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ride bike down stairs, hit brick wall, right into the best parking space!
in front of the jane on memorial drive, atlanta, ga.
Rachel Flynn, Oakland’s Planning Director, is hella un-Oakland.

I’m totally late on this news: Oakland Planning Director Cuts Off Latham Square Pilot, Lets Cars Back In. sf.streetsblog, 01.11.13.

The Latham Square pilot was supposed to last for six months, but after just six weeks, the widely-lauded, one-block plaza at the foot of Telegraph Avenue is no longer car-free. “The pilot program of having the pedestrian-only area was cut short and one southbound lane was reopened to cars without any warning to pedestrians,” said Jonathan Bair, board president of Walk Oakland Bike Oakland. 

not the headline news—i was up-to-date on that.. but about the new planning director:

Flynn came to Oakland in March, having previously worked at a planning firm based in Abu Dhabi, following a stint as planning director of Richmond, Virginia, in 2011.

ummm??? i don’t see how previous work in those kinds of cities would translate well to oakland, a much more different place. i don’t know how the heck she got selected to be director..

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When asked for data on Latham Square’s use, she said, “We don’t know how to measure pedestrian and bicycle activity.”

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I know there are lots of great planners out there with experience and who are more in tune with Oakland/East Bay communities—how did they not get the job instead of this lady??!!

» The Perfect Crime

crosspost from my class blog [USP556]. 
about the freakonomics podcast on “The perfect crime,” 01.05.14.

The perfect crime”—which is one where the perpetrator can get away with the crime—is to, while driving, hit and kill a pedestrian. Chances are high, especially in New York, that the driver will barely be punished.

There have been some outcry recently in New York City, San Francisco, and other cities about the unacceptable traffic fatalities and lack of punishment. Activists are calling for cities to implement Vision Zero plans to increase pedestrian safety and traffic enforcement toward the goal of zero traffic fatalities.

Vision Zero activists in New York City. flickr/rightofway

In this podcast, experts shared their knowledge on what’s behind pedestrian fatalities. Annual pedestrian fatalities have dropped significantly over the last decade (Table 1), yet pedestrian fatalities as a share of total traffic fatalities have increased from 11% to 14%.

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Robert Noland, director of the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers, said that the decrease in pedestrian fatalities came about because more people got into cars. More people in cars means less people as pedestrians. Add the fact that roads in America were built to privilege cars, and our country ends up with high pedestrian and bicyclist traffic deaths.

Freeways are efficient and safe at moving traffic because they are closed systems. Traffic engineers sought to copy this into cities, and created arterial roads. Arterials are dangerous because they were built to move traffic at high speeds, but there are intersections and other road users. Separate infrastructure for each mode is safe, but infrastructure that mixes different users creates conflicts and fatal outcomes.

The overall goal in traffic management is to keep cars and pedestrians (and bicyclists) off the same infrastructure at the same point in time. Dubner relates that Minneapolis has a pedestrian bridge system totalling 11-miles of foot-traffic only, and is one of the safest cities in America for pedestrians. As 73 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur in cities, it is crucial to make pedestrian infrastructure safer, such as creating buffer space between sidewalk and vehicle lanes, and punishing drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians at intersections.

Stephen Wall, a trauma doctor at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, closes the podcast by sharing a couple conclusions from analyzing data on patients. Twenty-five percent of all trauma patients who come through his hospital are pedestrians who have been struck by cars. He half-jokingly proposes that all pedestrians should wear helmets. (But I would add that drivers should wear helmets, too.)

(Source: citymaus)

happy mother’s day!
my mom’s visiting me this weekend in PDX. hiking around mount hood today. :)
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