Tag Archives: Traffic Engineering

Safety and the Public Realm

It could be prevented

Two common elements that contribute to safety on urban streets: on-street parking, and 2-way traffic. Both serve as natural calming elements by increasing driver’s alertness and decreasing traffic speeds.

Unfortunately many of our city streets are still relics of traffic engineering theories from 50 years ago, when certain streets became one-way, while others had on-street parking removed to create more traffic lanes. An example is the intersection directly outside our office–24th Street North and 2nd Avenue (this morning, above), where almost monthly there is an accident involving some combination of cars racing too quickly down 2nd (one-way) and running lights on 24th (no parallel spaces). Both streets were altered long ago by traffic engineers as corridors for moving auto traffic across downtown–with no regard for pedestrian life, merchant visibility, quality of place, etc.

How many more accidents and injuries must we witness before we change the configuration of these outdated street designs?