Earlier today, I sat down with city staff to discuss the finer points of a project. A project that is purported to improve access to a local high school, mind you. At one point, the conversation over one proposed piece went something like this:
City engineer: …the EIR [that was done when the school was built] wasn’t adequate, so now we have to go back in and add more capacity so that traffic can keep moving.
Me: Right, but right now, a lot of kids walk to school. What is proposed will be bad for pedestrians because of the wider distance to cross and multiple threats.
CE: But we have to think about the motorists and do something to improve the LOS. [Not anymore!] We can use signals to control the multiple threat situations.
Me: Okay, well then at least put in pedestrian refuge islands.
CE: Hmmm, not sure if those will fit.
Me: Well, how wide are the lanes?
CE (looks at drawings): One is 12′, one is 11′.
Me: How about we just chop say a foot off of each of those, then?
CE: But then that make things tight and slows traffic down.
CE: But then people won’t be able to get through there fast.
Me: Good! This is after all a school zone, they shouldn’t be driving fast anyway.
Is it really too much to ask that we think of the children first and the motorists second?