At root, we can have one or the other:
- Slow streets that are sometimes annoying, or backed up and congested, and allow multiple kinds of users. Hazards are easier to see and crashes are at slow speed and therefore minor.
- Faster, wider streets that are not congested, are more zoomy, and prioritize cars and drivers. Crashes are at higher speed, are more violent, and more catastrophic and deadly.
|On Thursday, City disparages safety counter-measures|
Most speed bumps are found on local streets [rather than collectors].The oppositional structure here is telling: The idea that residents who want a safer street might be freeloading, and need to have "skin in the game." This is probably at least partly an attempt, a little clumsy, to express the idea that the City wants neighborhood consensus on traffic calming, and does not want to put something in that then is criticized for making congestion or causing slow driving that is annoying. But it's also a patronizing expression that the engineers know best and "leave it to the experts." (See Strong Towns "Conversation with an Engineer.")
But that’s not the only reason speed bump installation projects are few and far between.
There are other criteria that must be met to pursue the project, according to Kevin Hottmann, the City of Salem traffic engineer.
First, at least 600 drivers must use the road per day. If residents can count about 60 cars during rush hour, between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., that’s a good indicator that there are at least 600 vehicles passing through on a daily basis, Hottmann said.
Also, the street would typically have a speed limit of 25 mph and one half or more of the drivers would need to be traveling at or over the speed limit.
“The issue cannot simply be one or two people speeding down the roadway every day,” said Fernandez. Most importantly, the project must be spearheaded by the community.
Neighbors may agree there is a speeding problem in the neighborhood and are often worried after accidents occur, but do not pursue the project, Fernandez said. “The community has skin in the game.”
|Engineering dogma insists|
on evaluating for through-put
on every kind of street.
(Congestion Relief Task Force Oct 2018)
|Why Staff chose not to support a full 4/3 safety conversion|
on State Street (at the Planning Commission last year)
Here on Fairway, the call for data suggests the City might be open to change. But then the question is, why do we have to tolerate so much speeding before we identify a "real" problem.
If a neighborhood road permits "one or two people speeding down the roadway every day," that is evidence the road is designed in a way that permits, perhaps even induces, the speeding. One or more people feel comfortable speeding. The fact of this speeding reduces comfort for people who might like to walk or bike, and the cycle of autoism takes over.
All this evidence for a design problem, not merely an instance of an isolated bad actor or careless teen.
It shouldn't take hundreds of speeders on a neighborhood street, even one designated as a "collector."
But until we grapple more thoroughly with the tension in the ways we call for slow streets near our homes and zoomy streets in urban areas through which we want to pass, we will struggle with achieving safe streets.