Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tokyo Transportation Continued

I continue to pick up on things about the transportation system while experiencing it. Jamie Parks mentioned the bicycle and pedestrian joint sidewalk use and so I have paid some attention to that and this picture shows the design of what we would call a crossbike in the Portland Bicycle Master Plan. Tokyo applies this in most cases and has a lot of marked use of sidewalks for bikes. What is not clear to me in this example is whether the bicycle striping is for both directions. It seems that they they are and they aren't planning for that many cyclists or if you're overtaking, you might just use the crosswalk. The markings don't seem to result in compliance and people on bicycles travel in the roadway and on these cross bike type of facilities and the don't often stay within the lines.
The crossbike has applications including when there isn't an alternate facility and at the bicycle scramble where we may want people on bicycles to travel concurrently with a bicycle scramble (southbound at N Interstate/Oregon) without the vehicles that would conflict with people on bicycles accessing the Eastbank Esplanade path.
The innovation that I would like to bring back to Portland is the countdown timer in conjunction with the Walk timer. It isn't specifically a countdown but a relative message the describes that the Walk is expiring. This might be better than a countdown because the number is representative of time as opposed to the reduction of the "percentage". I find it unique that the top indication is where the time is counting down, perhaps it is just to reduce the confusion in the original message.
The second of these pedestrian signal indication pictures shows the count down of the indication. It appears that there are 10 LEDs in the head. I am curious if their signal heads are using the times from the previous cycles and what they do about changing the cycle lengths. There are a lot of unanswered questions related to signal control I have from this trip, but alas, there wasn't enough time to meet the folks that can talk about the details and they are probably like me, too busy to learn a language because they are sweating the small stuff like signal timing.
Where the pedestrian and cyclists are supposed to be on the sidewalk together, I am assuming that they are allowed to travel in both directions in their designated spaces, but I can't be sure from the observations I have made. I wouldn't say that there are more one direction or another.

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