Tags : safety

26

Jan

Rhode Island Department of Transportation Proposal Slashes Bicycle and Pedestrian Project Funding Statewide  (Jan 26, 2019) The “Major Amendment to the State Transportation Improvement Plan” presented by RIDOT to the State Transportation Advisory Committee on January 24th includes 33% cut to the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) over four years. TAP is the primary source of funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects statewide. According to a press release from the RI Bicycle Coalition: “While RIDOT asserts that shortfalls from the General Assembly’s Capital Budget, delays in constructing toll infrastructure, and deteriorating bridges are the cause of the amendment, very little of the proposed change will fund bridge work. Instead, one new $28.8 million highway project in western Cranston is one of the biggest proposed changes, along with large allocations to build toll gantries ($61.6 million) and ‘Headquarters Operations’ which includes more than doubling the ‘Legal’ line item to $24.9 million.” The $27 million in proposed cuts includes eliminating the $5 million Bicycle Improvements Contingency Account funded by the 2016 Green Economy Bond. Bike Newport’s Executive Director, Bari Freeman, sits on the state’s Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) and Bicycle Mobility Plan Committee, and is a member of the statewide coalition Paths to Progress that advises the state on bicycle and pedestrian project planning and funding. “The TAC created the contingency fund in response to these statewide coalitions and in order to ensure assignment of those funds to align with the statewide Bicycle Mobility Plan priorities. Those funds are untouchable. Our state electorate resoundingly voted those funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects by 79%,” Freeman stated. “That’s not approval – that’s a mandate, and they will not be redirected to highway or any project other than those for which they were intended.” The proposed amendment eliminates, cuts or delays funding to 35 bicycle and pedestrian projects statewide, including separated bike paths, sidewalks, and critical on-road connections. On Aquidneck Island, the Melville Connector and the Mount Hope Bay Path in Portsmouth will be eliminated; the shared use path and sidewalks on East Main Road in Portsmouth and Middletown will be eliminated; and scheduled improvements to Thames Street, Spring Street, Farewell Street, Bellevue Avenue, and Marlborough Street in Newport will be delayed to 2023 and beyond. Portsmouth Town Councilor Daniela Abbott is one of many bicycle and pedestrian advocates opposed to the cuts, “East Main Road is finally getting the sidewalks and bike paths so desperately overdue for transportation safety. These cuts are not considering people’s safety, connectivity, or economy. RIDOT needs to, and will be, better informed by the people of this state who intend to walk and ride to get where we’re going.” Bike Newport and Aquidneck Island Planning Commission are planning community information and discussion meetings to take place in addition to the upcoming public meetings scheduled by RIDOT. These meeting dates will be announced next week. For more information and updates, please follow Bike Newport online at www.bikenewportri.org and @bikenewportri on social media. The post ALERT: RIDOT Proposal Slashes Bike Funding appeared first on Bike Newport.

27

Jan

(above graphic: www.looksavealife.com)

Two pedestrians died this week in Newport – in two separate incidents – both were hit by cars while crossing in a marked crosswalk. Robert Silvia, 56, was in his wheelchair crossing Memorial Blvd. Sharon Gerlach, 58, was crossing Bellevue Avenue in front of the shop she has co-owned with her sister for 32 years. Our hearts and prayers are with their loved ones.

While total traffic deaths nationwide are decreasing, the numbers of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths are increasing. This statistic can be attributed to many factors combined – more people walking and cycling, conditions at the moment, as well as increasingly distracted behaviors by motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. We are off-season at the moment, but it is highly relevant that in Newport we experience the added complications of high-season tourism – visitors on holiday, excited, confused, distracted, and unaware of local ordinances.

Newport’s pain is felt in cities across the country – 2013 saw record-breaking numbers of pedestrian fatalities in Tucson and San Jose, while in NYC there were seven pedestrian deaths in the first 12 days of 2014.

The most important thing we can do in the wake of these tragedies is to be aware and pay attention – in our cars, on our feet, and on our bicycles. As drivers, we need to keep our eyes on the road. As cyclists and pedestrians, we must pay attention, and we MUST not assume that we are seen. We must be in the habit of making eye contact before trusting a stop sign or crosswalk to protect us.

Ultimately, we are all our own best defense. Be aware, vigilant, visible and predictable. 

Please pledge to follow, model and teach these common sense rules of the road – regardless of circumstance, mood, or condition. Review these practices with the young people in your life. In this way, we can prevent more tragedies.

Motorists:

Expect and respect cyclists on the road.
Leave plenty of room when passing cyclists and pedestrians – at least three feet.
Approach crosswalks with extra caution. Expect pedestrians to use crosswalks.
Never use a cell phone or other device while driving. It can wait!
Be prepared for all driving conditions. If it’s sunny, wear sunglasses. If it’s icy, check brakes and tires. Adjust your speed to the conditions, including slowing down to the speed you need for control and visibility in ice, rain, snow, fog and sun.
Never honk at cyclists.
Be attentive and focused.
Foster a better relationship among all road users by being considerate, friendly, and polite.

Pedestrians:

Pay attention. Make eye contact.
Don’t use your cell phone while crossing the street and avoid dulling your perceptions with headphones.
Look up and make eye contact with drivers.
Do not assume that cars will stop even when you are in the crosswalk.
Enter the street only once you are certain that the car is stopping.
Foster a better relationship among all road users by being considerate, friendly, and polite.

Cyclists:

Follow the rules of the road. Always ride in the SAME direction as traffic.
Ride on the right side of the road as far to the right as practical and safe.
Do NOT ride in the door zone. Check cars as you approach them to avoid any possibility of being hit by a suddenly opening door.
Ride single file when on narrow, curvy, and busy roads.
Be as visible as possible to traffic – wear reflective gear and proper lighting in the dark.
Communicate with the drivers on the road – use hand signals.
Make eye contact whenever possible before turning or crossing in busy traffic.
Understand and obey the laws regarding stopping and yielding at stop lights and stop signs, which are, in Rhode Island, the same for cyclists as for motorists.
Wear a helmet on every ride, not just in group rides and races.
Foster a better relationship among all road users by being considerate, friendly, and polite.

Bike Newport is working with all stakeholders to make every effort to improve the safety and education of all road users. Both Deanna Casey (Board Chair) and Bari George (Executive Director) sit on the newly formed Newport Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission. Additionally, Bike Newport works closely with the Highway Safety Program of the RI Department of Transportation on the statewide Vulnerable Road User Safety Action Plan currently in progress. This statewide project uses Newport as the model and pilot for statewide recommendations.

We welcome your comments, suggestions, and participation as we work to improve both the frequency and safety of cycling – and walking – in Newport. All are invited to attend our monthly Community Meeting, which takes place from 8:00 – 9:00 am in our office at 435 Thames St. on the second Tuesday of each month.

Please also remember that we offer FREE Smart Cycling workshops to any group of 8 or more – tailored to all ages and abilities. For more information, please contact Bike Newport at (401) 619-4900; or email info@bikenewportri.org.

Look both ways before crossing. Ride safe. Ride happy. Ride!

The post Be Your Own Best Defense. appeared first on Bike Newport.