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Government at all levels must routinely evaluate compliance with the other 5 Es. This includes the state of laws (Equality), the adequacy of minimum Engineering standards and compliance with best practices, the equitability and effectiveness of Enforcement, the reach and effectiveness of Education, and the effectiveness of Encouragement measures.  Evaluations must use modern tools (such as video of counts/behavior, improved reporting forms for crashes, etc.) and sound methodologies to measure bicyclists’ numbers/mode-share, behaviors, crashes, citations, miles/proportions of road and bikeway facilities designed to best practices, and miles/proportion at minimum standards. I Am Traffic encourages government partnering with experts in advocacy and academia to produce sound high quality evaluation programs.

Supportive federal policy guidance:

  • Setting mode share targets for walking and bicycling and tracking them over time [see evaluation for more on data collection]: A byproduct of improved data collection is that communities can establish targets for increasing the percentage of trips made by walking and bicycling.
  • Collecting data on walking and biking trips: The best way to improve transportation networks for any mode is to collect and analyze trip data to optimize investments. Walking and bicycling trip data for many communities are lacking. This data gap can be overcome by establishing routine collection of nonmotorized trip information. Communities that routinely collect walking and bicycling data are able to track trends and prioritize investments to ensure the success of new facilities. These data are also valuable in linking walking and bicycling with transit.

Posts in the Evaluation Category

The 6-Way, Washington, DC

Posted by on Jan 6, 2013 in Evaluation | 4 comments

The 6-Way, Washington, DC

Washington, DC, USA is a planned city, with a north-south and east-west street grid, overlaid with a number of diagonal avenues. These add to connectivity and offer vistas of important landmarks. In the horse-and-buggy era, when the street plan was laid out, there was little concern for any resulting complication in traffic movements. New Hampshire Avenue is one of the diagonal avenues, and its intersection with 16th Street and U Street is, as you might surmise, a 6-way intersection. The image below, from Google Maps, gives an overhead view of the intersection. U street (east-west) and 16th Street (north-south) are both major arterial streets. New Hampshire Avenue runs between northeast and southwest, and is less heavily traveled. Decades ago, New Hampshire Avenue was made one-way away from the intersection for one block in both directions. That way, there would be no need for traffic on 16th Street or U Street to wait for entering traffic from New Hampshire Avenue. The interruption at 16th Street and U street improved cycling conditions along much of New Hampshire Avenue, diverting through motor traffic to other streets. Cyclists liked to ride New Hampshire Avenue. They rode the last block before the intersection opposite the one-way signs, or on the sidewalk, and crossed the intersection in the pedestrian crosswalks. The intersection was reconfigured in 2010 with “bike boxes”—bicycle waiting areas, ahead of where motorists wait. In other writings, I’ve given details about “bike boxes”. Special traffic signals and contraflow bike lanes also were installed, in an attempt to regularize and legalize bicycle travel through the intersection. The illustration below is from a sign which the Washington, DC Department of Transportation posted at the intersection. The sign describes how the intersection is intended to work. You may click on the image to enlarge it so you can read the instructions. The bike boxes at this intersection are a variation on the “cross-street bike box” — as I have called it, or the “two-stage turn waiting area” as it is sometimes called. It facilitates a “box turn” — a left turn in two steps: going straight ahead, stopping a the far right corner — then turning the bicycle to the left and proceeding when the traffic signal changes. The two-step left-turn usually involves more delay than a left turn from the normal roadway position, but it doesn’t inherently violate any of the principles of traffic movement. Timid or inexperienced cyclists may prefer a two-step left turn. It can work for any cyclist at an intersection where normal left-turn movements are prohibited, or if an opportunity to merge does not arise. When I first saw the plans for this intersection, I regarded them positively. I even wrote about this and published my comments. As I already said, a cross-street bike box violates none of the fundamental rules of traffic flow. But , there is a saying: “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.” – Yogi Berra or Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut or maybe Albert Einstein If I couldn’t laugh, I think I’d weep. So, what’s the problem here? In an ordinary four-way intersection, a cyclist can execute a two-step left turn using the same traffic-signal phases as other traffic. The cyclist will get a green light for...

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