pedestrian crossings, speed mitigation, and strategies to improve drop off and pick up procedures. Walking and biking maps were created for all public elementary schools in the City. These studies created awareness of the six E's and supported grant applications for infrastructure implementation. The scope of the project required collaboration between the Y2K team, city officials, the school district, elementary school principals, staff, teachers, parents and students.
Last year, the City of Portland completed a pilot project on a 2-mile segment of NE 102nd Ave from NE Weidler St to NE Sandy Blvd to improve pedestrian safety on one of its high-pedestrian collision corridors. The project had a limited budget so the scope included a five-lane to three-lane road reorganization to permit marking new crosswalks with paint & post refuge island at regular intervals without expensive enhancements like beacons. The pliot included interim paint and post curb extensions and also implemented bike lanes. With the pilot deemed a success, PBOT is currently in the design stage of a follow-up project to make the interim islands permanent and install required ADA improvements. Construction on the permanent project is expected to begin this fall.
Intersection improvements to optimize traffic operations, minimize congestion and enhance mobility for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists were completed in summer 2020 at NE Coachman Road (SR 590) and Old Coachman Road (CR 525) in Clearwater, Pinellas County. Roadway widening and the addition of left turn lanes on each of the four intersecting roads with a flashing yellow arrow will help maintain consistent traffic flow of the 15,000 daily motorists. Added bike lanes, safety rails, and ADA-compliant sidewalks provide connectivity to the Pinellas Duke Energy Florida and Ream Wilson Trails. This connection will be part of the 75-mile Pinellas Trail loop that extends from north to south county and is enjoyed by 10,000 monthly users. A CSX railroad line that bisects the intersection and the trail path required a unique design to mediate safety requirements and force trail users to slowdown, dismount from their bike and walk across the track.
Most pedestrian-involved crashes resulting in serious injuries and fatalities in Florida occur during non-daylight hours. As part of our vision to achieve a fatality free transportation system, FDOT issued a 5-year, $100 million statewide intersection lighting retrofit initiative to improve roadway illumination levels and nighttime visibility of pedestrians at over 2,000 intersections.
FDOT used a data-driven approach to identify this significant crash trend, along with the specific corridors that experience the highest frequency of nighttime pedestrian crashes. Funding and guidance were released in 2016 to optimize horizontal and vertical lighting levels for pedestrian visibility from motorists’ perspective. Existing lighted intersections were upgraded from high pressure sodium lights to LED, while unlit intersections received new LED lighting. Construction of the geographically clustered project bundles will be complete in 2021.
FHWA reports that improving intersection lighting at intersections should reduce nighttime pedestrian fatalities that occur in these locations by up to 78%!
After fatal pedestrian crashes in Ohio increased 60% over the last decade, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) developed the Pedestrian Safety Improvement Program (PSIP), which provides $10M in funding to address the issue. ODOT hired LJB Inc. to help develop pedestrian crash countermeasures, provide guidance on the applicability of those countermeasures to specific conditions, and assist cities in selecting locations and countermeasures.
The team designed improvements to 528 locations in eight large Ohio cities, using 23 different safety solutions, including curb bump outs, curb ramps, signing and marking, overhead sign supports, RRFBs, PHBs, and street lighting.
The program streamlined the typical project development process by batching the environmental documents by District, managing utility risk within both the design and construction phases, and utilizing biddable construction plan formats. These time-saving approaches have allowed the program to support bidding all projects in early 2021.
Bagley St. in Southwest Detroit is known locally as Mexicantown due to its large Mexican population. Bagley has long been an attractive destination in Detroit. The street is lined with restaurants, shops, bakeries and a busy tortilleria. The narrow street is frequently used by vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. In 2019 the City of Detroit reconstructed Bagley to ensure the safety for all street users and promote a walkable street. Project efforts include a curb-less street with raised intersections to control speeds coming onto the street and using decorative bollards to protect those waiting to cross. Working with the community, goals of the project were to create beautiful, plaza like street, reflecting on Mexican heritage from festive “tile-like” jointing pattern to the use of purple, blue and yellow accent pavers. Today, Bagley continues to be a celebration of Mexican culture and an even more pleasant place to walk and shop.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) recently completed near-term components of the Safer Taylor Street Project, bringing traffic safety improvements to vulnerable road users on one of the Tenderloin district’s most high-conflict streets. Pedestrian improvements installed included a vehicle travel lane reduction, a wide loading lane, generous parking buffers, signal timing changes, new left turn signals, and Painted Safety Zones throughout corridor.
