Urbanism and transportation

There was a move back to the car, but that quickly got wiped out once shale oil and fracking kicked into high gear and the price of gas dropped down again.

Yeah. The political side is tough to overcome. People don’t perceive cars and trucks as heavily subsidized, yet somehow want transit to ‘pay for itself’. It is a tough issue. Slow roll-out would be almost a requirement, which might reduce the effectiveness too. But would be a start.

Washington State recently enacted a climate tax on gas and stupid voters and the initiative process are threatening to undo it. And Washington is about as blue and environmentally conscious as states get.

I still laugh though at the fact there’s no yearly inspection with an emissions test.

The fact I had one at the point I left Texas is even funnier.

Nice! Awesome example in the story here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2024/02/05/washington-gas-prices-cap-trade/

The funding is paying for road and bridge projects, salmon habitat restoration, electrification of ports, and projects on Native American tribal lands to help adapt to rising sea levels, among other things. Washington allocates more than a third of its revenue to communities overburdened by pollution, officials say, places where people are sicker and die younger on average.

“The environmental justice provisions of the act are really, really, really important,” said Watson, the director of the Ecology Department.

Sounds horrible.

We had one for decades. But it got phased out about 7-8 years ago because we got to the point when the vast majority of vehicles on the road were made after the strict emissions standards for vehicle manufacturer went into effect, and it wasn’t necessary anymore. But maybe they do need to bring it back because of the rolling coal idiots.

“If you’re not killed — squished like a bug — you can bike across town in 10 minutes,”

If there are no other vehicles, and you break all the traffic laws, you can bike across town in 10 minutes. Of course, if there are no other vehicles, and you break all the traffic laws, you can drive across down in 90 seconds.

I don’t know. I live 7 miles from work. My commute by car is 10 minutes with no traffic on the freeway. With traffic in the afternoon, it can take up to 30 minutes. My commute by e-bike–following all traffic laws–on surface streets is 20 minutes regardless of traffic, mostly because I can bypass traffic jams in the bike lane and use bike-only throughways.

That article and the one it links about cycling deaths is pretty interesting. Check out this chart:

Seven of those e-bike deaths in 2023 were solo bike accidents–that is there was no other vehicle involved. That has to be due to speed and the fact that traditional bicycle safety gear, particularly helmets, are not designed for e-bike speeds, and that e-bikes are heavier and harder to control than traditional cycles. I wear an XNito helmet that is rated according to the Dutch NTA-8776 e-bike standard for 40kph speeds. Additionally, 11 e-bike deaths were caused by collisions with trucks mostly when the cycle was passing the truck on the right while it was making a right turn (further validating my conjecture that right turns on green are more dangerous than right turns on red.)

I’m a traffic engineer and it’s nice to hear a different viewpoint. Generally RTOR have a reputation as less safe for pedestrians - drivers tend to focus left, and can drive into the crosswalk when approaching (we’re supposed to stop at the stop bar first). I agree though, traffic turning right on green is also sketchy as a cyclist riding on the right.

I’ve never failed to notice a pedestrian in front of me in the crosswalk, particularly since–as you point out–I stop at the cross-bar for a red light and check for cross traffic. But I have failed to notice a pedestrian getting ready to cross to my right before I make a right turn and have had to slam on my brakes. And as a pedestrian, it’s hard to be aware of potential right-turning traffic behind me as I cross. I’ve learned to be cautious with right-on-green, especially in pedestrian heavy areas, but not all drivers are and there’s no traffic mechanism that enforces right-check or even slowing before turning. At least with left turns across the crosswalk, you have that long arc and plenty of time and distance to see pedestrians in the crossing. It’s possible that we should just routinely have pedestrian-only parts of the signal cycle or particularly when someone pushes a crossing button, cars should be all-way stop during crossings.

Bicycles are a different story and passing on the right through a green light is asking for death. Most major streets in San Diego have a bike lane that crosses the intersection to the left of the right-turn lane (though I have to be very careful when I cross that turn lane), and in intersections where that doesn’t exist, I typically nudge myself over into traffic through the intersection so that I’m between, and not next to, the cars on the right.

NYC has rolled out a pedestrian “head start” at a bunch of intersections, including many in my neighborhood. It gives pedestrians the walk signal a few seconds before the light turns green, so that they’ll be further into the crosswalk and more visible when cars start trying to turn right. As a mostly-pedestrian, I think it works really well.

They’ve also introduced a pedestrian-only signal cycle at a particularly busy intersection near me. I don’t think it works well because New Yorkers aren’t trained used to it. They just cross with the green light in their direction instead of waiting for the pedestrian-only part.

Traffic is so bad where i live that it’s sometimes faster to walk the two miles from the subway to my house than it is to take the bus. (So of course, I always walk it)

It takes me 7 minutes to drive into work, whether I’m on my bike or in my car. :)