# Recently in Walking Category

## How shoveling and plowing snow now extends the duration of icy sidewalks

Minnesota is getting still more ice/sleet/freezing rain/snow today. We will see piles of snow for a long time. Why will we see piles of snow? Because we piled it up. The snow on top acts as insulation for the snow below.

Imagine there is a winter where we get 1 meter of snow (in fact the average for Minneapolis is 1.26 m of snowfall). On the 1 m wide boulevard between the 1 m wide sidewalk and the street, we get 1.5 meters high of snow, as we transport half the snow from the sidewalk to the boulevard to "clear the sidewalk" (the other half goes into the yard maybe, if we have yards. If we have buildings, it all goes to the boulevard). (I realize this is not all at one time, which complicates the model but does not change the basic point).

If the snow melts and sublimates at 5 cm/day (this varies), (and water (liquid snow) refreezes at night), instead of 20 mornings of icy sidewalks, we have 40 hazardous mornings. We have approximately doubled the problem.

This problem in embiggened when you add the snow plows piling additional snow onto the boulevard. In this case we take a 10 m wide street and pile 5 m x 1 m of snow on the boulevard on each side. Now we have put not just 0.5 m from the sidewalk but an additional 5 m of snow on each Boulevard. So the Boulevard is responsible for storing 5.5 m of snowfall over the course of the winter. The ground absorbs very little since it is frozen.

Fortunately, cars are local urban heat islands, so the road is warmer than the sidewalk, and the snow melts back towards the roads at a faster rate than on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, sidewalks are interrupted by streets, which are now icy and slushy in the gutter in the morning. Similarly, we are fortunate that buildings are urban heat islands. Unfortunately, new buildings are well-insulated, greedily keeping their warmth rather than sharing it with the adjacent sidewalks.

For the purposes of walking, I wonder whether it might be better to not shovel or plow at all, and take the inconvenience of walking (driving) through snow, than to shovel and increase the duration over which we must traverse ice and slush. This might be a case of getting punished for doing the "right thing."

An alternatives is to actually move the snow off the sidewalk's upstream water-basin. In large cities, we might take the snow piles and put them to the side away from the walk path. This answers the questions: Surface parking lots, what are they good for?

Cartoon from AMAZING FACTS...AND BEYOND! WITH LEON BEYOND

## Sidewalks are Hotting Up

Brendon writes in:

Heating a sidewalk section has climate change implications. I calculate the 26-year cost of your section at \$8,722 at the low end and \$9,708 at the high end (depending on the discount rate you assign to the future impacts of climate change. I tend to lean towards the higher end). This means your break-even point is 8% to 20% higher, meaning maybe 173 to 192 pedestrians per day. Of course with a carbon tax in place, there would likely be more walkers in some places, meaning heating the sidewalks become feasible in more places.

Now, if you could use waste heat that hasn't been previously captured to heat sidewalks, as they are proposing to do with the new "interchange" plaza and HERC steam, the carbon footprint becomes effectively zero additional. Much less per kWh/BTU.

Other interesting facts, heating all the sidewalks in Minneapolis with electricity from the grid for one year would produce more greenhouse gases than the disposal of all our solid waste and wastewater does over the same time period. The additional energy consumption would be equal to about 1/3 of the current annual consumption in all residential properties in the city. It would increase the city's annual electricity consumption by 8%.

He nicely identifies a feedback effect, heating up sidewalks will create more emissions, which will heat the atmosphere, which will eventually negate the need for heating up sidewalks. There must be an equilibrium point here.

More seriously, the use of waste heat is a great idea, especially near the HERC. The problem would be building infrastructure to distribute that more broadly. There might also be waste heat from wastewater (which is still liquid in the winter, and thus warmer than the ground around it) which we don't capture, or let go to roads, by running sewers under the streets rather than the sidewalks.

## Walkable Ice

In the absence of significant global warming, Minnesotans still need to contend with ice on the sidewalks (to be clear, in the presence of significant global warming, we would have other problems; and in the presence of significant global cooling, we would face snow and glaciers rather than freezing rain and ice).

My own house suffers this problem, despite (or because of) snow clearance, ice re-forms on the sidewalks and steps, or freezing rain falls on the cleared sidewalks, making them slick, rather than on snow-covered sidewalks, making them crunchy. Further, water drips from the house and gutters because of ice dams, and then freezes on the ground.

