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Posts from the "Sean Roche" Category

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Celebrating Livable Streets on the Day of the Dead

It occurs to Sean Roche of Newton Streets & Sidewalks that Halloween is, in a funny way, "America's walking holiday," with kids, parents and just about everyone heading out for an early evening stroll, chance run-ins with friends and neighbors, and no need to pull the car out of its parking spot. Happy Halloween, indeed.

Photo: Duarte Design

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Auto Insurer Creates Traffic Mayhem With Gasoline Give-Away

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Sean Roche of Newton Streets and Sidewalks sends along a good one: 

Allstate found that that drivers in Flint and Warren, Michigan were some of the "most improved" when it came to reducing the number of car crashes. The insurance company rewarded motorists in those towns with ten free gallons of gas. What was the result of the Allstate promotion?

Total traffic chaos.

The gasoline give-away generated a line of traffic stretching two miles. Traffic was "a madhouse," according to a Detroit Free Press report. Several vehicles ran out of gas or overheated waiting in line for their ten gallons. Most ironic, police reported one "fender-bender" thanks to Allstate but "no reports of altercations beyond anger over people who tried to cut in line." Allstate gave away 6,575 gallons of gas to about 850 vehicles.

Of course, the town's improved motor vehicle safety ranking had absolutely nothing to do with the drivers themselves. The local police chief credited the safety improvement to new street designs including "dedicated left-turn lanes with green arrows and right-turn lanes that help make intersections safer. He also credited the police department’s 14-member patrol support division with strong traffic enforcement."

Photo: Mikey_Kerans/Flickr
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File Under: Only in America

Sean Roche of the Newton Streets and Sidewalks blog sends along this sad, bizarre, disturbing item:

A Tennessee dad named Larry Price set up a charity after his son suffered and survived a severe head injury in a bicycling accident. The charity, Cars for Kids, held a legal street drag race in Selmer Tennessee. During a "burnout" by a professional drag racer, a car went out of control into the crowd, killing six and injuring 18. ABC News has a report.

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A Streetsblog Reader Wins Traffic Calming Improvements

Here is a contribution from Sean Roche, a Streetsblog reader in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb just west of Boston.

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I wanted to share my own small traffic calming victory with you. The other night the City of Newton Facilities/Public Safety Committee authorized and funded a redesign of the intersection at the end of my road. In the attached picture, the view is looking westbound from Jackson Street to Daniel Street. Currently, westbound traffic barely slows, making my street a bit of a race track. The picture shows a sandbag trial of the new curb. It is clear that it will dramatically slow traffic. They are going to turn the sandbags into granite curbing in the spring building season.

A small, but important step.

I thought you would like the picture. It is incredibly satisfying to me that the city owns and deploys a sign that advertises a traffic calming trial. It speaks volumes. And, I wanted you to know that Streetsblog, despite its New York City focus, has an impact beyond. I have a much broader set of analytical tools to bring to bear to my small problem and the larger bike and pedestrian issues that I am beginning to become involved with.

Very cool. Thanks Sean. I would love to see more of these fast, cheap, ad hoc street design experiments here in New York City. Clearly, we have something to learn from Newton.