An evaluation of the countermeasures demonstrated significant improvements to the street. Vehicles traveling over 30mph decreased by 31% and vehicles traveling over 40 mph decreased by 94%. At one of the new left turn signals, the number of vehicles yielding to pedestrians during the morning peak increased by 58% and close calls dropped from 14 to 0. Overall, the number of vehicles yielding to pedestrians increased by an average of 25% at intersections where changes were made.
The City of Stamford, the fastest growing municipality in Connecticut, is evaluating innovative pedestrian safety improvements for the Broad Street Corridor that enhances the environment for downtown residents, workers, business owners, and visitors while responding to evolving transportation modal choice, travel demand, and social distancing needs driven by the COVID-19 public health crisis. The City has selected AKRF as the design consultant for our innovative approach to incorporate green infrastructure, flexible open space, and smart traffic signal infrastructure to reduce the number and severity of crashes based on historic priority locations while improving the pedestrian experience linking two Central Business Districts along the Broad Street corridor from Atlantic Street to Greystone Place. This project is being conducted through the State of Connecticut’s Local Road Accident Reduction Program, which provides federal funding for safety-related improvements on local roads.
Vancouver, BC may be Canada’s third largest city, but when it comes to walkability, it’s far and away number one. That’s according to data from Walk Score, which recently awarded the picturesque westcoast city of 2.5 million a score of 80/100, meaning it’s “very walkable,” and “most errands can be completed on foot.”
Though it’s easy to attribute Vancouver’s status as an eminently walkable city to its mild climate, natural beauty, and lively neighbourhoods, a more important factor is the investments the City has made in infrastructure that encourages walking and other forms of active transportation. This has included the implementation of greenways, pedestrian-only zones, and accessibility improvements like curb ramps and audible pushbuttons.
Another initiative they have undertaken in recent years is the installation of rectangular rapid-flashing beacons (RRFBs), an alternative to traditional flashing beacons that use high-intensity flashing LED lights to capture drivers’ attention and increase yielding at uncontrolled crosswalks. In 2016, the City
began testing them at three crosswalk locations, selected for their large pedestrian volumes and low yield rates.
This past summer the Town of Vail installed Advisory Bike Lanes (ABL’s) along a portion of Vail Valley Drive which is a narrow residential road that also is a part of the very popular Gore Valley Trail, carrying over 1300 bicyclists and 250 pedestrians per day. ABL’s are striped shoulder bike lanes that allow for two-way vehicular traffic to share a narrowed single center lane while pedestrians and bicyclists utilize the ABL’s striped on each side. The ABL trial consisted of a center vehicle drive aisle of 11’ and two ABL’s of 5’ in width. The Town received overwhelming positive feedback, with over 90% compliance of pedestrians and bicyclists using the ABL’s correctly which allowed vehicles and buses to pass by safely. The Town of Vail used www.engagevail.com to educate users and receive feedback, as well as facebook feedback, and in person drive by surveys, and compliance counts.
The Town of Little Elm, Texas near Lewisville Lake recently enhanced its Harts Branch Trail, a 12-foot-wide, 1.3-mile shared-use trail meandering along the Harts Branch riparian corridor. The trail safely links the Town’s neighborhoods, businesses and communities to a 70-acre greenway and a larger regional trail network.
The project’s primary goals were to facilitate trail and roadway intersection safety, alleviate flooding issues and increase micromobility connectivity and alternative mobility. An important element of the trail is the crossing at Walker Lane (pictured), which prioritizes pedestrian safety with a wide crosswalk, visible signage and rapid-flashing beacon systems.
Halff, a prestigious E/A firm with offices throughout the Southeast, was responsible for completing the site analysis, public involvement, linear park master plan components, cost estimates and public presentations to Little Elm staff and area stakeholders. The trail was built in coordination with TxDOT using Transportation Alternatives Program funding awarded by NCTCOG
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) created its first statewide Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP) in 2018. It is now a national model for rapid plan development and delivery of safety projects.
Pedestrian safety is a major concern in Virginia. Between 2014 and 2018, more than 500 pedestrians died and over 8,000 were injured while walking along or across Virginia’s public roads.
Led by a stakeholder team, the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan evaluated all public road segments in Virginia to identify locations with a history of or potential for pedestrian safety concerns. VDOT reported its findings and shared the online mapping tool with agency staff and local partners to introduce the priority pedestrian corridors and crash clusters in their area. The publicly available mapping tool can be viewed online at https:/bit.ly/VDOTPSAP_V2.
VDOT is currently funding more than $30 million in pedestrian safety projects at plan-identified locations.
The Johnston (Iowa) Walkability Study gathered input from city departments, a steering committee, stakeholder groups, and the public to identify infrastructure improvements and priorities, establish best practices for pedestrian facilities, ensure that crossings maximize pedestrian safety, and consider maintenance needs and abilities.