My alma mater, Georgia Tech, while not typically subject to much snow or ice, has many sidewalks just above steam-heat pipes, which would clear those sidewalks pretty readily in most conditions. The University of Minnesota does a pretty good job with snow clearance, all things considered, using a lot of labor and snow clearance machines in the process.

Ice clearance is hard in this freeze-melt cycle, especially when the water has no where to drain because (1) the sidewalks are convex (along either width or length), (2) the boulevards are covered in snow creating no place for run off to go and creating a source for new melted water, (3) the storm drains are covered in snow, and (4) the ground is still frozen and/or the soil above the freeze line is super-saturated.

I see a lot of attention to ice-free roads, and very little for ice-free sidewalks. This would greatly enhance walkability, reduce the likelihood of severe injury, and increase the number of pedestrians.

There are a variety of ways to address icy sidewalks:

• Mechanical: clearing sidewalks with shovels and pick-axes and snow-bots.
• Friction: Sand, Grit, Gravel make the ice more walkable (by increasing friction);
• Chemical: Salt (reduces ice via melting);
• Radiant: heated sidewalks (using a variety of techniques);
• Protection: covered sidewalks; and

If we consider the cost of an icy sidewalk equal to the probability of a fall multiplied by the cost of a fall, multiplied by the number of people who face that probability per day, times the number of days the sidewalk is icy, we can get a sense of the amount we should invest to avoid the ice.

Let's say I fall once a year on the ice (typical), after traveling 2.6 km * 2 times a day * 10 ice days = 52 km. My fall rate: is 1 fall per 52 km of ice.

For a house with 10 m of frontage, with 100 pedestrians a day, it gets 1 km of pedestrian traffic per day. Once every 52 icy days, it will see someone fall.

The cost of a fall is unclear, since most falls are unreported. For reported falls which require medical care, the estimate is on the order of \$10,000. Let's assume 10% of falls require medical attention, meaning the average cost per fall is \$1,000.

This implies that every 52 icy days (once every 5.2 years if there are 10 icy days per year), each house with icy sidewalks imposes \$1,000 in costs. In that case, if we want to minimize social costs, we should be willing to invest \$19 day in effective ice clearance. This is about an hour of labor (or two hours of undergraduate labor) to operate simple machines plus some cheap (Friction or Chemical based) treatments). Unfortunately, I am unclear whether \$19/day is effective.

We could add delay costs, due to people walking slower on ice, which I estimate to be about a 10% reduction in walking speed. With a travel speed typically of 1.44 m/s, we might decrease that to 1.3 m/s. So instead of the 100 pedestrians taking 7 seconds each to walk in front of the house, they are taking 7.7 seconds. That is 70 person-seconds per day, which has an economic value of (@ \$15/hour) of \$0.30 per day, two orders of magnitude lower than the fall costs, and so not really worth discussing further.

But can we prevent the ice from forming?

For \$1000 every 5.2 years, we get \$5000 for a 26 year expected life of a capital investment. If we can make a capital investment of less than \$5000 to eliminate falls on our public sidewalk, it would be socially worthwhile.

The cost of heating sidewalks is about \$20 per square foot (or about \$215 per square meter). A 10 meter by 2 meter sidewalk is 20 meters square, giving us a cost of \$4305.

We must consider operating costs, which are estimated at \$.60/hour. If it is operating 240 hours per year (this is a guess, I don't know how long it needs to operate to keep the sidewalk ice free), this is \$144 year. (You might run it to melt snow, but that has fewer benefits, just avoiding shoveling, not reduced falling in this simple model, so I don't consider that). \$144 per year is \$3744 over 26 years (no discounting), so is a large fraction of the capital costs.

Unfortunately, \$4305+\$3744 > \$5000, so 100 pedestrians is not enough to justify heating. However 160 pedestrians would be a break-even point.

Covering the sidewalks (200m of roofing) could cost \$80/square foot (\$860/square meter). This lasts 15 years. For 20 square meters, this costs \$17,200, well out of range for our residential sidewalk if the only objective is ice reduction, especially since it only lasts 15 years. It might have other benefits, such as reducing our exposure to nature and street-life though.

Policy recommendation: Use student labor to clear sidewalks with low pedestrian flows. Heat sidewalks which have high pedestrian flows. Cover sidewalks with very high pedestrian flows.

Yes, I did fall this year. This post was written between my vertical and horizontal positions, so I apologize in advance for its rushed nature.

