Friday, May 6, 2016

City Council, May 9th - Traffic Safety Week

Council meets on Monday and the Mayor has a proclamation:
WHEREAS, the protection of Salem pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists is fundamentally important to the safety of our community; and,

WHEREAS, Motorists and bicyclists are required by Oregon law to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing streets in marked and unmarked crosswalks, and are reminded when at a crosswalk, they must stop for pedestrians, and wait until the pedestrian clears the lane in which the vehicle is traveling or turning, plus the next lane, before proceeding; and,
But will our hydraulic
autoism and engineering
catch up to our words?
WHEREAS, Pedestrians are encouraged to be crosswalk smart-cross at designated crosswalks or intersections; stop and look left, right and left again before crossing; and watch for traffic as they cross the street; and,

WHEREAS, Motorists and bicyclists are required to share the roadway with one another and pedestrians, and utilize their vehicle turn signals or signal with their hands, to indicate their intentions as they drive and ride through the streets of our community; and are urged to stop and scan left, right, and left again for pedestrians before exiting driveways and alleys; and,
Be a traffic cone: "Wear bright and reflective clothing"
(via @rightlegpegged)
WHEREAS, Pedestrians and bicyclists are recommended to wear bright and reflective clothing or bracelets, carry a flashlight or other lighting devices to increase their visibility at night; and,

WHEREAS, Bicyclists and skateboarders under the age of 16 years are reminded Oregon law requires the use of safety helmets in any public street and sidewalk; and,

WHEREAS, Motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists are reminded to stay alert, and avoid distractions from cell phones or other mobile devices, and keep their eyes and ears on traffic.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Anna Peterson, Mayor of the City of Salem, do hereby proclaim the second week of May, 2016.


I ask all community members to join me in recognizing the importance of pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist safety. I urge community members to discuss traffic safety because increasing awareness is positive prevention toward keeping our community safe.
So it's great that there's this proclamation, it's not nothing, but "asking" and "urging" and "reminding" only go so far. The equality of "Salem pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists" sounds very democratic, but it's a false equivalence and misses asymmetry in speed, power, and lethality. Bright clothing in and of itself is not dumb, but our autoism that increasingly shames those who don't use it and thereby seeks to make it compulsory is victim-blamey and dumb. We have more than just a few bad actors; we have system problems.

For comparison, contrast the proclamation's tone with this from 1921, which does recognize the asymmetry:
It is conceded on all hands that a motor vehicle is a dangerous instrumentality, and that its operation upon a public highway must be attended with great caution and prudence, especially with reference to pedestrians, as a collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian would not endanger the vehicle but in all probability be destructive of the life or limbs of the pedestrian.
A proclamation is fine enough as "Encouragement," but it could also could be an announcement about new initiatives in "Engineering," "Enforcement," "Education," and "Evaluation." There's no funding here; it's all about good will.

You may see this as a half-full moment, but from here it looks more half-empty. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

For more see:
Also on the agenda there's some housing, rental assistance, and HUD stuff, and maybe over at CANDO, where they have been following housing and homelessness, they'll have more comment on that part.

Other than that, there's not a whole lot. In the administrative purchases is the annual renewal of the "red light enforcement program" with Redflix Traffic Systems for $175,000. There's also a bunch of engineering, design, and project management contracts for roads and bridges with "not to exceed" limits.

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

CANDO indeed has comment. It is here in this blog post and reproduced with staff reply and comment in these agenda additions.

Also in the additions is a motion to "reschedule Council's June 13th regular meeting to June 6th, and schedule a public hearing for June 8th regarding the future police facility." This will "allow Council to direct staff to prepare a ballot title for consideration for the June 27 Council meeting."

That sure makes it sound like there is a pre-determined conclusion for the ballot measure and scope, and that the "hearing" is theater only.