On January 5th (scroll to the bottom) the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC), which has toll setting authority in the state, will take action on the proposed toll rates for SR-520. I would encourage our readers, and especially those of you that use SR-520 and I-90, to submit a comment to the WSTC (firstname.lastname@example.org), including something along the lines of, “a portion of tolls revenue must be used to improve transit service.” (more)
ALSO AT SEATTLE TRANSIT BLOG:
Last week Grist had a great article about “safety in numbers” for cyclists. Research within the US and around the world has shown that as bicycling rates go up, the total number of crashes stays flat, resulting in a significant decrease in bicycle crashes per trip. While this might initially sound counterintuitive, the premise is pretty simple. The more cyclists a city has, the more drivers expect cyclists, and drive accordingly. Similarly, as bicycling rates increase, drivers are more likely to be cyclists themselves, causing further behavioral changes that improve the safety of bicycles.
The phenomenon, dubbed “safety in numbers,” was first identified in 2003, in an academic paper by public health researcher Peter Jacobsen [PDF]. After being asked by officials in Pasadena, Calif., if their city “was a dangerous place to bicycle,” Jacobsen began looking at crash data from various communities where bicycle ridership had fluctuated over time…. (more)
For me this brings up two points about bicyclist safety from a public health perspective that almost always get glossed over. First, helmets are a distraction when it comes to the overall safety of bicycling in a city.
Over the last few weeks the bicycle community has been frustrated by the “road diet” discussion. The thought is, road diets are implicitly good, so why aren’t more people supportive of them? Why aren’t opponents of plans swayed by the fact that streets that undergo road diets have been shown to have enough capacity? And why don’t opponents seem to care about the safety of pedestrians, cyclist and motorist alike?
Seattle Likes Bikes, Publicola, Seattle Bike Blog, and the SDOT blog have all weighed in, mostly in response to the now infamous article by Nicole Brodeur of the Seattle Times, although the discussion certainly applies to every project that aims to improve safety.