## Stairing us in the face

There are lots of social engineering messages to get people to take the stairs instead of the elevator. I normally do this if I can, and agree that it is probably healthier (though the energy savings is small).

However, the state of our stairs is disrepair and disgrace. Many of our buildings were not designed for this new trend, and stairs seemed to be only intended for fire emergencies.

To wit, some pictures of my favorite staircases, which I use regularly at the University of Minnesota. Clearly no one has got the message that stairs should be at least as attractive as elevators, even if they are fire emergency stairs.

The first photo is a staircase at the Washington Avenue Parking Ramp (Garage for those outside the Midwest). It is at least painted, and has windows, but one would hardly call it nice. It functions not just as a transportation corridor for people, but also for drains, making it easy to service, like your utility room.

The second photo is from the same building, but a different staircase. Not even as attractive as the first. Without windows or natural light, not carpeted nor tiled, the walls painted with an undifferentiated institutional color.

The third photo is from the Civil Engineering building, this is a side entrance, not intended by the architects as anything but for service, yet it is the fastest way in and out of that highly circuitous building from the south and it gets a lot of traffic.

Compare this with your most recent elevator ride. If it was the CE building, it was admittedly equally decrepit, but the elevators there are under repair. In other buildings, the elevator is usually a much a nicer ride. Why?

If we want people to take the stairs, let's make the stairs just a little bit nicer.

## QRious sidewalks

ST sends me to Rio (via AP) which reports Bar codes on sidewalks give tourist info:

"Rio de Janeiro is mixing technology with tradition to provide tourists information about the city by embedding bar codes into the black and white mosaic sidewalks that are a symbol of the city."

This might be a solution to improving navigability, though I think it will puzzle archeologists in 1000 years. The problem of course is it makes people look (1) at their phones rather than the city, and (2) at the sidewalk instead of what's in front of them.

## Walk Minneapolis

The Twin Cities should have something like Walk London (only better)

. I don't want just trails (I am familiar with the Grand Rounds, but there should be more), but actual urban paths I might want to take because they are walkable, interesting, and minimize conflicts with traffic. These paths should not simply be on a website or mobile app, but either be marked or signed, or otherwise self-navigating.

In London you have:

Signage:
The route is indicated on the ground by a variety of signs and waymarks, which are very similar to those of the London Loop. In open spaces they consist mostly of a simple white disc, mounted on wooden posts and containing a directional arrow with the Big Ben logo in blue and text in green (but note that in Richmond black replaces green due to local conservation area considerations). A word of warning: the arrow's direction may not be clear until you are close up. It is easy to assume that it points ahead, but it may turn - look closely before continuing.

On streets the posts are replaced by larger aluminium signs strapped to lampposts and other street furniture, and additionally carry a walking man symbol. On link routes to stations the word 'link' is incorporated into the logo. At major focal points you will also meet tall green and white signposts that give distances to three points in either direction. Some of these locations may also have the big, round-topped information boards.

And of course, they should be contiguous.

The best I can find is this, which helps me if I am a planner, but not a pedestrian. At Bike Walk Twin Cities, which feels like , let's be honest, Bike Bike Twin Cities, the "maps" link has links to 8 different bike maps on their maps page, only one of which is really only for hiking too, and that is for outstate. The Walking maps page leads me to the useless City of Minneapolis page, the route planner from Metro Transit, and two Skyway maps.

Maybe there is some other resource I am missing. Maybe someone has a grant to do this. Maybe someone had a grant to do this, but didn't do it.

## In praise of contiguity | streets.mn

Now @ Streets.MN : In praise of contiguity :

"After seeing other places throughout the world, notably Toronto, London, Manhattan, any continental European city, even Washington DC, I believe the problem with making Minneapolis a first rate pedestrian city is the lack of contiguity. There are some really good walkable sections, but they are not connected well (or at all)."

## City Of Melbourne : 24PM - Pedestrian Monitoring System Data Visualisation

FH sends a link to this very nice visualization from the City of Melbourne: 24PM their pedestrian monitoring system data:

"The City of Melbourne's 24-hour pedestrian monitoring system (24PM) measures pedestrian activity in the central city and Docklands precincts each day.

The system, which comprises 18 sensors, counts pedestrian movements to give the City of Melbourne a better understanding of how people use these precincts so we can manage the way they function and plan for future needs.

The online visualisation tool is an interactive map of these sensor locations, which enables users to see pedestrian counts on particular dates and times and compare data."

