At last night’s Newport City Council meeting, the Council voted to receive the recommendations of the City Manager for angle parking on Broadway to remain “front-in”. Following here is the letter read and submitted to the Council by Bari George of Bike Newport, asking the Council to become informed as to the reasons that back-in angle parking is the method now recommended by AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) as well as bicycle and pedestrian advocates across the country. Following the letter is a list of some of the many cities where back-in diagonal parking is successfully implemented and a few informational links.
December 12, 2012
Dear City Council Members,
Thank you for taking the time to review and consider back-in angle parking as a potentially safer alternative to front-in angle parking as part of the Broadway Streetscape.
It’s understood that the prospect has been discussed and reviewed by and with experts, residents and consultants over the period of time that the Streetscape has been in the design process.
It’s also understand that back-in angle parking is now officially recommended by AASHTO and numerous regional and national agencies and advocates. We encourage the City to take the time to understand why that is the case and to consider the increasing proof that back-in angle parking both improves safety and reduces risks for all users of the roads as well as the passengers of the parked cars.
In addition to the challenges of schedule and budget, the City Manager’s recommendations to continue the plan for front-in angle parking reference three primary findings from the Louis Berger Group’s original report. I’d like to address those three points and encourage additional consideration in advance of a future opportunity to either test or implement back-in angle parking.
1) Low accident rate (2.5/yr over 9 years): Data includes only reported accidents. Accidents and near-accidents occur more frequently than those quantifiable by police or ambulance reports. We can survey residents for more complete information about car-cyclist encounters and near-hits.
2) Public acceptance: Change frequently raises concern in advance of the change. Adjusting to the change is often less traumatic than anticipated. As one example, left side of street parallel parking is a complicated change from right-side parallel parking, but it was mastered easily on Washington Square. We might consider trying out back-in parking in a less busy location. Our residents, including senior drivers, are worried, but they may find that it’s not difficult. We need to help drivers over the hurdle of change, especially when the increase in safety and decrease in risk is so significant.
3) Implementation followed by negative publicity and reversal in Brunswick, ME and Plattsburgh, NY: Dozens of other cities across the country have implemented reverse angle parking successfully. A list of cities is attached here, along with an email conversation discussing where the parking method is in use on major city streets.
The benefits of back-in parking are substantial enough to have gained widespread acceptance and favorable reviews – becoming the recommended method of parking in busy Main Street areas. We need to understand why that is so, and be prepared to consider the method as an improvement in the context of Complete Streets, Livable Communities and Safe Routes to School.
As always, many thanks for your time and consideration.
Very best regards,
Bari George, Executive Director, Bike Newport
cc: City Manager Jane Howington
Cities with Back-In Diagonal Parking
Kelowna, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia
San Francisco, California
Santa Barbara, California
Brooklyn and New York, New York
Syracuse, New York
Charlotte, North Carolina
Salt Lake City, Utah
compiled from internet search December 2012. Sources available. email@example.com
Other informative links:
Aquidneck Island has its first bike lanes, but what do those white markings mean? There are two new symbols on Memorial Blvd now and many of us are unfamiliar with them. One means the lane is for bikes only and the other means it’s a shared lane used by bikes and cars.
BIKE LANE – A narrow separate lane for bicycles only. Cyclists are protected in the bike lane, but continue to have a right to the main road and will move into the road whenever a hazard exists in the bike lane. Cars should never be in the bike lane and should cross the bike lane with extreme caution.
SHARED LANE (or SHARROW) – A lane marked for shared used by cars and bicycles. A cyclist should ride in the right side of the lane when possible, but ride the center of the lane in the vicinity of parked cars to avoid car doors, when preparing to turn left, or to prevent a car from passing too closely
And don’t forget, give cyclists plenty of room: Rhode Island state law mandates that a motorist may not pass a cyclist unless there is enough room for the cyclist to fall over sideways into the driving lane and not be hit by the vehicle. This law is written to protect cyclists from serious or fatal injury. Please be patient and courteous when sharing the road.
