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Thread: Observations at Lynn St. & the Custis

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by consularrider View Post
    We've had the discussion of the count down period before. One of the problems with many of the pedestrian lights is that the white crossing light is very short (frequently no more than ten seconds) while the flashing red is from 20 to 30 seconds and most cyclists can cross four lanes of traffic in less than five to ten seconds. The two bike crossing lights further west on the Custis (Scott and Oak streets) are timed differently from those interections pedestrian lights. If memory serves, I think the bike crossing light does not turn red until the regular traffic light turns yellow and has no blinking phase.
    Yes, that's exactly it - the timing is for pedestrians.

    I think a bike light, in addition to the pedestrian one, could help. Like they have at some of the uphill crossings.

    That's a traffic flow problem at that intersection too. Since bikes can zip through from a long way to the intersection, and can see they countdown and know it, the bikes end up crossing right up to the last second of the cycle. And the safety problem comes into play when bikes push that limit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baiskeli View Post
    That's a traffic flow problem at that intersection too. Since bikes can zip through from a long way to the intersection, and can see they countdown and know it, the bikes end up crossing right up to the last second of the cycle. And the safety problem comes into play when bikes push that limit.
    It's a symptom of the car culture that it's the bikes/pedestrians pushing the limits, and not the cars trying to push through the crosswalk...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    It's a symptom of the car culture that it's the bikes/pedestrians pushing the limits, and not the cars trying to push through the crosswalk...
    I don't understand what you mean - car culture causes bike/ped behavior? Maybe we should rename it "I'm too important, get out of my way regardless of my mode of transportation" culture. Or "DC" culture, which is the same thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baiskeli View Post
    I don't understand what you mean - car culture causes bike/ped behavior? Maybe we should rename it "I'm too important, get out of my way regardless of my mode of transportation" culture. Or "DC" culture, which is the same thing.
    It means if the cars would back off and wait for the intersection/crosswalk to clear, there also wouldn't be a problem. But that seems to be an impossible solution, so you only call out the pedestrians.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    For those of you who have not read my proposed solution to this problem, I still think it is an elegant idea that does not require building a new tunnel or bridge.
    http://greatergreaterwashington.org/...-intersection/
    At some point the sensible solution is for someone to hand out crossing-guard style stop signs, wait for a crowd of pedestrians, and then just stop traffic and cross whenever they want to. If the county doesn't like it, they can post some police officers there. Either way, the problem is solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    It means if the cars would back off and wait for the intersection/crosswalk to clear, there also wouldn't be a problem. But that seems to be an impossible solution, so you only call out the pedestrians.
    Sure, but why should we expect them to wait for others to run a red light while they have a green? It's their turn to go, after waiting through a red. I don't see many cyclists or pedestrians patiently waiting for the cars to clear out of the intersection before crossing either. I get mad when they're blocking my way when I get the green.

    Of course cars shouldn't endanger anyone, but you can't call cars the problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    For those of you who have not read my proposed solution to this problem, I still think it is an elegant idea that does not require building a new tunnel or bridge.
    http://greatergreaterwashington.org/...-intersection/
    Thanks, hadn't seen that. It's similar to my idea. The real problem is bikes coming parallel and to the right of turning cars that don't see them or don't look for them. This would make them cross at a right angle instead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baiskeli View Post
    Sure, but why should we expect them to wait for others to run a red light while they have a green? It's their turn to go, after waiting through a red. I don't see many cyclists or pedestrians patiently waiting for the cars to clear out of the intersection before crossing either. I get mad when they're blocking my way when I get the green.
    If the crosswalk light is still blinking, the pedestrians still have the right of way, even if new users aren't supposed to be entering the crosswalk. You language about "their turn" is symptomatic: it isn't "their turn" until the crosswalk is clear. We expect them to wait for others because doing so is a matter of public safety. If it was a little old lady with a walker would it be ok to run her down because she's taking too long? No, the driver needs to suck it up and wait until the crosswalk is clear, whether they want to or not. Or blame the pedestrians because, car culture.

    And of course cars aren't the problem, dangerous drivers are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    If the crosswalk light is still blinking, the pedestrians still have the right of way, even if new users aren't supposed to be entering the crosswalk. You language about "their turn" is symptomatic: it isn't "their turn" until the crosswalk is clear.
    No, my language is simply based on not understanding what you're talking about.

    Of course it's still the pedestrians' right-of-way when the crosswalk light is still blinking (and the opposing light is red). Nobody disputes that. Are you saying that some cars routinely run the red light? Obviously that's their fault.

    We're discussing pedestrians and cyclists who enter the crossing without enough time to get through it before the crosswalk light stops blinking.

    Now, obviously again, they still have the right-of-way and cars must wait even with a green. But that doesn't mean they are justified in doing so (I sure don't like it when a car blocks my path because it entered the intersection without enough room to clear it, i.e., blocking the box). And it also not it doesn't mean it's safe, especially when you have a complex situation with bad visibility and cars turning right (including right on red).

    It's not "car culture" to expect people to try not to be in the way or create an unsafe situation when they do NOT have the right-of-way, by holding off on entering the intersection when there's not much time to cross. Just the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baiskeli View Post
    We're discussing pedestrians and cyclists who enter the crossing without enough time to get through it before the crosswalk light stops blinking.
    No, we're not. baiskeli, I'm pretty sure you've made this mistake before. The conflict occurs because cars have the green to turn right at the same time that pedestrians/cyclists on the Custis trail have the white walking person and the blinking red.

    As the original post on this thread stated, it's not the peds or cyclists who are behaving badly here. It's the drivers refusing to respect the right of way of peds and cyclists legally in the crosswalk.

    Finally, I have not seen a definitive argument for why blinking red means "don't walk". The language of the Code is circular (if it means don't walk, then it means don't walk), and other jurisdictions have varying definitions of the illegality of starting to cross in the blink. I believe the legislative history is silent on the issue. It's not a settled issue.

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