## Sidewalk Obstructionism

| 1 Comment

On my usual commute home, I have recently faced this (left image) Do Not Enter sign on the west entrance of the newly remodeled and rebranded The Commons Hotel (Harvard just north of Washington Ave). The sign, aimed at convincing drivers not to enter the drive way the wrong way, was placed in front of the sidewalk curb cut, sandbagged so it did not blow down. I asked staff of the hotel about it (made him come out and look), and while quite gracious, he said it was the University of Minnesota's doing. He promised to call them. Two days later, nothing had happened. I don't know if he didn't call, or if he was routed to the University's Department of Sidewalk Operations, Obstruction Division, Do Not Enter Unit, and they did not do anything. A sign in the middle of a street would have been moved.

You might say, just walk on the other side of the street. But cars disgorge from the Washington Avenue Ramp, and it is even more unpleasant. Or walk around it (which I did), but that is inefficient for all concerned, and impossible for wheelchairs, who are forced into the street or driveway.

I moved it myself. Why does that feel illegal? I hope the rain or something else takes care of the loose sand.

Surely there is a better design to convince drivers not to go the wrong way on a one-way driveway than an ugly sign, though it might require some concrete. We need better self-explaining roads and driveways.

## Traffic Control Device for Non-Vehicular Traffic Vehicles « Getting Around Minneapolis

Getting Around Minneapolis: Traffic Control Device for Non-Vehicular Traffic Vehicles : ""

Alex nails it. Application of motor vehicle traffic control devices to pedestrians is wrong.

## Walking in the street is HIGHLY DANGEROUS and PROHIBITED by Law

I saw this sign at a new construction project "The Station on Washington" at Washington Avenue Transit Mall and Walnut Street the other day. It says:

"Walking in the street is HIGHLY DANGEROUS and PROHIBITED by Law".

I don't disagree that walking in the street is HIGHLY DANGEROUS. Is it really PROHIBITED though? If I park on the side of the road, must I exit through the passenger door? If so, it is the least enforced law on the books. I know the sign is not official, I can tell from the wrong typeface and mixed use of capital and lowercase letters.

I believe (i.e. the City of Minneapolis tells me) that "Mid-block crossings are illegal if there are traffic signals at both ends of the block." also "State statute requires pedestrians crossing mid-block (between 2 intersections) to yield to vehicles, unless a mid-block crossing is marked. " That is not the case here, only at one end is a traffic signal. They also give me the tip "Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk on either side of the street, or if the sidewalk is inaccessible, walk facing vehicles. "

The actual law says:

Subd. 5. Walk on left side of roadway. Pedestrians when walking or moving in a wheelchair along a roadway shall, when practicable, walk or move on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder giving way to oncoming traffic. Where sidewalks are provided and are accessible and usable it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk or move in a wheelchair along and upon an adjacent roadway.

So if a sidewalk is provided and accessible you do have to use it. Should not a sidewalk be on both sides of the road to be "accessible"? This does not answer the question about exiting a parked car. Maybe I should climb on the roof to avoid walking upon the adjacent roadway.

At any rate, to my disappointment, the sign is not actually lying.

Which moves us to the next question: why does a developer (Opus), pitching itself as transit friendly, get to close a sidewalk in an existing pedestrian district? Why are they not taking space from motor vehicles to create a temporary sidewalk? It's not like Walnut does not have plenty of space and very little traffic.

Furthermore, why do the new traffic signals have pedestrian actuators. Shouldn't pedestrians get phases automatically, without pushing a button? I can see maybe as a call button, but not as the only way to get a ped phase.

## An unmarked crosswalk exists at every single intersection

Stop and Move blog (via GGW): Bee actually mentions 'unmarked crosswalk' in report:

" The Fresno Bee ran a sad story today about a mother and her daughter being hit by a motorist driving a pickup truck while crossing the road on the way to school. A vehicle in one lane had stopped to let the two cross and the other driver decided to ignore that and continue past the stopped vehicle, hitting them. The daughter is ok, the mother is in the hospital.

Many things can be said about the story, but this is what caught my eye:

The driver was eastbound on Clinton Avenue as the woman and the girl were in an unmarked crosswalk walking to the north side of the street.

I don't know if it was the reporter, Jim Guy who noted this, or if it was brought to his attention by Police Sgt. Anthony Dewall who was interviewed for the article but....

Well done.

Not enough people understand that in California, an unmarked crosswalk exists at every single intersection and has the same legal standing as a marked one. That is, the pedestrian has the right of way, and the vehicles must stop.

