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I need help with advocacy

Old 12-26-12, 10:14 PM
  #1  
UnsafeAlpine
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I need help with advocacy

I have a big problem with the way streets are designed around here. I wish I could change everything but alas, I cannot. So I'll work on bits at a time.

Right now, I live near a major road and on the other side of that road is a great park and lake that I would love to take my kids too. Several times we've tried riding down the bike path (more accurately, a really wide sidewalk) to the stop light and tried to cross at the intersection. The problem, however is that once we cross the first half of the street, we get to the median and get stuck because only half of the road is controlled. The other half is heavily traveled and 50 mph. Here's a link to said intersection.

Should I visit my city council to address this concern and if so, how do I introduce it? I've never advocated for this kind of thing before and I'm not sure where to start.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 12-26-12, 10:40 PM
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Looking at the intersection in the Google Maps street view. You could take it from the POV of saying that regardless of whether someone is disabled, or able to cross without problems. The timer on the signals, would cause anyone to be stranded in the middle of the street, on the island.
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Old 12-26-12, 10:50 PM
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Looks like there's even a crosswalk there, but the motorists are ignoring it and not letting you get across.

I'd start by contacting the transportation department responsible for that intersection (either city or county) and seeing if you can find someone who is sympathetic to your concerns. If so they could help you with the most effective way to proceed. If not you could still go to your city council. I'd think one possibility would be to put in a flashing caution light at the crosswalk and activated either by pushbutton or by a sensor.
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Old 12-26-12, 10:58 PM
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That is strange. Yellow pedestrian signs , But No Stop sign or Stop light.
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Old 12-27-12, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
I have a big problem with the way streets are designed around here. I wish I could change everything but alas, I cannot. So I'll work on bits at a time.

Right now, I live near a major road and on the other side of that road is a great park and lake that I would love to take my kids too. Several times we've tried riding down the bike path (more accurately, a really wide sidewalk) to the stop light and tried to cross at the intersection. The problem, however is that once we cross the first half of the street, we get to the median and get stuck because only half of the road is controlled. The other half is heavily traveled and 50 mph. Here's a link to said intersection.

Should I visit my city council to address this concern and if so, how do I introduce it? I've never advocated for this kind of thing before and I'm not sure where to start.

Thanks for any suggestions.
A picture is worth a thousand words, videos are 24-60 pictures per second. Go film the problem, and be prepared to show them when you get to the council meeting.
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Old 12-27-12, 09:03 AM
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I need help with advocacy

I like the video idea. I think I may go to the road commission for my county instead as this road is the border of two towns.
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Old 12-27-12, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
I like the video idea. I think I may go to the road commission for my county instead as this road is the border of two towns.
Before you do that (go to the county), call both town's and the county's public works department heads, and ask who's responsible for this stretch of road. That way you may be able to save a wasted trip going to the wrong people.

Also, local newspapers and TV stations may be persuaded to take interest in the problem. It gets harder for agencies to ignore you when multiple eyes are watching.

In my email requests for improvements, I'll start with the agency I know is responsible (or the agencies I think are responsible), if they ignore me, the next email goes to several related agencies... Ignored again, and I'll ramp it up (news media, lawyers, bloggers). Some of my emails will have 20-40 recipients before the ignoring agency will get off of it's a$$ and do the right thing. Funny how when you suddenly have the Governor getting informed how his agency isn't doing anything about this offending issue that suddenly you get compliance. I always leave the email chain intact... so if I get a denial on the first one, the next round of people can see what I asked for, and what was said; e.g. one sewer's manager told me that bikes shouldn't be riding on the storm drain grates that stuck out into the busy road, several feet from the curb, with no bike lane... the replies from the bike blog were fun (he's retired now). Idiocy hates scrutiny.

