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aluminumpork19 karma

Chuck, I recently found Strong Towns through the Not Just Bikes video series and subsequently listened to both your books. As a normal, everyday citizen, I've only ever directed my ire at speeders, not street design. My mind has been blown.

I'm looking to start a local conversation around several overbuilt avenues in my neighborhood in Duluth, Minnesota. One avenue in particular is as wide as a single direction of I-35 (~47ft), effectively splitting the neighborhood into two and encouraging 40+ mph speeds.

I have two questions:

  • Is there a good way to acquire generalized accident data by street or intersection? I just want a little historical context as I talk to neighbors. I called our local PD, who told me to contact the state. I found that the state has the MnCMAT2 database, but it is only available to traffic safety professionals. Why is this type of data behind locked doors?
  • Are you aware of any North American cities that receive a lot of snow and have implemented some innovative traffic calming strategies? When I talk to friends and family about narrowing roads or installing safer types of crosswalks, questions typically include "But where will the snow go?" and "That will never survive plowing.". For instance, Duluth has essentially zero speed bumps, presumably because of plow damage. Being able to point to successful installations in other cold weather climates would be very helpful.

Thanks for doing the AMA!

aluminumpork2 karma

Thanks for awesome response! In regard to traffic calming measures, I'm also not in love with speed bumps. I was thinking more along the lines of raised crosswalks/intersections and curb/corner extensions. The links to Ottawa and Toronto are great!

Another question was about the "funneling" that other countries use to slow traffic as you transition from a road to a street. We have one particular entry to our neighborhood that is a wide, downhill road. The road abruptly changes to a traditional block based street environment. Cars routinely come down the hill at 45+ mph and enter the street at this speed. Neighbors must have complained, because the city put a speed sign a few hundred feet from the transition. It's usually off (solar panel covered with snow) or ignored. Here's a Google Maps link of the intersection and transition for context: https://www.google.com/maps/place/46%C2%B050'25.2%22N+92%C2%B002'13.6%22W/@46.8403309,-92.0376612,188m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x0:0x2d4dc0c569dd2d38!7e2!8m2!3d46.8403305!4d-92.0371137

Are there practical reasons that engineers avoid this funneling effect? I remember Chuck mentioning in a podcast or somewhere in the books that funneling the road is something unlikely to work in the US. It seems common sense that as drivers begin to encounter this transition, they would slow. Adding trees, plants or other complexity as this happens would also trigger a speed change.