Noting the law doesn't change the unfortunate collision, but it DOES affect perception.  And that actually means a lot.
"

## MNDot Launches Pedestrian Safety Campaign | streets.mn

Julie Kosbab on: MNDot Launches Pedestrian Safety Campaign

In my pedestrian-centric view, The most important one is on the right: "Hey Drivers … EVERY CORNER IS A CROSSWALK. Yep … every single one". This is especially needed at T-intersections of minors meeting majors. Especially unmarked crosswalks. Now if there could only be consistency about crosswalk markings (i.e. no markings) to help remind drivers of this.

PeerJ Blog A new, respectable, open-access journal (in biology and medicine) that charges authors "memberships" rather than publication charges. Memberships on the order of \$100.

wfaa.com Dallas - Fort Worth: Pedestrians face danger on Orange Line 'path' in Las Colinas

"Meanwhile, joggers question why the rails are so accessible if they’re intended to be off-limits. DART says it may consider changing the design if it becomes a bigger problem."

## Marked Crosswalks Considered Harmful

In 1968 there was a famous Computer Science article Go To Statement Considered Harmful by Edsger W. Dijkstra (of algorithm fame). It says in part:

My second remark is that our intellectual powers are rather geared to master static relations and that our powers to visualize processes evolving in time are relatively poorly developed. For that reason we should do (as wise programmers aware of our limitations) our utmost to shorten the conceptual gap between the static program and the dynamic process, to make the correspondence between the program (spread out in text space) and the process (spread out in time) as trivial as possible.

In early 21st Century America, pedestrian crosswalks may be marked or unmarked. Whether a crosswalk is marked is functionally based on the whim of the traffic department. A fuller discussion of issues about "how" to use crosswalks (from the Town of Brookline, Massachusetts) is here, but not "when" to use them, hence my use of the term "whim", which says engineering studies are required, but does not have hard and fast rules about application.

Interesting the Brookline document asserts:

Marked crosswalks are viewed widely as "safety devices," and most municipalities give the pedestrian the right-of-way when within them. However, there is strong evidence that these facts prompt many pedestrians to feel overly secure when using a marked crosswalk. As a result, pedestrians will often place themselves in a hazardous position by believing that motorists can and will stop in all cases, even when it may be impossible to do so. It is not unusual for this type of aggressive pedestrian behavior to contribute to a higher incidence of pedestrian accidents and cause a greater number of rear-end collisions. In contrast, a pedestrian using an unmarked crosswalk generally feels less secure and less certain that the motorist will stop and thereby exercise more caution and waiting for safe gaps in the traffic stream before crossing. The end result is fewer accidents at unmarked crosswalks.

Implicitly the document blames pedestrians for asserting their rights, rather than drivers for violating them.

I posit that if you are a trained, but human driver, whose "intellectual powers are rather geared to master static relations" you will generally respect crosswalks. You will believe, just as all stop signs are marked, all legal crosswalks are marked. As "our powers to visualize processes evolving in time are relatively poorly developed" you will disrespect unmarked crosswalks, since if they were legitimate, you reason, they would be marked. You may not even notice them if they come from side streets for which you have no stop sign of traffic signal. They only appear relevant when there is a person surprising you in the road. Hence you will be aggressive to pedestrians trying to cross at unmarked crosswalks, as you will (wrongly) believe you have the right-of-way. Pedestrians will in turn be intimidated as suggested by the Brookline document above. Research about driver and pedestrian behavior can be found in this paper by Mitman et al. It notes:

Driver yielding behavior was a statistically significant variable at all six observation sites. For all road types, pedestrians in the marked crosswalk were more likely than pedestrians in the unmarked crosswalk to have drivers immediately yield the right-of-way to them.

and

Average gap acceptance was a statistically significant variable at five of the observation sites. At all five locations, pedestrians in the unmarked crosswalk were more likely than pedestrians in the marked crosswalk to wait for larger gaps in traffic before crossing. This finding was consistent across all road types.

The empirical findings are sound as far as they go. I disagree with the recommendations.

The problem is inconsistent ambiguity.

Solution A. Mark all crosswalks.

If we were completely consistent about where pedestrians might be found, (i.e. crosswalks) that would be acceptable, drivers and pedestrians would both understand the law. It would be clearly spelled out to drivers where pedestrians might be, including smaller intersections that might otherwise be raced by. It would be bad from a pedestrian rights perspective, as it over channelizes walkers and gives too much power to cars.

