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Old October 5th, 2014, 12:42 AM   #1
tradephoric
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Dangerous by Design

The National Complete Streets Coalition publishes Dangerous by Design, a report that highlights pedestrian fatalities in America. Each metro area is ranked by the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), which is simply the average annual pedestrian fatality rate for a metro area divided by the percentage of commuters walking to work in that metro. The top 5 cities with the highest PDI are:

1. Orlando-Kissimmee, FL (244.28)
2. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL (190.13)
3. Jacksonville, FL (182.71)
4. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL (145.33)
5. Memphis, TN-MS-AR (131.26)



Why does Florida top the Pedestrian Danger Index? Consider the intersection north of Tampa at Bruce Browns Blvd and Florida 56. It includes triple left turn lanes and pedestrian crossings of over 200 feet. A big problem with wide intersections is they can lead to long pedestrian crossing times. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) require pedestrians are given enough time to safely cross the street. Impatient pedestrians are more likely to disregard the Don’t Walk if they have to wait an excessive amount of time for a Walk indication. Due to the long pedestrian crossings at signalized intersections, Florida is forced to run high cycle-lengths which increase the pedestrian noncompliance rate.

Florida should look into innovative solutions that would reduce intersection cycle lengths. Below are SYNCHRO model of Bruce Browns Blvd and Florida 56 running triple lefts with a 200 second cycle length vs. proposed Median U-Turns running an 80 second cycle. Each model has the exact same upstream geometry and traffic volumes:


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Old October 5th, 2014, 02:29 PM   #2
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Wow! 200 feet! In my country the longest crossings without safety islands are 55feet or 6 lane crossings. And there are only 7 of those. Over here the most dangerous crossings are 4 lane crossings without traffic lights. And slowly but surely we are getting rid of those, either removing them (which is not good), installing traffic lights or narrowing the road. So in the capital city the PDI is 0.14.
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Old October 6th, 2014, 04:48 PM   #3
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The Orland area has roughly 100 signalized intersections with crosswalks over 140 feet. It's easy to see why the corridors in Orlando run such high cycle lengths.

Long crossings = Higher cycles = longer pedestrian delays = higher noncompliance rate = higher Pedestrian Danger Index
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Old October 6th, 2014, 10:40 PM   #4
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It's really interesting. In Moscow they usually create pedestrian tunnels under the widest streets. After a quick look it seems that 120 feet is the widest without safety islands. Why hasn't America done that?

I can't even imagine such high cycle lengths! From where I am it's usually around 60 seconds for each phase. And still in certain places (tram terminus after tram arrival) there might be up to 20 people including (schoolchildren and pensioners) crossing a 3+3 road at red.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 02:02 AM   #5
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there might be up to 20 people including crossing a 3+3 road at red.
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Old October 13th, 2014, 11:07 PM   #6
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Worst case in the Toronto area might be something like this, about 120 ft with a very narrow island.

https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.78942...jpMf9fXV6g!2e0

This is the intersection from the article for comparison's sake.

https://www.google.ca/maps/@28.18571...m0ffkLXj2g!2e0

Just the curve radii are equivalent to crossing about 6 lanes.
Then you have 8 lanes + 1 median lane (could be an island but the island stops 50-60ft short of the intersection) + 3 lanes in the other direction. So basically like 18 lanes without an island... A staggering 220 ft all in all, probably about triple the worst you'd get in Toronto (since Toronto has islands).

It looks like it was recently widened to almost double the width at the intersection, this is an older street view (also means this is recent engineering, not something from the 60s).
https://www.google.ca/maps/@28.18571...!2e0!5s2008-01

One difference I noticed between Canadian and American arterials is that the traffic lights in Canada are on poles which require traffic islands while in the US they're often hanging across the intersection.


@tradephoric: is that taking into account islands or are those rare in the Orlando area?
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Old October 14th, 2014, 02:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
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@tradephoric: is that taking into account islands or are those rare in the Orlando area?
Pedestrian islands aren't very common in Orlando. Colonial Drive is one of the most dangerous streets in Orlando with 40 pedestrian fatalities over the past 5 years. There are very few pedestrian islands to split up the length of the crossings along that road.

I put together a list of 10 intersections in Orlando that have long crosswalks. It gives you a good idea what major intersections in Orlando look like. All crosswalks are at least 150 feet long.

#10. Curry Ford Rd & Goldenrod Rd
A typical example of a major intersection in Florida with dual left turn lanes.


#9. Altamonte Dr & Palm Springs Dr
Raised pedestrian island is present but crossing striped past it.


#8. Altamonte Dr & Douglas Ave
Crossing 10-lanes of traffic just west of I-4.


#7. Challenger Prky & Challenger Tech Dr
Pedestrians crossing Challenger Prky do so 30 feet back from the edge line of Challenger Prky.


#6. Altamonte Dr & US-92
Crossing 10-lanes of traffic including 2-slip lanes and a dual left turn lane. Two small painted pedestrian refuges are present.


#5. Kirkman Rd & Conroy
A gas station at the NW corner and large housing complexes on the NE corner creating heavy pedestrian traffic at this long crosswalk.


#4. 423 & 33rd Street
An unusually long crossing to cross a minor sidestreet. Painted refuge islands are present along this 165 foot hike.


#3. Co Rd. 526 & N. John Young Pkwy
Angled pedestrian crossing increasing the total length of the crosswalk.


#2. Semoran Blvd & S. Wkiwa Springs Rd
An angled pedestrian crossing with dual left turns at all 4-legs..


