Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 03-15-05, 09:14 AM   #1
Mayonnaise
Arschgaudi
Thread Starter
 
Mayonnaise's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Chicago (Beverly)
Bikes: Merckx Team SC, Masi (fixed), Merckx Cyclo-Cross
Posts: 833
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
1st shot in war on traffic

By Gary Washburn
Tribune staff reporter
Published March 15, 2005


City Hall will begin a quick-towing policy at accident scenes next month, the first shot in a war on traffic congestion that will end years from now when the entire city has been equipped with "smart" traffic signals to keep cars and trucks flowing smoothly, Chicago officials announced Monday.

Also in the works are such things as tickets-by-camera for drivers who illegally use bus-only lanes; the use of traffic aides in brightly colored jackets who will bike through downtown to reach accident scenes and direct traffic; and special lanes on some busy streets reserved for use by vehicles with multiple occupants during rush hour.

"At one time, the answer to traffic congestion was always to build more and more and bigger roads and expressways," Mayor Richard Daley said at a news conference. "That's out of the question in Chicago. ... [But] we can make Chicago move faster and safer by centralizing traffic control and making greater use of modern technology, as other cities have done."

But the plan will be only for city streets. Chicago-area expressways are overseen by the state.

As it is, the average Chicago-area driver wastes about 61 hours a year in traffic, part of a national problem that costs nearly $70 billion annually in time and gasoline, officials said.

Chicago officials studied what Tokyo--the city Daley called the most advanced in the world on the traffic control front--Houston, Los Angeles and Atlanta have done to ease congestion and devised a local plan that incorporates methods used by each.

The anti-congestion effort will be the responsibility of a new Traffic Management Authority that will be part of the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications. Employees from various departments, which until now have dealt with different aspects of traffic control, will staff the new authority.

Checking practices in other cities, Chicago officials concluded that "from a centralized location, we had to be able to quickly mobilize and move resources," said Ron Huberman, executive director of the emergency management and communications office. "We needed to track multiple events simultaneously, we needed to be able to pull information from multiple places quickly and then communicate it quickly to the public so motorists could make better decisions."

The things that are easiest to do will be done the quickest, all of them by late summer, Huberman said.

Experts say that as much as 60 percent of congestion is caused by accidents or other events that block lanes, and the first initiative will be the towing effort, he said.

City trucks currently are called only after emergency responders have reached the scene, but dispatchers in the 911 center next month will begin sending them at the same time as police and firefighters.

New software scheduled to go online in July will allow officials to track construction permit applications in relation to scheduled events that could affect traffic, allowing permit issuance to be delayed or the hours of work to be limited.

The costly and herculean task of installing "smart" signal timing, street sensors and changeable message signs to maximize efficient traffic flow is to begin in September, with a pilot project somewhere in the downtown area that will be funded by $14.9 million in federal seed money.

But Huberman could not estimate how many years it will take or how much it will cost to equip the city's 2,800 intersections. The current cost per location ranges from about $75,000 to $250,000, he said.

As the new technology is installed, green lights will be able to stay green longer for approaching Chicago Transit Authority buses, cameras will be able to catch motorists who invade bus-only lanes in the downtown area and message boards will be able to advise drivers how to avoid congestion. Also planned is real-time transmission of accident and congestion information to the electronic media for transmission to listeners and viewers.

Ald. Thomas Allen (38th), chairman of the City Council's Transportation Committee, applauded the new effort, but he called for new technology on side streets as well to improve safety. Specially equipped vans deployed in other cities use cameras to nab speeders and motorists who blow neighborhood stop signs, he said.
Mayonnaise is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-05, 09:25 AM   #2
H23
Senior Member
 
H23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Baltimore
Bikes: bianchi
Posts: 1,101
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayonnaise
....Experts say that as much as 60 percent of congestion is caused by accidents or other events that block lanes, and the first initiative will be the towing effort, he said.
I can believe that. Here in the DC area, for example, the DC beltway can handle a staggering amount of traffic at reasonably quick speeds. Sadly, a steady occurance of minor accidents predictably snarls traffic every day.

I think it is very wise to focus on quick-reponse to traffic problems before even considering to build more roads.
H23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-05, 09:36 AM   #3
lokerola
Senior Member
 
lokerola's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Alexandria VA
Bikes: Specialized Allez Comp Cro-Mo
Posts: 464
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Good old DC. I sent 8 years of my life communting around the beltway 2 hours a day 5 days a week. That's 40 hours a month, or about 480 hours a year. For 8 years, let's see, that's roughly 3840 hours, or 160 days in traffic. I want my life back!
__________________
Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don't fail me now.




lokerola is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-05, 10:47 AM   #4
galen_52657
Banned.
 
galen_52657's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Towson, MD
Bikes: 2001 Look KG 241, 1989 Specialized Stump Jumper Comp, 1986 Gatane Performanc
Posts: 4,020
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by lokerola
Good old DC. I sent 8 years of my life communting around the beltway 2 hours a day 5 days a week. That's 40 hours a month, or about 480 hours a year. For 8 years, let's see, that's roughly 3840 hours, or 160 days in traffic. I want my life back!
It's a choice. Live close to work and ride bikes/make love/eat/sleep/do other stuff more. I love my 10 minute commute!
galen_52657 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-05, 12:09 PM   #5
H23
Senior Member
 
H23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Baltimore
Bikes: bianchi
Posts: 1,101
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
It's a choice. Live close to work and ride bikes/make love/eat/sleep/do other stuff more. I love my 10 minute commute!

I agree that it is a choice to some extent. However, it still makes a lot of sense to get the most out of the existing roads before building new ones. If the impact from accidents were drastically reduced and there was more public transport options, the cagers would be less able to make a case for new highways-- like that horrible ICC in Maryland.
H23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-05, 01:58 PM   #6
PainTrain
No pain, no gain.
 
PainTrain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: California's Gold That's Amazing!
Bikes: Trek 7100, Windsor Fens
Posts: 513
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Studying Tokyo is only worthwhile to a point, imho. They are used to mass transit and don't have the sprawl of Chicago.
PainTrain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-15-05, 04:57 PM   #7
Orikal
flux capacitor
 
Orikal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Houston
Bikes: 2003 Bianchi Eros, 82 Univega (fixed), random year mtb frame for ss
Posts: 543
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The city of Houston recently started a similar plan called "Free and Clear". It's coming up for a vote soon, and a lot of people are pushing to ban the towing program and the red light cameras.


Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
It's a choice. Live close to work and ride bikes/make love/eat/sleep/do other stuff more. I love my 10 minute commute!
It's going to be a long, long time before people wake up and realize that down here.
Orikal is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:52 AM.