Tag Archive: speed

Let’s Talk About Lane Width

Cathy Tuttle
September 26, 2015
jointly published on The Urbanist
Crosswalk wet pavement

Lane width helps to control speed on urban streets.

People driving tend to slow when streets are narrow.

Urban Streets

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) recommends a default of 10-foot lanes.

“Lane widths of 10 feet are appropriate in urban areas and have a positive impact on a street’s safety without impacting traffic operations. For designated truck or transit routes, one travel lane of 11 feet may be used in each direction. In select cases, narrower travel lanes (9–9.5 feet) can be effective as through lanes in conjunction with a turn lane.”


Seattle’s current standard is 11-foot lanes
and 12-foot bus-only lanes. Many of our streets were laid out in a time when wider was always better — and ended up with dangerously wide lanes, dangerous because wide lanes encourage people to drive fast, and when cars go faster, collisions do more harm. Narrower lanes in urban areas are shown to result in less aggressive driving, and give drivers more ability to slow or stop their vehicles over a short distance to avoid collision.

Lane Widths and vehicle sizesWhile tooling along city streets, unless you are a transportation engineer, you aren’t aware of street width.

You aren’t thinking, “Hey, I’m in a 14-foot lane. And now I’m in a nine-foot lane. And now I’m in a 10-foot lane.” (Note, transportation engineers really do think like this.)

Instead, you, the average mortal, just thinks (if you are driving a car), “I can go fast here. Whoa! This street is narrow, I’d better slow down. And now I can speed up a bit again.”

Seattle’s standard width for parked car lanes is eight feet wide, while adding a bike lane that avoids the “door zone” (the distance a car driver can accidentally fling open a door into the path of an oncoming person on a bike) requires a a 14-foot lane (parked car plus bike lane).

With our elbows akimbo, we’re about two and a half feet riding a bike, taking up about as much space as people in wheelchairs. Both protected bike lanes and sidewalks require a minimum of six feet of street right-of-way to accommodate people riding and rolling respectively.

20 is Plenty fatalities graphic

“It’s surprising to see how a difference of 20 miles reverses the survival rates of people hit by moving vehicles.”   Seattle Department of Transportation 2015

Highways

Highways are a different case entirely when it comes to lane width.

You may have read the lane width on the Aurora Bridge was a factor in the recent collision fatality between a Duck amphibious vehicle and charter bus. It is up to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to determine causes, but Federal standards for highways recommend 12-foot lanes, in addition to shoulders wide enough for emergency parking and median barriers. Most lanes along I-5  are 12 feet wide. The Aurora Bridge lanes are 9.5 feet wide. Read the rest of this entry »

Safety Over Speeding: Rainier Day of Action May 20

STEP UP & SPEAK OUT FOR SAFETY!

  • What: Join the Day of Action! An event to raise awareness and build support for a safer Rainier Ave S. Join a crosswalk action, help collect petition signatures, post flyers, take portraits of supporters, or sign a Get Well Soon Rainier Ave card. However you want to be involved, we could use your help!
  • When: Wednesday May 20th from 5:30-7:30 PM (5:30-6:30 main event)
  • Where: Columbia City at S Edmunds St & Rainier Ave S.
  • Why: With 1,243 crashes in the past three years, Rainier Avenue South is the most dangerous street in Seattle. Every crash impacts our community – from cars careening into our businesses to our children being run down by drivers who never even stop. We say enough! Rainier Ave S should be made safe for all people to walk, bike, drive, catch the bus, shop, and live.

Can make it to the event? Sign the Rainier Valley Greenways petition to support SAFETY OVER SPEEDING!

day of action half sheet

Leo Almanzor Memorial Walk 1-17-15 2 P.M.

For Immediate Release
Phyllis Porter Phyllis@Seattlegreenways.org  (253) 545-8567
Leo Almanzor Memorial Walk Saturday, January 17, 2015 2 P.M. at 5th & Pike

A community was devastated by a horrific collision around 9:30 P.M. on November 22, 2014 as Leo Almanzor attempted to cross the intersection of Pike Street and 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle and was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver.  Mr. Almanzor, 68, had taken the bus from his home in Columbia City and was walking to his job at Washington Athletic Club, where he had worked as a janitor for 17 years.

Leo Almanzor 2014

Leo Almanzor was killed in a hit-and-run collision on 11-22-14

The Seattle Times reported many witnesses saw a speeding car hit Mr. Almanzor on that fateful Saturday night. Seattle Police are still investigating the crash and have recovered the car but made no arrests.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, in cooperation with family and friends of Leo Almanzor, invites the community to participate in a Memorial Walk in his memory.

Mr. Almanzor’s family will join traffic safety advocates at 5th and Pike, along with City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, Austin Miller from Mayor Ed Murray’s office and Scott Kubly, Director of Seattle Department of Transportation.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has committed to organizing Memorials whenever a person is killed walking or biking in Seattle, followed by a community Solutions Meeting with City representatives who have the power to make our streets safer and prevent future deaths.

The Memorial Walk for Leo Almanzor will begin at 2 P.M. on Saturday, January 17, with a gathering at the corner of Pike Street and 5th Avenue.  We will carry signs and hear a few words from people who knew and loved for Leo as well as City officials.

After the Memorial Walk, we will walk or bus to the Impact HUB at 220 2nd Avenue South at the corner of S. Washington and 2nd Avenue South for a Solutions Meeting.  Community members and representatives from the Seattle Department of Transportation will discuss ways to improve traffic safety for people who live and work in downtown Seattle.

“Leo” immigrated to Seattle from the Philippines in 1979. He was very involved with raising his nieces and nephews.  Leo’s family recalled his love for horse races at Emerald Downs and said he often quoted the announcer’s phrase, “There they go”! He loved music and requested the same present every year, “a CD, a new Walkman, and headphones” and thought cassette tapes made the most authentic sound. Read the rest of this entry »