A new report from the International Transport Forum shows the United States slipping further behind other nations on street safety and reductions in traffic deaths. When American cities are confronted with their traffic injury statistics, they tend to respond with ad campaigns, efforts to increase seat belt usage, and other interventions to make driving safer. But Angie Schmitt says the more effective interventions involve traffic calming. “The European nations that have been especially successful at reducing traffic deaths have gone a lot farther, prioritizing the safety of pedestrians and cyclists over the speed and convenience of driving, especially in urban areas.”
Within the United States, Philadelphia in particular appears to be lagging behind on traffic calming. While 24 states and 53 other cities have installed protected bike lanes, Philly doesn’t even have one yet (the one we have is technically a trail, but it’s awesome.) This matters because, as the Bicycle Coalition teases from their upcoming report, women and new cyclists are more likely to bike when there’s high-quality separated infrastructure. They found the city’s buffered bike lanes carry about 80% more bike traffic than regular bike lanes.
Philly urbanism blog This Old City rolled out their first platform asks for the 2015 campaign, including “free” SEPTA passes for college students and faculty, elimination of minimum parking requirements for multifamily housing, a non-elective citywide street-sweeping service, and a new consolidated Department of Transportation, Land Use, and Urban Planning.
If a state legislature creates a “safe passing” law for cyclists and nobody enforces it, does it still make a difference? Alex Zimmerman at Pittsburgh City Paper reports “just 42 citations have been issued statewide since the law took effect 28 months ago, 12 of which were recorded in Allegheny County, according to a City Paper review of court data. And it’s not clear if the law is having a significant effect on the number of car-related bike crashes.”
Conrad Benner finds two new Get Up stencil pieces in Northern Liberties and Fishtown.
Don’t get too upset about the Taney Dragons loss just yet – they still have a chance to make it to the championship on Saturday if they beat Chicago today. While you’re waiting, make sure to read Ryan Briggs’s piece for Hidden City on the history behind the Taney name. Go Dragons!