By implication, it requires pedestrians to use only marked crosswalks. It in a sense delegitimizes jaywalking. It increases pedestrian travel times. As Peter Norton notes in Fighting Traffic:

"Before the American city could be physically reconstructed to accommodate automobiles, its streets had to be socially reconstructed as places where cars belong." "Until then, streets were regarded as public spaces." [Quoted in Planning Pool]

In practice, we will not mark all crosswalks. The vast majority of intersections in the US are unmarked, and no one wants to spend the money to mark them all. Hence if we claim to adopt solution A, we will in fact resign ourselves to inconsistent ambiguity (false certainty) or crosswalk markings.

Solution B. Unmark all crosswalks.

In contrast, if we were completely (i.e. consistently) ambiguous about where pedestrians would be, that would be good from both a safety perspective, and in the long run, a pedestrian rights perspective. While in the mixed environment, pedestrian might wait more, in the no crosswalks environment, pedestrians will be cautious where they are now reckless. But pedestrians would also be more assertive in more places (those without crosswalks now) as they would know that drivers would be also be more cautious. This strategy will make both drivers and pedestrians more aware of their surroundings since pedestrians might be anywhere. (See shared space.)

In addition to unmarking all crosswalks, we should put up periodic reminder signs/messages to drivers when entering new districts, leaving freeways, etc. that pedestrians have the right-of-way. We might put up markers where pedestrians have died to somber-up drivers. (Further, we ought to develop some hand-signal communication protocol so pedestrians can signal drivers they are about to enter the roadway. Reuben Collins has a nice discussion here.).

It is the false expectation of consistency that causes many of the 4,280 pedestrian deaths per year in the United States.

I strongly prefer Solution B. Do we have any examples of this in the United States over a widespread area? A single street with shared space would be insufficient to draw conclusions.

Comment: this is the same argument as about Class III Bikeways. Since Class III Bikeways give bicyclists no advantage, they imply to drivers that on any unmarked road, they have rights over bikes (when they don't).

Comment: Yes I did see a driver yell at a pedestrian for crossing an unmarked crosswalk again today, and the intimidated pedestrian ran after trying to yield the road.

## Standing There Like Idiots

There are many useless traffic signals. (Some are also useful).

The most useless traffic signal I see everyday (multiple times) is at the intersection of Beacon St. and Harvard Avenue. Not only is there little traffic for the traffic light, so a stop sign (or better a yield sign, roundabout, or shared space) would do, the pedestrian signal has Beg buttons. I just saw someone who looked a lot like Eric Kaler (who is obviously not an idiot) waiting and needlessly obeying the law while pushing the pedestrian signal actuator multiple times to call for a walk signal, which eventually came. If no one pushes the actuator, you actually don't get a walk signal, so it is working, just pointless.

Why do we have these signals, on a university campus of all places, making pedestrians (who probably are equal in number to cars at this intersection) stand there like idiots while cars can drive through, and even make a "right turn on red"?

## Walk don't run

| 1 Comment

Every time a pedestrian runs across the street in face of oncoming traffic, conditions worsen for the rest of us. You empower the driver, you make them believe they have the right-of-way and need not decelerate in the presence of a pedestrian. Walk don't run. Make the unhappy driver slow for you. This is the only way to reclaim the street.

I saw this again yesterday, at a cross-walk (the troublesome, and poorly designed, cross-walk unmarked, reconfigured East-River Road and Fulton St SE. Nice job traffic engineers, no marked crosswalk adjacent to campus, was the paint just too expensive, or is this the new policy?). The pedestrian, who looked to be in his early 60s, felt the need to run to avoid oncoming traffic that just got set loose at the East River Road/Harvard Intersection stop-sign at about 5 pm. Drivers (University employees most of them) seem to feel that once they clear Harvard, they have reached the Freeway. They have not. Someone should remind them of this. A few of those dorky stop for pedestrians in crosswalk signs, perhaps some stop for pedestrians in unmarked crosswalk signs would be nice as well.

The laws vary by state, but even crossing not at a crosswalk is generally legal so long as you are not creating a hazard.

## North St. Paul's 'Living Streets' program aims to make roads safer, more environmentally friendly

North St. Paul has added its own twist to a metro area street-construction plan.

The city has taken the national "Complete Streets" initiative - a set of policies calling for better-designed and usually narrower roads - a step further by adding eco-friendly elements such as trees and rainwater gardens to the design.

