Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Walking infrastructure 101 presents here the two basic components required which enable safe, comfortable, expeditious movement in built up areas:  (1) street segments with a sidewalk on at least one side (preferably both); and (2) street connections comprised of roundabouts.
Each of these two treatments, sidewalks and roundabouts, reduce serious injuries compared to locations without these treatments up to 90%.  Or the converse: (1) where there are no sidewalks on street segments walker crash rates increase about 900%; and (2) at any other intersection type, other than a roundabout, walker injury rates typically increase by up to 900%. 
Note purely local residential streets with very light traffic may function well with traffic calming elements as well as roundabouts at intersections with minimal traffic flows.  Finally, there will be cases of sign control of local streets intersection with busier streets, but designs need to be T-intersections and cross-intersections except for roundabouts to be avoided.
Roundabouts serve practically most persons with a handicap (sidewalks accommodate virtually 100% of persons with a handicap).  However, for those persons with a severe visual handicap, in order to be able cross an intersection with a high degree of safety, requires a roundabout with one or more additional treatments:  raised crosswalks/speed tables and depending on the location, additional traffic calming devices.  “Shared space” represents one additional case—generally the safest—for intersection crossing for all users, including those with a severe visual handicap.

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