Saturday, February 13, 2016

19 Year Olds with Driver License Dropped by One Third 1983-2014

U.S. driving mania clearly ended with the last century--here is a summary of a university study on driver licensing from a National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) newsletter this week: "According to by University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, more Americans are relying on public transportation for its ease, low fares and efficiency, as compared to owning and driving a car. Only 69 percent of 19-year-olds have a driver's license in 2014, compared with almost 90 percent in 1983. The percentage of 20-somethings with driver's licenses has also fallen by 13 percent over the past three decades, and fewer Americans in their 30s and 40s now have driver's licenses."

Monday, February 8, 2016

Lakeside--Sears Lane Pedestrian Rail Crossing Not Friendly

The pedestrian rail crossing between Lakeside neighborhood and Sears Lane is the main route to school and the lower are of Pine Street. Clearly unfriendly, compare to the quality crossing at the waterfront, below. Am sure there are plenty of folks who like myself can tell of the difficult, often abandoned, effort to cross the Lakeside crossing on a bicycle. Consider the difficulty faced by a person with a walker, wheelchair, or scooter traveling to and from an event at the school or to a nearby business--or friends coming to visit in the Lakeside neighborhood. The cost for a quality crossing structure like that on the waterfront is not cheap—probably in the range of $40,000 to $60,000 versus a simple what is called railseal—narrow strips of rubber tight with the rail with asphalt filler. I believe that the location, volume of users and the unusual restrictiion of access to the neighborhood calls for a high quality crossing. There exists a standard approach to dealing with evaluating and making an informed decision regarding rail crossing safety investments. It is called the “diagnostic team” procedure. Anyone can ask the VAOT rail section to convene a “diagnostic team” which includes at a minimum a City representative, VAOT official, a representative of the railroad, and other key stakeholders including a rail safety representative from the Federal Rail Administration. Funding can be found from the $1 million allocated to the State for rail crossing safety each year.