Friday, October 14, 2005

Lower Bucks County - Bicyclists Pedestrians Be Damned

Lower Bucks County and its Incomplete Streets

Perhaps the Location with the most pedestrian and bicyclists and the least accommodating roads are in . Nowhere in the region is the mismatch between pedestrian volume and horrid highway conditions more evident than in the communities of Lower Bucks County in Bristol Bensalem and Falls Township. Ask any driver in Bensalem if they ever had a close call with a pedestrian walking in the road?

Kudos by the way to Bucks County Courier Times who continue to focus on this very issue. In 2004 they wrote an article about pedestrian safety on major roads such as Route 13, the deadliest highway in SE PA. Perhaps the most disturbing statement in the article "In (former District 6-0 Director Andrew) Warren's words, the agency works "curb to curb" focusing on vehicles, not pedestrians."

In another recent article it appears that even some elected officials are down on sidewalks

Bensalem Councilman Joseph Pilieri and Upper Southampton Supervisors Chairman Walter C. Stevens both said pedestrian deaths don't occur because of a lack of sidewalks.

"There's no relation between sidewalk accessibility and pedestrian deaths," said Stevens, who was a police officer for 31 years"

UM then how do you explain this study;

Synthesis of Safety Research - Pedestrians
August 1991 Pub. no. FHWA-SA-91-034 page 83

A 1983 study by Tobey et. al. [1] investigated the safety effects of sidewalks. Sites with no sidewalks or pathways were the most hazardous for pedestrians, with pedestrian hazard scores of +2.6 and a PxV exposure score (i.e. exposure measure includes pedestrian volumes times traffic volume) of +2.2. This indicates that accidents at sites without sidewalks are more than twice as likely to occur than expected. Sites with sidewalks on one side of the road had a pedestrian volume and PxV hazard scores of +1.2 and +1.1, compared to scores of -1.2 and -1.2 for sites with sidewalks on bothsides of the road. Thus, sites with no sidewalks were the most hazardous to pedestrians, and least hazardous where sidewalks are present on both sides of the road.

1) H.N. Tobey, E.M. Shunamen, and R. L. Knoblauch, Pedestrian Trip Making Character

Then there is route 413, the project description and sounds like they were doing the right thing improving the streetscape. Pedestrian and Bicycle accommodations were to be included in this new road.

Well no bike lanes, got sidewalks among hundreds of driveways and there are 5 lanes of speeding traffic. In fact complaints and crashes appear on a regular basis and so much so that it compelled Bristol Township Police to implement a rare driver crackdown last spring.