vision zero IRL
April 2, 2015 7:51 PM   Subscribe

Nice! I found myself having to detour through a construction zone last weekend. The flagger waved me through, but then I had to try to merge into a lane of car traffic that hadn't been slowed down at all -- with large construction machinery in the way to block their view of me. I ended up just having to stop and wait in the middle of all the cones for a gap large enough to get through.

Wish those workers had seen this -- it was a posted bike route on a beautiful day, and I had places to go!
posted by asperity at 8:09 PM on April 2, 2015

That looked like it was the county who arranged the traffic control. In my experience, traffic control is usually done by a specialty subcontractor (with the cones, labor, and certifications to manage traffic) and follows whatever rules the local DOT regional person or the county roads department require. In other words, bad traffic management is usually less an issue with the on-site workers, and more that they have been given crappy rules to follow. In either case, the best result will come from calling the DOT or roads department and complaining politely to a supervisor.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:24 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

That upside down triangle chart with peds at the top and single occupancy vehicles at the bottom is why I love Portland.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:24 AM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

It is a nice graphic but wow does it feel like the opposite just about any day of the week anywhere. The power of numbers and steel vs the vulnerable.
posted by amanda at 7:46 AM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

some quick tips from someone who actually designs and approves these on a daily basis:

Contractors are usually required to submit a traffic control plan to the agency who has jurisdiction over that roadway (city, county, state DOT). These have to conform to the MUTCD (manual of uniform traffic control devices) Work Zone Traffic Control (chapter 6, temporary traffic control) for the work they have been hired to do and permitted in the public ROW, usually for just the travelled way (no need to close the road if you are working on a area of ROW but no road on it-say that big open area between between onramps on the interstate).

This individual ( a growing number of young civil engineers are women) is usually overworked and this is something you are typically under some pressure to get out the door to not hold up construction.

The contractor is responsible for the actual implementation of the approved plan-and they don't always do a good job.

When we design a plan or handbook to give to public works crews they are typically better trained and have more time to set up the work-and are more closely supervised. Lowest bidder building giveth, and taketh.

Ok for actual tips:the signs will show you how-those traffic signs with the diagonal stripes? always stay on the side pointing down and you will be fine. Also-SLOW DOWN, on a bike, on a car, whatever. Those big orange advisory speed signs that are absurdly low for corners on most roads? well they actually mean them in work zones-it is all set up to work for reaction times and narrow lanes at that speed, going even 5 mph over can really screw up your expectations and make it very dangerous.

BTW-the bike one was really well done and bike lanes are often neglected or just encroached on with little thought during road work. I would advise that mixing with car traffic in a work zone on a bike is BAD IDEA (despite you having every right to do so).
posted by bartonlong at 10:39 AM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Any triangle in my city would start with

commercial vehicles because [City] Is Open For Business!, then
single occupancy vehicles because those drivers are (I just looked this up from the city website) 85% of constituents, then
pedestrians because the nice weather invites walking,
high occupancy vehicles because at least the heathens aren't in a bicycle,
public transit because the bus system is so small that it's happy with table scraps,
taxis because apparently they exist here though no one's spotted one in years, and lastly
bicycles because jesus look at those idiots don't they know we're in a hurry and who do they think they are riding on the road that my taxes pay for
posted by Monochrome at 11:32 AM on April 3, 2015

I think the triangle is interesting. Everything on it is labeled as a vehicle, except "pedestrians." A pedestrian is a person traveling by foot. (Usually. I would assume a person in a wheelchair is also counted as a pedestrian?) I guess we could rename the pedestrian category "shoes."

What would happen if we started thinking about everyone in every category as people in or on vehicles? There could be value in that.
posted by aniola at 12:55 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Catching up on my favorite Something Awful thread, I just saw what looks like an example of extremely poor accommodation for people on bikes during construction.

posted by asperity at 1:01 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ok, looks like it wasn't as awful on the part of the workers as all that. I should probably read the whole thing before posting?
posted by asperity at 1:03 PM on April 3, 2015

Good point, aniola! Streetsblog pointed this out:
How Smart Language Helped End Seattle’s Paralyzing Bikelash
Instead of “cyclists,” people biking.
posted by Monochrome at 1:05 PM on April 3, 2015

I also <3 that everyone in this thread is distinguishing between car traffic and other varieties of traffic where appropriate. Stepping away from automobile normativity for the win!
posted by aniola at 1:08 PM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh! So, I do have an example of construction on my city's largest MUP that isn't all negativity. They're detouring the MUP around some work they're doing for the next few months (boo) but they've paved a temporary asphalt arc around the worksite (yay) so there's no need to take a different route. And they've got a flagger just for the MUP! I gotta think it's better work than flagging for cars.
posted by asperity at 1:36 PM on April 3, 2015

A missive from everywhere else: I rode down a construction-crafted bike lane I couldn't believe just two weeks ago. They are doing this endless beshitted process on my bike route and I thought this was the one day in fifty one had to worry about construction vehicles on the trail. There were a lot of workers on this section and one of them popped his head up and urged me to go between the cones.

Dang, I would have just ridden through it like it was just more morning mayhem but I realized they'd cut out a whole lane, thrown together a couple of transition ramps and butressed the ends with two collision absorption vehicles. This was like half of a pretty busy street; I thought I was in bike heaven and then realized that not only that but that meant they were likely unfucking this section of roadway (== roots, natch).

So nice.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 9:03 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

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