Saturday, December 7, 2019

Tunnel at North and Parrish, Cops Driving Badly, Ride-Hailing Problems - Newsbits

In the news a while ago, but online only and for a week now not in the print edition, was an interesting note about an injury in the tunnel under the railroad between Parrish and North High. It's about a lawsuit against the School District and City, and it seems indisputable that the underpass is generally neglected and poorly maintained. Whether this rises to the level of negligence a jury will have to say if it's not settled first, but it is interesting that the City apparently agreed to maintain it, and they have hardly done this. There are no other lawful crossings between Marion Street and D Street, and the tunnel serves a small but useful purpose.

RR Underpass, 1939 - closed frequently
From the piece:
The lawsuit comes more than four years after the then-11-year-old boy was instructed by his teacher during his fourth-period physical education class to go across the parking lot and through the tunnel to the high school football field so they could continue their course in football and related field activities....

At the bottom of the ramp that enters the tunnel, two steel posts were implanted in the ground along with the remnants and metal footing of a third post.

At the time, the asphalt along the ramp and in the tunnel was cracked, uneven and in disrepair, according to the lawsuit.

As the student was running down the ramp, his foot struck the raised metal piece of the third post remnant, and he fell....

When the tunnel was built, the city of Salem agreed to maintain the entire underpass and structure, including the tunnel, according to the lawsuit.

But the city failed to abide by this agreement, [the lawyer] said. They failed to provide proper lighting in the tunnel, maintain the sidewalk and surrounding area, warn those using the tunnel of possible hazards and regularly inspect the area to ensure safety
See more discussion of underpasses here. People advocate for under- and overpasses, but they are trouble to maintain and keep safe, and part of the context here is not just the question of negligence, but how we create barriers inside the city with rail and high speed roads like highways and arterials, and what ongoing resources are necessary to sustain the crossings as useful everyday. We often don't budget adequately for future maintenance obligations or consider them in the initial capital costs of infrastructure.

We have a widespread problem with speeding and driving
You might recall some cranky, mildly sputtering outrage when the Police published a video clip with instructions on how to speed without getting a ticket.

In the paper earlier this week was a claim that cops also fail themselves to observe traffic control devices and drive unsafely when not on an emergency call.

This is not a problem particular to police, but should be understood as a problem with our culture-wide commitment to autoism. We have a widespread car problem. Even the police, with all their training, have difficulty using them safely and prudently.

At the same time, it is reasonable to hold cops to a higher standard, and we should be especially upset when they drive unsafely or carelessly.

And there is more news that our ride-hailing schemes might be bad or underregulated. One commenter addressed a lack of rate comparison and suggested ride-hailing is ten times more dangerous than public transit in New York City.

A comparison of assault rates, which was missing in the piece

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