Bike Newport’s goal is for everyone to understand and practice safe road sharing. Please help us spread the word. Click here to read and print Bike Newport’s flyer on road sharing for cyclists and motorists. Additionally, our certified Smart Cycling instructors are available for presentations on road sharing to groups of any size anywhere on Aquidneck Island free of charge. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newport City Council voted this week to revisit Reverse Diagonal Parking in the Broadway Streetscape Plan as a method of increasing safety and reducing risk for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. What do you think? See links to articles below where you can participate in the discussion. View a short informative video here.
The recent Washington Square Community Charrette was led by Dan Burden, Exec Director of the Walkable Livable Communities Institute. He made a strong point of recommending reverse diagonal parking and cited the numerous safety benefits and reduced risk for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. He identifies reverse diagonal parking as a primary method of achieving Complete Streets. Have a look at his VIDEO and see if you agree.
BIG PROGRESS FOR BIKE NEWPORT: van Beuren Foundation funding and more
Major strides for Bike Newport – adding to steady progress in program, partnerships and participation, a series of collaborative achievements and generous financial support are increasing momentum for the young organization – and for bicycling in this scenic seaside city.
– In April, the City Council passed a resolution expressing interest in working with Bike Newport to become a certified Bicycle Friendly Community.
– Over the summer, the city’s first bicycle road marks guided up to 600 festivalgoers per day to Fort Adams.
– In September, Newport hosted statewide representatives at a three-day workshop on bicycle and pedestrian safety sponsored by RIDOT and the Federal Highway Administration.
– In October, bicycling and pedestrian issues were top tier at the Washington Square citizens charrette. And,
– as this story goes to press, RIDOT is installing bike lanes on Memorial Blvd – the first such lanes on Aquidneck Island and a model of the “Complete Streets” solutions endorsed by the City of Newport and the State of Rhode Island.
Traction on bicycling issues in Newport has been significant as Bike Newport has worked over the past 18 months to promote the benefits of bicycling and to bring together like-minded stakeholders to advance the improvement and encouragement of bicycling in Newport.
Now Bike Newport is pleased to announce its newest partner. The van Beuren Charitable Foundation has recognized Bike Newport’s successes and expressed its support of further advance with a generous grant to support the organization’s staff, operating expenses and program. Dedicated to supporting and enhancing the exceptional resources of Newport County and to making a positive impact on the lives of our residents, the Foundation has awarded an initial gift of $75,000 which will be followed by two more installations as matching grants when Bike Newport secures additional funds from other sources.
“This grant is an enormous vote of confidence for a lot of progress in a short period of time. It’s a vote of support for the collaboration of city, schools, police, business and the tourism industry that is at the heart of every success to date,” shared Bari George, founder and now Executive Director of Bike Newport.
Funding makes it possible to open an office on Bowen’s Wharf, in the heart of downtown Newport. Bike Newport is one member of the new “Change Place” nonprofit office cooperative in Seamen’s Church Institute, a program coordinated by Social Venture Partners RI. Other current members include Sustainable Aquidneck and Ocean State Fresh.
What lies ahead for cycling in Newport continues to be informed by community partners and advocates. A recent in-depth strategy session was attended by 30 local citizens and community leaders. “There’s a lot to do to accomplish bicycle friendliness. Bike Newport is all about ‘one step at a time’ and always moving forward,” explains Deanna Casey, Advocacy Director for AARP Rhode Island and Acting Board Chair for Bike Newport, “If we want to encourage people to choose cycling for transportation, they have to first feel safe and confident on the roads. That means working with the City, the Police, local businesses and the media. We can use a variety of methods to reach both cyclists and motorists through the colder months in preparation for next season.”
Bike Newport partners with numerous local agencies to ensure that all expertise is present and that all sectors are engaged. The potential for an Aquidneck Island bike path is a consistent theme island-wide and a dream shared by Bike Newport and the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission (AIPC). Tina Dolen, Executive Director of AIPC explains “The Planning Commission’s long range goal is to establish the regional Shoreline Bikeway on the West Side, and Bike Newport is a key supporter in that effort. Freshly powered, Bike Newport brings expanded capacity to model and lead advocacy and collaboration island-wide to achieve our collective goals.”