#1. Conroy Rd & Turkey Lake Rd
A crosswalk that is 165 feet long, angled, has dual right and dual left turn approaches, and has no pedestrian island present.
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Old October 14th, 2014, 02:28 AM   #8
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Why not move the crosswalks a bit and let cars stop a bit in front of the intersection so that pedestrians can use the median as safety island?

examples from Belgium:



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Last edited by joshsam; October 14th, 2014 at 02:42 AM.
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Old October 14th, 2014, 02:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshsam View Post
Why not move the crosswalks a bit and let cars stop a bit in front of the intersection so that pedestrians can use the median as safety island?
Sounds like a good idea. Here's an extreme example of an unnecessarily long crosswalk outside Beijing. This crosswalk is over 100 feet longer than the original example i posted from Florida.

https://www.google.com/maps/@38.8567.../data=!3m1!1e3
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Old October 14th, 2014, 05:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tradephoric View Post
Pedestrian islands aren't very common in Orlando. Colonial Drive is one of the most dangerous streets in Orlando with 40 pedestrian fatalities over the past 5 years. There are very few pedestrian islands to split up the length of the crossings along that road.

I put together a list of 10 intersections in Orlando that have long crosswalks. It gives you a good idea what major intersections in Orlando look like. All crosswalks are at least 150 feet long.

#9. Altamonte Dr & Palm Springs Dr
Raised pedestrian island is present but crossing striped past it.
This is pretty similar to what you'd find around here, the crosswalk doesn't go through the median island per se but still next to it, so a pedestrian can still make use of it if need be. Although the slip lane refuges typically do have the crosswalk going through it unlike #9.

A fairly typical example of a large suburban arterial intersection with slip lanes would be Erin Mills Pkwy and Eglinton
https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.55874.../data=!3m1!1e3
The medians are pretty narrow in some cases though (including some of the crossings at this intersection) and don't offer much comfort to anyone stuck there while traffic is moving around them.
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Old October 14th, 2014, 07:51 AM   #11
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The USA is full of dangerous intersections for pedestrians, but the ones in Florida take it a step further. I wonder what the hell urban planners were thinking over there.
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Old October 14th, 2014, 11:58 AM   #12
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I allready mentioned the cheap sollution. Just repaint the crosswalks further from the intersection en let cars stop before that so pedestrians can use the median. I don't even know why no such things haven't happened yet. The costly sollution is a pedestrian/bike bridge or tunnel wich is done overhere in places where there is more pedestrian activity.
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Old October 14th, 2014, 02:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtBk View Post
The USA is full of dangerous intersections for pedestrians, but the ones in Florida take it a step further. I wonder what the hell urban planners were thinking over there.
Thinking about cars only, I guess.
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Old October 14th, 2014, 05:22 PM   #14
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It really seems that Florida plans only for the car and that the pedestrian crossing is just a formality...

In my city there are even some new cheap but safe pedestrian crossings.
Before:

After:



They got rid of 1 lane and narrowed the rest a bit to make traffic islands which enable to cross the street safely 1 lane at a time.

Fun fact: this street (a bit further down) at 100 feet (for 8 lanes) has my countries widest road surface. But it doesn't have much traffic so there are only 4 lanes and the rest is streetside parking.
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Old October 14th, 2014, 05:48 PM   #15
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Here’s a comparison of pedestrian crossing lengths at a traditional intersection vs. a Median U-Turn intersection.

Traditional intersection:



Median U-turn Intersection:



Pedestrians are still crossing a busy 6-lane arterial, but at a Median U-turn the crossing length is substantially reduced.
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 10:35 PM   #16
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Wouldn't the most efficient thing just be to replace the sidewalks with ditches and things and prohibit pedestrians entirely? It seems like it would completely eliminate the dangers pedestrians pose and help with water drainage at the same time.
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 04:11 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wafflebaby View Post
Wouldn't the most efficient thing just be to replace the sidewalks with ditches and things and prohibit pedestrians entirely? It seems like it would completely eliminate the dangers pedestrians pose and help with water drainage at the same time.
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 09:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wafflebaby View Post
Wouldn't the most efficient thing just be to replace the sidewalks the roadway with ditches and things and prohibit pedestrians cars entirely? It seems like it would completely eliminate the dangers cars pose to pedestrians pose and help with water drainage at the same time.
I was so kind to fix that for you
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Old April 4th, 2015, 08:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BriedisUnIzlietne View Post

It's really interesting. In Moscow they usually create pedestrian tunnels under the widest streets. After a quick look it seems that 120 feet is the widest without safety islands. Why hasn't America done that?

I can't even imagine such high cycle lengths! From where I am it's usually around 60 seconds for each phase. And still in certain places (tram terminus after tram arrival) there might be up to 20 people including (schoolchildren and pensioners) crossing a 3+3 road at red.
These intersections normally have very few pedestrians though. Virtually 100% of the people passing through these roads are in cars. Drivers aren't use to pedestrians because again, most of the time there are no pedestrians present. They could put in tunnels, but as far as cost it would probably be voted down, as it might only be used a few times a day.
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Old April 11th, 2015, 12:19 AM   #20
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It doesn't take a U-Turn design to create pedestrian friendlier crossings. In many cases it is just absolutely terribly bad street design nothing more. Just have a look here. If you shifted the pedestrian crosses only by a few meters and moved the stopping point of the cars a few meters backwards, you'd have much shorter distances you'd have to cross in one go:

Funnily, it would not even be a detour, actually this current design is actually not a lot unsafer, but also out of sync with the pedestrian pathways and actually a small detour.

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