Advocates hope North St. Paul's plan, dubbed "Living Streets," will prevent polluted runoff from entering storm drains, create safer streets and make neighborhoods more attractive - all at less cost to the city.

Traditionally, "streets were looked at very narrowly as places for travel," City Manager Wally Wysopal said. "Now we realize we need to look at their impact for overall environmental concerns."

Sounds good.

If "living streets" is going to become a movement, it should get a domain like livingstreets.org or livingstreets.com , the first is held by squatters, the second by an individual advocate. livingstreets.org.uk is a pedestrian charity, close but not quite.

## 3-Way Street

3-Way Street from ronconcocacola on Vimeo.

"

## Dangerous by Design 2011 Map of Fatalities

| 1 Comment

Transportation For America has put out a new report and Map of Fatalities

DC Streetsblog has an article on the subject.

In short, while Missing Persons may have been correct that "Nobody walks in LA", Nobody should walk in Florida. As a pedestrian myself, I am pleased metropolitan Minneapolis is ranked 48 (which is relatively good) out of 52 US metros above 1 million population.

As with Bicycles, it seems the more people who walk to work, the safer walking is. (And the causation is likely to be mutual).

It is interesting to note:

Pedestrian fatalities have fallen at only half the rate of motorists, dropping by just over 14 percent during the period.

Two major reasons auto fatalities have dropped is safer vehicles (airbags, crash resistance, etc.) and better emergency medicine and response time. Clearly only the latter would play into pedestrian fatalities. These numbers suggest each factor is about equally important in the decline.

## Predictable Bicycle Tragedy Points to Need for New Street Priorities at University of Minnesota

twin city sidewalks writes: Predictable Bicycle Tragedy Points to Need for New Street Priorities at University of Minnesota: "To put it bluntly, much of the the street design at University of Minnesota makes it almost inevitable that pedestrians and cyclists will be killed. "

This is the second pedestrian/bicyclist death in Dinkytown in less than a week, though the other was hit-and-run driver running onto the sidewalk.

Obviously the driver is at fault. The question the community needs to ask is could street design have something to do with bad driving? Or, is a one-way pair appropriate here (University/Fourth)? Sure it is great to evacuate the arenas and stadium after a game, but it is an inherent conflict with the more common daily activities on the route. Getting the through vehicle traffic away from local non-motorized campus traffic should be a strategy considered. (e.g. Suppose Granary Road were to be completed instead of just discussed).

## Like John Lithgow in Footloose, Denver kills the Barnes Dance

The Denver Post reports some sad news .... Denver to eliminate diagonal crossings at intersections

A tradition that started 60 years ago in downtown Denver and became commonplace in intersections around the world is about to end in its city of origin as city traffic engineers give last call to the 'Barnes Dance.'

The maneuver that stops traffic in all directions and gives pedestrians unfettered access — allowing people to briefly dance in the streets as they meet in the middle and dodge and weave to get by — will end May 14 as the city reconfigures its traffic signals.

The move is necessary because of transportation changes that will affect downtown beginning next month, including longer Regional Transportation District light-rail trains and longer crosswalk intervals.

So in brief, Light Rail impedes pedestrian mobility. (Somehow I think there were other solutions).

For those not familiar, see the wikipedia article on Barnes Dance, and the famous traffic engineer Henry Barnes.

## Dangerous By Design: Most Dangerous Large Metro Areas for Pedestrians

Transportation for America has published a table: Dangerous By Design: Most Dangerous Large Metro Areas for Pedestrians

Interestingly of the 52 largest US metros, the Twin Cities was the safest for Pedestrians, with only 0.54 Deaths per 100,000 residents, despite 2.4% walking to work. Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and Jacksonville topped the list as most dangerous.

Probably not coincidentally, Minneapolis-St.Paul-Bloomington ranks 6th in the US on funds spent on federal bike/ped \$ per person (though I suspect it is skewed toward bikes compared to their number), at \$2.61.

## "Street code"

I don't know why I didn't see this earlier, World Streets proposes a Street Code

The idea is works is that legal responsibility for any accident on street, sidewalk or public space, is automatically assigned to the heavier faster vehicle. This means that the driver who hits a cyclist has to prove his innocence, as opposed to today where the cyclist must prove the driver's guilt (not always very easy to do).

I suppose there is a conflict if the heavier vehicle is not necessarily faster, or if you get the irrational (drunk) pedestrian or cyclist, but it seems a good heuristic that will give those who impose the greatest unsafety externality the incentive to yield.

