Saturday, April 10, 2010

This week on foot

New Jersey, where a New Law Says Stop, Not Yield, for Pedestrians, continues to be in the pedestrian safety spotlight this week. The goal of the law, which requires drivers to stop completely once a pedestrian enters a crosswalk or face a $200 fine and 15 days of community service, is to eliminate ambiguities about driver behavior and Protect Pedestrians in crosswalks.

The Pacific Coast Highway could certainly use some of that protection, where this week Authorities seek witnesses to Malibu crash that killed pedestrian. The crash was the second pedestrian fatality in Malibu in the past month.

At the New York auto show this week Volvo revealed one potential solution to pedestrian safety: New Volvo S60 brakes automatically if it detects pedestrians. The vehicle is just one of a growing number of cars that are taking pedestrian safety out of the hands of drivers--a trend that I would like to see a lot more of (and not only because I have a running bet with my husband over whether or not we'll see cars that drive themselves entirely in our lifetime).

Of course, there are other options for improving pedestrian safety, as we learned in this nice Streetsblog feature about Making Streets for Walking: Dan Burden on Reforming Design Standards (e.g. if we want people to drive slowly then we need to--I know, this sounds crazy!--design roads that make it uncomfortable to speed). The piece focuses on the new street design publication recently released by the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Congress for New Urbanism: Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach .

Now if they could only do the same thing for parking lots like this one in Hattiesburg where there was a Pedestrian hit in Wal-Mart parking lot...

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