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NEW YORK, NY: HUMAN PED TRAFFIC JAMS WORSEN OVER HOLIDAYS
-> WLNY-TV, CBS New York, reports and provides video of the human traffic jams that are causing havoc on New York City streets. A year ago the Brooklyn Bridge was experiencing a 27% increase in weekend pedestrian traffic, and a 104% hike in bike traffic. The City is actively investigating the feasibility of expanding the Brooklyn Bridge walkway. Pedestrian traffic jams are happening all over the city in Midtown, TriBeca, and the Theater District too. The City expects to have a new pedestrian mobility plan in place by Thanksgiving in time for the 2019 holiday season. https://cbsloc.al/2F9a7i8

-> Streetsblog USA reports New York City's mayor and police commissioner admit failure during holiday pedestrian gridlock, however neither called for restrictions on automobiles or for seizing automobile travel lanes to widen sidewalks. They focused on the potential of vendors clogging the sidewalk. The mayor did not fully deflect attention away from the obvious solution: removing 1 of the 6 travel lanes on Sixth Avenue during the holiday season. City Hall has repeatedly refused to comment on whether the city would consider car-free zones like those instituted in London, Madrid, Paris and other cities, and the mayor has been lukewarm about congestion pricing. http://bit.ly/2FfDznw

NEW YORK, NY: 5TH STRAIGHT YEAR OF LOWER TRAFFIC DEATHS
-> Smart Cities Dive reports New York City marks its fifth straight year of declining traffic deaths. The city saw just 200 traffic fatalities in 2018, the lowest level since record keeping began in 1910. According to preliminary data, bicyclist deaths dropped from 24 in 2017 to 10 last year, while motor vehicle deaths went from 58 down to 37. However, the number of pedestrians killed in traffic increased from 106 to 111. Mayor de Blasio said that the deaths of 12 pedestrians in December were a "sober reminder that this new milestone is less a cause for celebration than a reminder that even with this year's success, we have much more to do to meet our ambitious (Vision Zero) goal." http://bit.ly/2TorG1F

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: TRAFFIC DEATHS CHALLENGE VISION ZERO GOALS
-> The San Francisco (CA) Examiner reports its city's ambitious goal to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024 slipping further out of sight. As of the end of November 2018 the number of traffic deaths on San Francisco streets for this year was at 22, 4 more than at the same time in 2017, and 2 more than at 2017's end. Traffic deaths include anyone killed in a vehicle, as well as pedestrians and cyclists killed in collisions. San Francisco aims to reach its "Vision Zero" goal through three major efforts: traffic enforcement via SFPD, education efforts to help curb dangerous behaviors, and engineering streets to be safer with changes like new bike lanes and wider sidewalks. http://bit.ly/2TolYwC

WASHINGTON POST: TOO MANY PEOPLE DIED IN DC CRASHES IN 2018
-> A Washington Post editorial states too many people died in DC traffic crashes in 2018, and we can do better. The number of 2018 traffic deaths represents more than a 13% increase over 2017 and is also up from the 28 fatalities in 2016 and the 26 fatalities in 2015. The District is not alone in seeing increases (Fairfax County, for example, also saw an uptick this year), but the numbers are troubling given Mayor Muriel E. Bowser's much-ballyhooed launch almost 4 years ago of a Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries. That the District failed to make similar reductions, and, indeed, backslid even further, is due to what critics say has been a lack of resources, energy and urgency by the Bowser administration. In October the city revamped its approach. Tougher penalties for traffic infractions took effect January 1, and the city's transportation department plans to install "No Turn on Red Light" signs at 100 intersections, create hardened left turns that add rubber curbs to prevent drivers from cutting off a corner and implement other traffic-calming strategies. https://wapo.st/2F78KS3

WASHINGTON, DC METRO ALLOWS BIKES DURING RUSH HOUR
-> Streetsblog USA reports passengers on the Washington Metro will finally be allowed to bring their bikes aboard during the morning and evening rush hours. The policy change is the result of decades of advocacy by local bike advocates. Metro had previously allowed bikes on board, but not between 7 and 10 a.m. and 4 and 7 p.m. New, more-spacious 7000 Series traincars and new funding for extended rush hour trains -- with eight cars each -- helped make the agency comfortable with the changes. http://bit.ly/2F8Xm80

SEATTLE, WA HIRES DIRECTOR OF CITYWIDE MOBILITY OPERATIONS
-> Smart Cities Dive reports Seattle, WA has appointed a retired U.S. Air Force Major General as the city's first Director of Citywide Mobility Operations Coordination. This position is the point of contact for the city's 29 departments, ensures they develop coordinated responses to mobility challenges, coordinates efforts including managing the right of way, conducts incident response, ensures the continued delivery of emergency services and makes sure the city is working closely with partners for operations and planning. The next 4 years public and private mega-projects, such as light-rail and a new convention center, will make getting into and around the city difficult. http://bit.ly/2FhI29o

SEATTLE, WA: SIDEWALK CONDITION ASSESSMENT TARGETS REPAIRS
-> An article in the Fostering Multimodal Connectivity Newsletter describes Seattle, WA's Sidewalk Condition Assessment Project to accelerate its repair program and support pedestrian access. Before the Seattle DOT performed a sidewalk assessment in 2017, it lacked condition information for 70% of its sidewalks. The project validated sidewalk data, material, dimensions, and conditions on over 34,000 city blocks. To equitably manage and prioritize sidewalk work and inspections across the city, rather than rely solely on customer requests, SDOT's Sidewalk Repair Program (http://bit.ly/2Fg9LHh) is implementing a repair and mitigation prioritization approach that considers safety, mobility impacts, cost, and high usage areas and other key locations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. After analyzing the sidewalk data, SDOT executed a three-week "shim blitz," in which crews placed 2,760 shims--thin strips of asphalt--over damaged sidewalks, and beveled vertical differences to mitigate trip hazards. They have since applied over 9,000 shims. http://bit.ly/2FhDWy5

ST. PAUL, MN: DRAFT PED PLAN
-> Next City reports St. Paul, MN is putting a renewed focus on helping people get around on foot, as the city has released a draft of the city's first-ever pedestrian plan. (Saint Paul Pedestrian Plan: An Addendum to the Saint Paul Comprehensive Plan, Preliminary Draft 11.6.18: http://bit.ly/2FglTrZ) The plan emphasizes safer street crossings and adding sidewalks where none exist, especially in areas where people already walk more. The city's plan recommends increasing funding for crosswalk improvements and sidewalk construction and developing a public-awareness campaign to encourage property owners to shovel their sidewalks after a snow. But among the top recommendations from the report are encouragements to develop some basic, equitable and transparent processes for prioritizing pedestrian improvements. http://bit.ly/2CIfpiY

UTAH ENACTS .05 PERCENT DRUNK DRIVING STANDARD
-> Streetsblog USA reports Utah enacted the most aggressive standard for drunk driving in the country, lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit to .05 percent. The National Transportation Safety Board has been urging states to lower the BAC limit -- which was .08 in every state -- for a little over a year, calling it one of its "most wanted" transportation safety improvements in 2017 and 2018 because impairment begins well below .08. For those with a BAC between .05 and .08 the risk of a fatal crash is seven times greater. http://bit.ly/2Ff7g8r

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