Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
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Nathan
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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby Nathan » June 25th, 2014, 7:11 am

grant1simons2 wrote:Those top 6 are mostly because their downtown area is so damn big and the transit has been perfected since the 1930's or so
Don't forget we had pretty good transit in the 30's...

EOst
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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby EOst » June 25th, 2014, 8:12 am

Nathan wrote:
grant1simons2 wrote:Those top 6 are mostly because their downtown area is so damn big and the transit has been perfected since the 1930's or so
Don't forget we had pretty good transit in the 30's...
Those cities had better transit in the 30s than they do now, so it's sort of a wash: http://www.brooklynrail.net/images/hist ... BMT-19.JPG

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby David Greene » June 30th, 2014, 8:05 pm

EOst wrote:Those cities had better transit in the 30s than they do now, so it's sort of a wash: http://www.brooklynrail.net/images/hist ... BMT-19.JPG
Dodgers!

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby Chava » July 2nd, 2014, 7:08 am

So a pedestrian crossing sting was setup in Chicago. First time I've ever seen that happen. May seem like a waste of resources to some, but there is definitely a need for it. I am constantly competing with cars who plow right into crosswalks at stop signs. I don't even bother trying to cross at crosswalks where there is no stop sign as no one ever seems to stop.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/loca ... 9530.story

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby at40man » July 2nd, 2014, 8:09 am

I wish there were some "Stop for Pedestrians" signs at some of the road intersections on the Gateway and Bruce Vento trails. All too often I see vehicles gunning it through, even though the trails get heavy use this time of year. I was almost plowed over by an SUV last week, even though I had the right of way!

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Anondson
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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby Anondson » July 2nd, 2014, 8:31 am

Ah yes, the "Pedestrian Crossing" vs "Trail Crossing" dilemma.

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby mattaudio » July 2nd, 2014, 8:45 am

Can they put in refuge islands at the crossings? These seem to work GREAT when biking, crossing one lane at a time and weaving through the traffic.

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby mulad » July 2nd, 2014, 8:47 am

I haven't walked the Gateway Trail, but when I've ridden my bike, it's seemed like there should be some more trimming of the greenery near street crossings. Even with bikes going fairly slow, there isn't much time for drivers to react after cyclists emerge from the forested path. Rather than putting stop signs along the trail for bikes/peds, there should be stop signs (or at least yield signs?) on the street for cars. I think cyclists still should get a warning to slow down, though -- On a flat path, it can be easy to get going 20+ mph, and on a corridor with poor visibility, that's not going to end well at intersections.

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby bubzki2 » July 2nd, 2014, 8:51 am

There's a ton of misunderstanding about pedestrian/bike crossing laws in MN.

Essentially, crosswalks only serve to show people where intersections cross. Put differently, they indicate to pedestrians where they have the right of way, but actually have no effect on whether a car should stop or not.

"Where traffic-control signals are not in place or in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk. The driver must remain stopped until the pedestrian has passed the lane in which the vehicle is stopped. "
https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169.21

A great example of drivers not understanding/obeying this law is at Spruce Place and 15th near Loring Park. I called the city about adding crosswalks (Heck, there's a school literally on that corner) and they basically said ... no. I have to wait very often to cross the street on foot and cars regularly exceed 40 on this stretch. Visibility is poor.

Trail crossings are even more confusing.

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby exiled_antipodean » July 2nd, 2014, 10:15 am

There's really no ambiguity.

Drivers have to stop for pedestrians at any intersection where a pedestrian is waiting to cross, and at any other point where there is a marked cross-walk.

I offer a comparative observation. In Britain, Australia, and New Zealand drivers are only required to yield to pedestrians at marked pedestrian crossings and at stop signs. Any other intersection and at Give Way (Yield) signs cars have the right of way.

But there marked pedestrian crossings at just about any intersection you'd want to cross, and many mid-block locations, and drivers stop. Sometimes they screech to a stop.