Last edited by K'Tesh; 12-27-12 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 12-27-12, 04:20 PM
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I'm not sure tha the OP has a beef. That is a Michigan Left turn controlled by a stop light for each set of lanes with an island in the middle. In the view provided, there is a light for one set of lanes at the crossing and another for the other set of lanes approx 100 yards to the left.
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Old 12-27-12, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Recycle View Post
I'm not sure tha the OP has a beef. That is a Michigan Left turn controlled by a stop light for each set of lanes with an island in the middle. In the view provided, there is a light for one set of lanes at the crossing and another for the other set of lanes approx 100 yards to the left.
Yes, and the arrangement works fine for cars - not so fine for pedestrians. If you look at the satellite view you can clearly see the sidewalk going across the island and leading to a crosswalk at a point where there is no traffic light - there's no sidewalk or path for pedestrians to use to get to that traffic light down the road. So if you're waiting at the crosswalk you'll first be waiting for the through south-bound traffic to clear and then when they get a red light it'll be green for those cars who are making the U-turn at that light down the road so you're risking getting hit by them. It might be ok if the traffic signal timing has an extended 'all red' period - but even then there should be a corresponding light to let pedestrians know that it's safe to cross.

Last edited by prathmann; 12-27-12 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 12-27-12, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Recycle View Post
I'm not sure tha the OP has a beef. That is a Michigan Left turn controlled by a stop light for each set of lanes with an island in the middle. In the view provided, there is a light for one set of lanes at the crossing and another for the other set of lanes approx 100 yards to the left.
No, there's not. You're likely seeing a light pole. The southbound stretch of Williams Lake road has a stoplight about a half mile south at the intersection of M-59 and a mile north at the intersection of Maceday. Those are the only two traffic lights for over almost 2 miles for the south bound lanes.
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Old 01-02-13, 09:29 AM
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Multi-lane, high-speed roadways made uncontrolled pedestrian crosswalks unsafe. The motorist yielding compliance rates were less than 2% overall at these crosswalks.
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Old 01-02-13, 10:14 AM
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I dunno if in an area like that people have the words walk or cycle in their vocabulary. Good luck though.

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Old 01-02-13, 12:42 PM
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Wow! Thanks. That's exactly what I need to bring.
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Old 01-12-13, 07:50 PM
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I ended up sending an email to the road commission requesting a set of lights. I actually received a phone call telling me they looked into it and "drivers do not have to stop for a cyclist waiting to cross a cross walk. It is the responsibility of the pedestrian to cross when there is a reasonable break in traffic. The commission said there are gaps in traffic large enough to cross."

My guess is the road engineers didn't have kids in tow when they decided there was enough space between traffic. They also said they won't look into the matter any more. I think my next step is the park.
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Old 01-14-13, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
I ended up sending an email to the road commission requesting a set of lights. I actually received a phone call telling me they looked into it and "drivers do not have to stop for a cyclist waiting to cross a cross walk. It is the responsibility of the pedestrian to cross when there is a reasonable break in traffic. The commission said there are gaps in traffic large enough to cross."

My guess is the road engineers didn't have kids in tow when they decided there was enough space between traffic. They also said they won't look into the matter any more. I think my next step is the park.
I'm not sure about Michigan laws but that sounds wrong to me. These links might be of interest:
https://iyield4peds.org/2012/06/surpr...destrian-laws/
https://peds.org/resources/pedestrian_right_of_way/

These contacts might be helpful:
https://www.walkinginfo.org/assistance/contacts.cfm#MI
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Old 01-15-13, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
I ended up sending an email to the road commission requesting a set of lights. I actually received a phone call telling me they looked into it and "drivers do not have to stop for a cyclist waiting to cross a cross walk. It is the responsibility of the pedestrian to cross when there is a reasonable break in traffic. The commission said there are gaps in traffic large enough to cross."

My guess is the road engineers didn't have kids in tow when they decided there was enough space between traffic. They also said they won't look into the matter any more. I think my next step is the park.

In Oregon, we've recently cleared this issue up...

Clearing up confusion around Oregon's crosswalk law

Politifact checks our work on bike crossing laws
Must cars stop if a cyclist dips a wheel into a crosswalk? (YES)

Basically, If on your bike on sidewalk, all u have to do is dip wheel into road and cars must legally stop.

"For the purposes of this section, a pedestrian is crossing the roadway in a crosswalk when any part or extension of the pedestrian, including but not limited to any part of the pedestrians [sic] body, wheelchair, cane, crutch or bicycle, moves onto the roadway in a crosswalk with the intent to proceed."

Hope this helps you where you are.

Last edited by K'Tesh; 01-15-13 at 12:48 PM.
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