Note that all vehicles are expected to yield to trains, because trains can't brake quickly (and they were there before cars in general), despite the fact that trains were heavier.

## Sidewalks of shame

As a pedestrian walking to the University of Minnesota campus, for about 11 5 months a year I have the opportunity to grumble about people not shoveling their sidewalks. I always had in mind naming and shaming those who did not. After last weekend's monster snowstorm, I again had reason to complain, but the suspects changed. Normally there are selected houses which are unoccupied or rented that are unshoveled after a snowstorm. This week those were pretty good, either neighbors took it upon themselves, or the tenants saw the need.

What was problematic was:

• The City of Minneapolis and/or Hennepin County, who again did not shovel around my favorite five-way intersection (East River Road/Franklin/27th), until bringing out the Bobcats on Friday, almost a full week after the snowfall started. This after makings all sorts of noises about caring about pedestrians, especially in discussions about reconfiguring the intersection. Bah, they only care about moving cars.
• The Minneapolis Parks Department, which was extremely slow to clear pedestrian paths along East River Road.
• The Good Samaritans (a Lutheran charity that has no relation to the real Samaritans), who made sure to shovel their parking lots, but not the sidewalks in front of their parking lots for many days later.
• A few houses near the U on East River Road, which following the behavior of the Parks Dept. failed to clear adjacent sidewalks
• I need to also complain about the snow plows that created giant mountains of snow where the sidewalk meets the road, undoing much hard fought shoveling. Fortunately the bobcats came by a few days later. Is it too much to ask for these to be simultaneous?

I recognize public agencies might have been a bit over-whelmed. On the other hand, I didn't see an offer of \$10/hour for labor to help clear public sidewalks, only to help clear football stadiums.

That said, praise be to those who did, I was out of town through Sunday, so thanks to my neighbors for clearing our public facing sidewalk by Sunday evening when I got back.

## Modeling the Minneapolis Skyway Network

| 1 Comment

Recent working paper

Adopting an agent-based approach, this paper explores the topological evolution of the Minneapolis Skyway System from a microscopic perspective. Under a decentralized decision-making mechanism, skyway segments are built by self-interested building owners. We measure the accessibility for the blocks from 1962 to 2002 using the size of office space in each block as an indicator of business opportunities. By building skyway segments, building owners desire to increase their buildings' value of accessibility, and thus potential business revenue. The skyway network in equilibrium generated from the agent model displays similarity to the actual skyway system. The network topology is evaluated by multiple centrality measures (e.g., degree centrality, closeness centrality, and betweenness centrality) and a measure of road contiguity, roadness. Sensitivity tests such parameters as distance decay parameter and construction cost per unit length of segments are performed. Our results disclose that the accessibility- based agent model can provide unique insights for the dynamics of the skyway network growth.

## Evolution of the Second-Story City: The Minneapolis Skyway System.

The following was recently published:

Corbett, Michael, Feng Xie, and David Levinson (2009) Evolution of the Second-Story City: The Minneapolis Skyway System. Environment
and Planning b
36(4) 711-724 [doi]

This paper describes and explains the growth of the Minneapolis Skyway network. Accessibility is used as a major factor in understanding that growth (i.e. does the network connect to the location(s) with the highest accessibility, followed by the second highest, and so on). First, employment opportunities are used as the measure of activity and are based off of the square footage of buildings and/or ITE trip generation rates. Using information about the buildings located downtown for each year since the first skyway was built, the accessibilities of each of the connected and adjacent unconnected blocks were calculated for every time period the skyway system expanded. The purpose is to determine how often the expansion connected the block with the highest accessibility. The results show that though important, accessibility was rarely maximized, except in the early stages of development. A connect-choice logit model relating the probability of joining the network (in a given year) to accessibility and network size was employed. The results show accessibility does remain an important factor in predicting which links are connected. Physical difficulties in making connections may have played a role, as well as the potential for adverse economic impacts.

Keywords: Network growth, Skyways, Minneapolis

## Pedestrian Crossing

Pedestrian Crossing another UK film, this time about street-crossing.

(Films got much shorter over time, films from the most recent period were less than a minute, compared with 9 minutes for some of the early films).

## The need for speed

Apparently once progressive Montgomery County Maryland is considering requiring all new roads be built or rebuilt to a 30 or 40 MPH standard.

Perhaps they should see this creepy UK ad:

It's 30 for a reason

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