The letter of the law gives less to pedestrians, but no question that it's easier to be a pedestrian in any of those places.

I'd trade our theoretically more generous law for a more restrictive law, and their level of enforcement and compliance. My anecdotal sense is also that they have more refuge islands.

No, it has nothing to do with driving on the other side of the road :)

Ultimately we have to get the police to do enforcement in a way that people notice. When "Bob from accounting" getting fined for not stopping at pedestrian crossings is the talk of the water cooler in many offices that'll be a sign things are working.

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby David Greene » July 2nd, 2014, 10:37 am

exiled_antipodean wrote:There's really no ambiguity.

Drivers have to stop for pedestrians at any intersection where a pedestrian is waiting to cross, and at any other point where there is a marked cross-walk.
That's not what the statute says. It says cars must yield to pedestrians in the act of crossing. The statute specifically says pedestrians cannot step into the vehicle right-of-way such that the vehicle has no chance to stop in time. Vehicles *may* yield to a pedestrian waiting to cross and in that case, no other vehicle may pass the waiting vehicle (this is the biggest violation I see day-to-day).

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby David Greene » July 2nd, 2014, 10:39 am

I guess I might misunderstand the trail crossing rules. I've always thought that street traffic has the right-of-way unless there is a specific stop sign or other such signal. In fact most trails I cross have stop signs for bikes and peds on the trail (the Midtown Greenway and Kenilworth trails, for example).

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby kirby96 » July 2nd, 2014, 11:24 am

David Greene wrote:I guess I might misunderstand the trail crossing rules. I've always thought that street traffic has the right-of-way unless there is a specific stop sign or other such signal. In fact most trails I cross have stop signs for bikes and peds on the trail (the Midtown Greenway and Kenilworth trails, for example).
I honestly can't make heads nor tails. I THINK what I'm reading above means it doesn't make a difference for pedestrians (an intersection is an intersection and if they are crossing driver must yield). In such a case, your trail crossing interpretation (which is the same I've had) isn't necessarily incorrect: a cyclist, who must follow the rules of the road, must obey the stop sign at a trail crossing (like the Kenilworth example). A pedestrian at this 'intersection', though, will have the right of way once they begin crossing.

However, I've heard an even more baffling claim: that CYCLISTS in pedestrian crosswalks are no longer vehicles that must obey the rules of the road, and become, for a brief magical moment, pedestrians. Someone told me this after I nearly t-boned a cyclist c who veered off the bike trail and then crossed W Calhoun Pkwy at a pedestrian crosswalk at about 20 mph without slowing down. Is that true? If so seems very dangerous. So cyclists must follow the rules of the road except for the times they don't? Huh?

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby David Greene » July 2nd, 2014, 11:27 am

kirby96 wrote:However, I've heard an even more baffling claim: that CYCLISTS in pedestrian crosswalks are no longer vehicles that must obey the rules of the road, and become, for a brief magical moment, pedestrians.
I believe that is only true if they dismount.

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby bubzki2 » July 2nd, 2014, 12:04 pm

"A person lawfully operating a bicycle on a sidewalk, or across a roadway or shoulder on a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances."
https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/sta ... id=169.222

Clear as mud.

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby exiled_antipodean » July 2nd, 2014, 12:07 pm

Office of the Revisor of Statutes wrote:Where traffic-control signals are not in place or in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk
I've heard this ambiguous interpretation before numerous times on this site: that drivers are only obligated to stop for pedestrians who are on the road, and not stop for waiting pedestrians even if they can safely stop.

I think that's angels on the head of a pin type stuff, and it's not the way that the police interpret it the comparatively rare times they do enforcement operations. People who don't yield to waiting pedestrians are breaking the law.

It turns out our police and lawyers don't have the same ambiguity about the law
Minnetonka Police Chief wrote: Common sense would tell you if you see someone in the curb, you should stop -- if you're paying attention
http://www.startribune.com/local/169120506.html
In other words, the curb down to the road, by the handy yellow sign if there is one, is part of the crosswalk although it extends off the roadway. Thus, a pedestrian waiting to cross is in the act of "crossing the roadway", even if they haven't physically moved into the path of cars.

