Most Council Members Want DOT’s Routine Paving Projects to Incorporate Safer Street Designs

Image: TransAlt
Image: TransAlt

A majority of the City Council has signed on to support the proposition that whenever DOT repaves a street, it should add design and engineering elements that make walking and biking safer.

A total of 27 council members have endorsed Transportation Alternatives’ “Vision Zero Street Design Standard,” which calls on DOT to maximize the use of 10 elements from the agency’s own Street Design Manual. Though not every street is appropriate for all 10 — which include bus lanes, protected bike lanes, and wider sidewalks — TransAlt recommends that DOT incorporate as many as possible whenever a street is repaved.

Since DOT resurfaces about 1,000 lane-miles of streets every year, but most paving projects currently just replicate the existing street design, the effect would be to greatly accelerate the implementation of safety improvements. The support of a City Council majority also gives the agency more political leeway to make changes during repaving projects without getting bogged down in the community board process.

From a TransAlt press release:

Street redesign projects are often subject to a lengthy political processes and can take years to complete. But the Vision Zero Street Design Standard calls for a quicker, less expensive protocol for fixing dangerous streets by integrating safety improvements as part of regularly scheduled resurfacing. These improvements could be made using low-cost materials like paint and plastic bollards, or through retiming signals and implementing leading pedestrian intervals.

Since council members wield a lot of influence over street projects in their respective districts, majority support for the design principles laid out by TransAlt is a big deal.

“If we’re going to reach Vision Zero by 2024, then we need to take advantage of these regularly scheduled projects,” said TransAlt Executive Director Paul White in a statement, “adding elements that slow drivers and establish safe rights of way for people on bikes and on foot.”

Transportation chair Ydanis Rodriguez plans to back up the council’s endorsement with legislation, according to TransAlt. We have a message in with Rodriguez for details.

  • J

    Every time I see that image I go crazy. Something like this is WAY better.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/912f3bb5381b988553b91e49fe0f7e41ae2fbfcf0987e81450bfd5d86e0ccab0.jpg

  • I’d like at a minimum for DOT to increase from one to two speed humps on streets with them when they repave. Why? A speed bump halfway down a street – while welcome – sometimes will see drivers accelerate (then slow to go over speed hump) then accelerate to the end. But if there is one speed hump 1/3rd in, then another 2/3rds in, drivers tend to just go about the same speed.

  • AstoriaBlowin

    They could do with making the curve of them much steeper, with the ones next to me you barely have to slow down the rise is so gradual. Anyone in a larger car or SUV just flies right over them,

  • On my block, which has no speed bumps, most of the speeding is from vehicles that race to beat the light. They see the crosswalk signals changing, and they take off. Often they don’t make it, but are going so fast that they have to run the red light. (And that 10 PM Action Waste truck is among the worst.)

    Before I moved here there was a stop sign at the end of the street. I like that. Every car would have slowed down as they reached the end.

    My idea is to have car sensors under the pavement. (And push buttons for pedestrians.) The traffic light remains red, until it gets a signal that a car (or pedestrian) is present. Then the light joins the next sequence of the lights moving down the avenue. On my lightly traveled block, most of the time the light will be red.

    After I moved here, I learned that there is a difference between uphill and downhill streets. Mine is uphill. Besides vehicles making more noise going uphill (especially that Action Waste truck), there may be a greater tendency to speed uphill, then to speed downhill.

    Back to your comment on the location of speed bumps, I think only one is needed, close to the end of the block.

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