Monday, April 25, 2011

Bike Signal Testimony Part 2

Date:  Wednesday-April 27 
Time:  1:00 P.M. 
Room: HR D 
Public Hearing and Possible Work Session 
  SB 130    Adds green, yellow and red bicycle signals to list of traffic control devices. 
  SB 132    Removes bond requirement for for-hire carriers that offer collect on delivery service. 
  SB 147    Modifies descriptions of pilotage grounds within which certain vessels must be under direction of state-licensed pilot.

Bicycle Signals in Long Beach

I was sent this posting from Twitter and what it was lacking was design standards. The traffic signals look similar to NYC and represent a standard MUTCD approach to these new ROW allocations. The City is exploring the use of new nearside signal displays for a future traffic signal display.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Portland Traffic Day

We have been planning the return of Portland's Traffic Day for over 18 months and look forward to a great list of speakers that will inform the "Traffic Signal" staff around the region. I had a chance to meet with Gail Achterman, our first presenter last Monday over coffee to discuss her role. Gail has been the Chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission, which is a prominent position. Her leadership has presented several exciting opportunities for the our profession and really has a passion for innovation, sustainability, and leadership. 

In light of this, I am going to tweet for the meeting using the hashtag #pdxtrafficday as a part of getting the word out about what we're doing. 

The presentations also include Lynn Peterson, who was the Clackamas County Chair, but recently joined the Governor's Office as an advisor on Transportation. Lynn will highlight the importance of livability on the work that we're doing. 

We'll feature several technical sessions including one on bicycle detection, another on pedestrian advancements, and innovative strategies such as adaptive control. I am very excited about the potential for all of these to improve freight mobility, using the traffic signals to meet the various needs of the context for which we operate. Next year, we need to spend more time on freight priority and I hope to have more presentations like this one from UBC.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ITE Recommended Practice on Yellow & Red Intervals

I am reviewing the new guidance proposed by ITE tonight. It's the night job to accompany my day position at the City.
It is clear to me that the engineering profession needs to move beyond a one size fits all approach to so much of the work we do. Whether it be signal pole foundations that anticipate (erroneously) freeway sized signs would be included on a City street, vehicle delay (as level of service) to determine whether an intersection is sufficient, or assumed speeds for clearance intervals that presume that motorists will travel at 7 mph above the speed limit, and 30 mph while making a left turn (in the presence of pedestrians).

It has also occurred to me that this may be one of the aspects that is holding engineers back in the transportation profession. Our lack of context for our design standards and unwillingness to find an appropriate solution when presented with either a lack of funds or a unique challenge makes us seem like an obstacle, which in some cases may be appropriate. My message is we need to learn to pick our battles carefully and find a compromise based on the goals of the community.
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Flashing Yellow Arrows Hit the Oregonian Commute Blog

I was quoted in the "O" regarding Flashing Yellow Arrows. The quote was taken out of context (not surprising) and the commenters (the good ones) have been describing the issues we have been dealing with at the City's Signals Division (also not surprising).

It is worth a read, especially the one from SP Red Electric, although he generalizes a bit about Portland in the update post. 

Delay at Traffic Signals

A nice write up on the different philosophies of traffic signal timing in the various communities in the U.S. and the Netherlands.

Here's another blog, focused on pedestrian liberation. This sort of data is helpful in making the case for changes in the signal system that affect all traffic.