Not to be missed is the close collaboration with the City’s Community Police division. Community Police Commander Lt William Fitzgerald keeps ties strong: “We partner with Bike Newport at every opportunity to drive home the message of safe cycling and safe road sharing. With their team of cycling instructors, our team of Community Police officers, and now an office in the heart of town, we can consider new and better ways to make the situation safer for cars and cyclists.”
For more information on Bike Newport programs, services and plans, visit www.BikeNewportRI.org and stop by their new office at 18 Market Square on the second floor of the Seaman’s Church Institute. While you’re at it, bring your bicycles, or the serial numbers from your bicycles – you can now complete City bike registration at Bike Newport.
Join us this TUESDAY, 10/9, for Bike Newport’s monthly community discussion: 8-9am at Empire Tea & Coffee, 22 Broadway. Arrive at 7:30am for informal schmooze time.
Meeting discussion topic: GROUP RIDES
What kind of Group Rides interest you? Help us to determine a future calendar of rides that meets everyone’s interests.
View our current calendar of rides and other pertinent happenings HERE.
Last night (9/29/2012) a ghost bike appeared at the Memorial Blvd site of the fatal accident that claimed the life of Middletown resident Elliot Kaminitz on June 19, 2012. We don’t know who placed the memorial, but we hope it will serve both to honor Elliot and remind passing motorists to pay attention, drive carefully and share the road.
Ghost bikes have been appearing as roadside memorials all across the US and lately even more so in the northeast. The Boston Globe carried a feature story just last week. You can read more about ghost bikes here, here and elsewhere on the internet.
(Note: we’re having some difficulty with our calendar – but we should be up and running within a few days!)
THREE great local charity rides coming up – have fun and support three great causes!
1) Bike to the Beach, Friday, 8/31, Boston to Newport, about 75 miles, enter code “bikenewport50” for 50% discount, benefits Autism Speaks.
2) Star Ride, Saturday 9/15 – 7/15/30 miles, benefits Star Kids.
3) Tour de Newport, Sun 9/23, 10/25/45 miles, benefits Newport County Community Health Center
Report on the newport City Council Workshop regarding the RIDOT proposed pedestrian and bicycle improvements to Memorial Blvd, Wed August 15, 2012:
The RIDOT plan was presented to the City Council by Bob Rocchio, RIDOT Manager of Traffic Management and Highway Safety; Peter Pavao, RIDOT Traffic Engineer; and Bill Desantis, Bike/Ped Corporate Director at VHB. It was a very informative and positive discussion focusing on the placement of the dedicated bike lanes, transitions to shared lanes and presence of wide buffer zones to keep cyclists at a distance from beachgoer street parking. Questions by the Council were thoughtful and helpful. Comments and suggestions by audience members were insightful and respected.
The configuration of thru lane, shared lane and dedicated bike lane changes over the length of the boulevard. Where there is no parking, a dedicated bike lane is present. Where there is street parking, there is either one shared lane, or two lanes – one thru and one shared. The plan considers reducing speed, maintaining traffic flow and accommodating volume. Additionally, the plan addresses pedestrian crossings and vehicular left turn lanes at the major intersection with Bellevue, adding left turn signals in all directions and replacing pedestrian crossing signals with countdown timers.
In other news: In his presentation, Bob Rocchio, , commended Newport on being proactive on safety issues in the context of both municipal and state Complete Streets initiatives. He shared that RIDOT would like Newport to be a pilot city for the new statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. This is very exciting and promising news and we look forward to being part of this major step for the state in backing up the Complete Streets promise.
The progress reported here is significant, and is thanks to RIDOT, the Newport City Council, Mayor Harry Winthrop, Rep. Peter Martin, City Manager Jane Howington, Director of Public Services Bill Riccio, and the many residents who volunteer their time and talent in the best interest of cyclists and pedestrians. We extend our appreciation to all.