Here's MNDot's pedestrian webpage (who knew they had one?!): http://www.dot.state.mn.us/peds/
MNDoT wrote:Pedestrians have the right of way at every intersection, even those without crosswalks or stop lights.
Minnesota State Trooper in the Mankato Free Press wrote:peds have the right of way at a crosswalk and at an intersection without a crosswalk
http://www.mankatofreepress.com/communi ... crosswalks
Here's a lawyer saying there is no ambiguity to the law.
A practicing lawyer wrote: I am amazed to see people standing under big yellow pedestrian signs, in front of clearly marked cross walks, just watching cars buzz by. The law of the state of Minnesota requires that cars yield to these people:
http://minneapolis.legalexaminer.com/wr ... rosswalks/
If the only pedestrians you have to yield to are those already on the roadway, then the only place the law would really operate is places with low traffic volumes and traffic moving at low speeds where pedestrians can step into safe gaps. That's nonsensical. It would mean you had no legal right to cross busy streets at marked, yet unsignalized, crossings.

While I think our law makers can be oblivious to pedestrians, I don't think a fair reading of the legislation supports this "only yield to pedestrians who have stepped into the traffic" reading.

The next section of the legislation also makes that clear by its distinction from the previous [signalized and un-signalized intersection] sections that between intersections Pedestrians "shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway."
Last edited by exiled_antipodean on July 2nd, 2014, 12:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

seanrichardryan
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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby seanrichardryan » July 2nd, 2014, 12:23 pm

Are they waiting to cross or waiting for the bus?
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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby seanrichardryan » July 2nd, 2014, 12:25 pm

Q. What, what? A. In da butt.

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby David Greene » July 2nd, 2014, 8:11 pm

exiled_antipodean wrote:I think that's angels on the head of a pin type stuff, and it's not the way that the police interpret it the comparatively rare times they do enforcement operations. People who don't yield to waiting pedestrians are breaking the law.
So then why the part about pedestrians not stepping into the roadway if cars can't stop? Shouldn't the cars be stopping long before that would be a possibility? With your interpretation that phrasing should not be needed at all.

I cross Lake at non-signalized intersections frequently. The wait usually isn't that long and cars have slowed or stopped every time when I was in the roadway.

It's kind of crazy to expect cars to stop for people waiting on a corner. There are any number of reasons people might be standing there that have nothing to do with crossing the street.

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Re: Pedestrian Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

Postby mulad » July 2nd, 2014, 11:58 pm

I consider slowing/stopping for someone who isn't going to cross to be a "fail-safe" scenario -- Oops, I stopped and you didn't want to cross? Okay, I'll be on my way. Better than the alternative of not stopping when someone did intend to cross. Bus stops are typically located several feet away from the actual crosswalk, though of course pedestrians sometimes don't use crosswalks (marked or unmarked).

I think drivers are typically paying attention to things on/near the roadway that are in motion. Stationary objects and people tend to blend into the background. That's partly just the way our eyes/brains work. It's often easier to see someone moving toward a crosswalk even if they're a few feet away than it is to see someone standing motionless with one foot in the roadway. While the idea of having pedestrians pause before they cross seems to make sense, that interpretation tends to conflict with human physiology.

There are limits to how fast and far away people can be seen, whether in motion or stationary, and how quickly drivers can stop their vehicles -- that's why some places are pushing for lower speed limits for cars. Someone visiting Lake Street for the first time and trying to find a particular building will almost certainly be driving at 20 or 25 mph a lot of the time. The ability to process the street scene goes down as speed goes up. You can cheat that quite a bit when you know the patterns of an area, but there are always drivers on the street who have never been in the area before, and there's always the risk that something new will happen to surprise the folks who are familiar with it.


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