Vox Reports US Falling Behind Peer Countries in Preventing Traffic Fatalities

Road Fatality US versus Peer Countries

Figure via Vox

A Vox Media article reports that the US is falling behind its peer countries in preventing traffic fatalities. Low gas prices are thought to be responsible for a recent increase in US traffic fatalities from the 2012 low of 33,500. Interesting, research suggests distracted driving has not increased in recent years.

The article claims that countries with the lowest fatality rates:

a) live more compactly,
b) design roads to favor more vulnerable users such as bikers and pedestrians, and
c) enact laws and regulations that also favor these vulnerable road users.

The article cites DC as an example of an American city making some changes to reduce our traffic fatality rate, such as providing designated space for bicycling, which has an added benefit of slowing down car traffic. Speed plays a particular role in fatalities, as shown in the following graphic.

higher speeds lead to more deaths

via #Love30 Canada

But US engineering standards still promote wide, straight streets that encourage high speeds, even in cities where children play and people walk to get to where they’re going.

DC has already lost 9 pedestrians on our streets this year, and more must be done to slow down vehicle traffic and provide safe places for people to walk or roll and to cross streets.

 

Ward 7 Livability Study Continues This Saturday

Ward 7 Livability StudyDDOT will host its 2nd public workshop in Ward 7 for the Far Southeast III Livability Study on Saturday, November 19th from 10:00am-12:00pm. The purpose of this 2nd workshop is to get feedback from the public about transportation improvements planned for the study area. Please share your desire for better pedestrian spaces!

When:   Saturday, November 19, 2016, 10:00am-12:00pm
Where:  Plummer Elementary School
4601 Texas Avenue SE, Washington DC 20019Stay connected via the project website!

Neighborhoods in the Far Southeast III study area include Fort Dupont, Fort Davis, Twining, Greenway, Benning Heights, Civic Betterment, Benning Ridge, Marshall Heights, and Capitol View.

Safety Doesn’t Mean Pedestrian-Shaming

A safety campaign by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board calls attention to the risks of dangerous driving, but sometimes it puts the blame in the wrong place, implying that pedestrians must wear special reflective clothing if they don’t want to be killed while walking:

Be street smart campaignOn Twitter, DC resident Colin Browne pointed out the wrong-headedness of focusing on pedestrian behavior when cars hit pedestrians:

Colin Browne Street Smart correctionThanks, Colin! We agree.

Have Your Say in DC’s Comprehensive Plan Monday!

DC comprehensive planThe DC Office of Planning (OP) is amending the District’s Comprehensive Plan, a 20-year framework that guides future growth and development in the city and shapes the places we live, work, shop, and play. OP launched the second amendment cycle to the Comprehensive Plan this year to ensure that the Plan remains responsive to the needs of the community.

Want more walkable neighborhoods? The last chance to give your input is coming up on November 14th. Don’t forget to RSVP.

When: November 14 (6 pm-8:30 pm)
Where: Luke C. Moore High School, 1001 Monroe Street NE
Getting there: The Brookland Metro station is closed for SafeTrack, so try buses, bikes, cab or carshare.

You can also share your ideas in the online survey.

DDOT Begins Safety Act Data Disclosures

We are happy to report that the DC Department of Transportation has begun taking steps to implement the new requirements of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Amendment Act of 2016, which became law on October 8.

Among other things, the new law requires DDOT to publish a weekly report on its website showing public space permits issued for construction projects and other activities that would block a street, sidewalk, bike lane, or bike path in DC.

public space permitsAn interactive map (pictured above) that shows locations where such blockages occur is up and running on the DDOT website http://geospatial.dcgis.dc.gov/templates/dcfinder/s2.html?appid=a17962c8f8554e469697324c736c9505

The map went online in August, according to Michelle Evans Phipps, a communications specialist with DDOT. “It’s updated automatically every day,” she told All Walks DC.

Collision Data Disclosures

The new law also mandates that DDOT publish monthly reports with information about vehicle collisions, including when and where the collision occurred, the number of people killed or injured, and why the collision occurred.

The intent of the provisions is to allow DDOT, with citizen input, to establish and make improvements at bicycle and pedestrian “priority areas,” meaning those areas with high volume vehicular-pedestrian-bicycle traffic and collisions.

Jonathan M. Rogers, a policy analyst in the DDOT director’s office, told All Walks DC that DDOT will soon begin publishing these reports.

However, he said the department first needs to make sure it does not violate health privacy act requirements when it discloses certain personal information about victims. “We’ll continue to publish the crash and violation data in the open data format in the meantime,” he said. The information is available at http://opendata.dc.gov/datasets/95254fae17bc4792bd47b53f71c2e503_19

All Walks DC was part of a 15-member working group that advised DC Council Member Mary Cheh, a chief sponsor of the safety measure, on aspects of the proposed legislation, which was introduced in September 2015.

Other provisions in the law include:

  • integration of  bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure throughout the District in a “Complete Streets Policy”
  • taxi and vehicle-for-hire instruction, updating such services on their obligations not to block pedestrian and bicycle activity
  • a new traffic offense for aggressive driving
  • a program for individuals convicted of drunk driving that could result in the installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for repeated violations
  • creation of a Crash Review Task Force to review every crash handled by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Major Crash Unit and recommend changes to DC law or policies to reduce the number of crashes.

Your Vote for ANC Can Improve Pedestrian Safety in Your Neighborhood!

DC Election 2016Early voting has begun and election day is just less than a week away, happening next Tuesday, November 8th. While most of our attention has been focused on the Presidential election, there’s also some very important elections on the ballots for DC voters: your representative for your Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC).

ANCs can have a direct impact in shaping your neighborhood since they can formally make recommendations (and objections) related to zoning on newly proposed developments, as well as be an organizing body that convenes neighborhood concerns with representatives from the District Department of Transportation, the Office of Planning, and the Metropolitan Police Department. For more information on ANCs, read this primer from Greater Greater Washington.

To help guide DC voters through the positions from the many people who are running to be ANC representatives, the wonderful people at Greater Greater Washington distributed candidate questionnaires. In addition to questions about upcoming developments in each Ward, one of the questions was, “Where would you like to see new bicycle lanes, sidewalks, or other infrastructure to make it safer for residents, families, and seniors to walk and bike?”

Click here to read the endorsements from Greater Greater Washington, as well as the individual candidate responses.

Not sure of your ward or ANC? Click here for a handy tool.