The pedestrian network analysis reviewed current conditions, school walk zones, crash records, and stakeholder input to identify deficiencies. Recommendations were broken down into high, medium, and low urgency based upon safety concerns, ADA-compliance, connectivity, or aesthetics.
The study also recommended amending the City’s ordinances regarding traffic calming, traffic engineering, subdivisions, site plans, complete streets, sidewalks, and maintenance to support a more pedestrian-friendly community.
The City has been improving several pedestrian crossings in accordance with the implementation plan, focusing on infrastructure that was identified as a safety or ADA concern. Some of these crossings were completed in conjunction with trail projects that were also identified as priority connections.
The TxDOT Waco District’s BE SAFE BE SEEN Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Initiative seeks to increase awareness and share resources about pedestrian and bicyclist safety. This is imperative as I-35 is reconstructed adjacent to Baylor University.
The initiative has six goals:
The initiative implemented several tactics to improve safety:
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) conducts large-scale annual traffic signal improvements via the Citywide Signal Timing Optimization Program. One focus area of this program is improving pedestrian safety and multimodal mobility for users of all ages through signal timing and operational changes. Over the past two years, DDOT has implemented over 450 new Leading Pedestrian Intervals across the city, bringing the citywide LPI total to over 650 intersections, with 200+ additional locations planned for Fall 2020. Along with LPIs, DDOT has implemented half-cycles where feasible to reduce pedestrian wait times and increase crossing opportunities, pretimed up to 85% of its traffic signals to provide consistent and reliable crossings, increased crossing times near Age-Friendly destinations, and implemented phasing improvements at key intersections to time-separate pedestrian crossings. As part of the District’s Vision Zero Initiative, DDOT is committed to implementing these improvements that prioritize pedestrian safety and mobility at signalized intersections.
The 5 Street S.W. underpass provides a direct north-south connection for people who live, work and shop in Downtown Calgary and the city’s Beltline area.
The City of Calgary’s vision is to transform an ordinary space into an extraordinary experience, supported by three goals:
The inclusion of safety features is of utmost importance, including:
These enhancements not only greatly improve the underpass, but also integrate public art into the design. This project is part of a broader underpass enhancement program from The City that improves the safety and comfort of pedestrians and cyclists.
Estero Boulevard is a two-lane main road running the length of Fort Myers Beach, Florida. Previously, Estero Boulevard had a continuous two-way center turn lane with minimal or narrow sidewalks lined with shops, motels and restaurants. From 2010 through 2014, 30 pedestrian and bike crashes (6 per year) were reported in the first mile of Estero Boulevard.
In 2016, Estero Boulevard was rebuilt with curbing to control parking in the right-of-way, wider sidewalks and improved pedestrian crossings. Pedestrian crossings at busier location include Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) signage and serpentine neck-downs near bus stop locations. From 2017 through 2019, 12 pedestrian and bike crashes (4 per year) were reported. Pedestrian and bike crashes on Estero Boulevard have been reduced from 6 per year to 4 per year.
The Bowness Road Main Street project envisions a family-friendly, vibrant, and safe street designed to meet the needs of local business and residents as well as attracting private investment into the community. The design was developed through extensive community engagement, and construction started this year.
The project is transforming Bowness Road from a vehicle centred collector roadway corridor to a pedestrian friendly, sustainable and multi-modal neighbourhood “complete street” through widened sidewalks, dedicated cycling facilities, landscape improvements, on-site stormwater mitigation, and pedestrian oriented lighting improvements.
Pedestrian comfort and safety will be significantly improved through: curb extensions that reduce pedestrian crossing distances and increased visibility, Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons (RRFB), and reduced vehicular lane widths to reduce travel speeds.
Once complete, Bowness Road Main Street will serve as a precedent for transportation retrofit projects, transforming roadways into community-friendly streets that attract both businesses and residents.
City of Gulfport requested that we evaluate the pedestrian circulation and high fatality rate of pedestrians along US Highway 49 in the 1 mile corridor between Creosote Road and Turkey Creek in Gulfport, MS. Several pedestrians have been struck by vehicles along this route and injured or killed. An evaluation of the available right-of-way, existing lane geometry, adjacent land uses/driveways, pedestrian activity and potential mitigation options was conducted.
US Highway 49 presents a major obstacle to bicycle and pedestrian movements, as the roadway has six thru lanes (108 ft width). The analysis evaluated the existing vehicular and pedestrian traffic and identified recommendations to modify the existing right-of-way/lane geometry to better accommodate pedestrians.
Multiple phases of recommendations included:
1) Crosswalks/ped heads/push buttons/islands/lighting,
2) Construction of multi-use path,
3) Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, and
4) Median Barrier construction.