CDC Recognizes Our Traffic Calming Demonstrations
Trailnet’s Traffic Calming Demonstrations Now Part of National CDC Online Library
Trailnet’s Traffic Calming Demonstrations Now Part of National CDC Online Library
In the fall of 2015, the Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association collaborated with Trailnet, the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Partnership, the City of St. Louis, the Missouri Public Health Association, and community residents to tackle the concern of traffic-related deaths by hosting four pop-up traffic calming demonstrations within the City of St. Louis through the Plan4Health program.
Plan4Health connects communities across the country, funding work at the intersection of planning and public health. Anchored by the American Planning Association (APA) and the American Public Health Association (APHA), Plan4Health supports creative partnerships to build sustainable, cross-sector coalitions.
The successful demonstrations implemented by Trailnet showcased proven methods of slowing traffic and increasing safety with traffic calming designs. The demonstrations were used to educate community members, elected officials, and city staff on how we can work together to create safer, more vibrant, and healthier communities. These educational events have the potential to influence policy change for better street design.
Further, the demonstrations help visualize safer streets, which can lead to healthier communities and encourage active lifestyles. They are also an opportunity for the community to come together and start a dialogue on how we can work together to improve our street designs.
Through the positive conversations spurred by the pop-up traffic calming demonstration, Trailnet worked with BJC School Outreach and Youth Development to plan permanent street design changes by Woodward Elementary School with the City of St. Louis. The location was chosen to increase visibility and safety of the children and families crossing the street to travel to and from school on foot. The changes included an updated crosswalk, curb ramps, a bump out, and stop lines to enhance the crosswalk by the school. The improvements were funded by the Missouri Foundation For Health’s Healthy Schools Healthy Communities program.
Trailnet celebrated the permanent changes at a ribbon-cutting event hosted by the BJC School Outreach and Youth Development staff. The pop-up traffic calming demonstrations led to positive change within the community in under one year! This achievement would not have happened without the support of all those that have been involved with the project. Trailnet is excited to continue to promote safer street designs by using pop-up traffic calming demonstrations.
To learn more about the program please contact Trailnet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In fall of 2015, the Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association collaborated with Trailnet, the HEAL Partnership, the City of St. Louis, and community residents to host four pop-up traffic calming demonstrations within the City of St. Louis. The demonstrations showcased proven methods of slowing traffic and increasing safety with traffic calming designs. The Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association, Trailnet and the HEAL Partnership used these demonstrations to educate community members, elected officials, and city staff on how we can work together to create safer and more pleasant streets.
Like most U.S. cities, the St. Louis designed its streets to prioritize people driving, making our city less pleasant and less safe for people on foot. In the U.S., 12 percent of fatal traffic crashes involve people walking; however, in St. Louis that figure is 36 percent. Last year, 19 pedestrians were killed in the City of St. Louis. In fact, more pedestrians were killed in 2015 than in 2013 and 2014 combined. These sobering statistics earned St. Louis a designation as a Focus City by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, joining 16 other U.S. cities in which pedestrian and bicycle deaths are higher than the national average.
These crashes are a consequence of streets designed to accommodate streetcars and high levels of traffic. For example, some residential streets in St. Louis are as wide as 65 feet, which is wide enough for five highway lanes. This encourages excessive speeding and puts people that walk in danger. Moreover, high-traffic, high-speed roads create impassable boundaries that effectively turn neighborhoods into “islands” for people walking. For households that do not have any cars, high stress roads limit access to important amenities, such as parks and schools. Pedestrian safety is a growing concern in St. Louis, and traffic calming can help solve this problem by slowing down vehicles and prioritizing safe and pleasant streets over moving traffic.
At the pop-up traffic calming demonstrations in the neighborhoods of Dutchtown, Carondelet, JeffVanderLou and the Ville, colorful tires, cones and plants were used to narrow traffic lanes, add roundabouts, create medians, extend sidewalks, and highlight crosswalks. In each neighborhood, speed guns were used to collect speed data; trained volunteers observed and tallied vehicular stops as “completely stopped,” “rolling stop, or “no stop” and Trailnet surveyed residents of the neighborhood on their perceptions of the street’s safety and accessibility. Data was collected during the demonstrations as well as on non-demonstration days to help understand how traffic calming impacted the neighborhoods.
With traffic calming measures in place, cars drove slower, came to more complete stops, and were less likely to roll through stop signs. Residents expressed that their local streets felt safer and more pleasant. During the traffic calming demonstrations, residents said it was easier to cross the street since it was more likely cars would obey stop signs and follow the speed limit. In most neighborhoods, the survey results indicated the traffic calming demonstrations improved residents’ perceptions of the street’s safety, and most residents expressed that the demonstrations made their street feel more pleasant.
Trailnet looked at average differences in response taken during demonstrations as well as without a demonstration in place. In most neighborhoods, the survey analysis showed the demonstrations results were positive in regards of safety.
The only exception was in the Dutchtown neighborhood (Gasconade Street between Compton Avenue and Minnesota Avenue). While some of the survey results in Dutchtown were negative, the survey analysis suggests that these differences might have been random occurrences. These results can be partly explained by the fact that some residents were hesitant with certain aspects of the Dutchtown demonstration. For example, some residents felt they weren’t well enough informed about the traffic calming demonstrations and were upset to have parking spaces were removed from the street. also, some residents were hesitant about one of the proposed traffic calming designs; the chicane, which causes drivers to swerve slightly. Residents feared the design would turn Gasconade Street into a one-way street. In reality, this feature maintains a two-way street with enough space to have two cars pass each other.
Overall, in all four neighborhoods, average vehicle speed fell nearly 7 mph with the traffic calming demonstrations in place. When pedestrian crashes do occur, slower vehicle speeds result in fewer pedestrian deaths.
The Ville demonstration (St. Louis Avenue between Sarah Street and Whittier Street) was especially successful with the average vehicle speed falling nearly 13 mph and the number of complete stops during the demonstration increasing from 34 percent to 65 percent. The demonstration site was served by four bus stops, so the increased stops helped people to get to their buses safely throughout the day.
Because of the success of these events, Trailnet is making the resources from these demonstrations available for free to any organization or St. Louis neighborhood wanting to create a similar demonstration in their community. For information on accessing these materials, contact Grace Kyung at email@example.com or 314-436-1324 ext. 110.
To see the full results from these demonstrations see the infographic below.
The Plan4Health project has proven to be an asset in creating important conversations around traffic calming. It has also helped the Healthy Eating Active Living Partnership strengthen relationships with other stakeholders in the St. Louis region.
Among other opportunities, the Plan4Health project lead to a renewed connection between Trailnet and local bicycle advocate Martin Pion. Martin has been working hard to create dialogue around effective measures for traffic calming. He was very generous in allowing Trailnet to use his temporary speed cushion at one of our four traffic calming demonstrations.
Speed cushions are similar to speed humps, but they have a smaller surface area and can be offset with wheel cutouts, allowing larger vehicles (like emergency vehicles) to pass through without reducing their speed.
Trailnet thanks Martin for the donation of his speed cushion and for sharing his resources with us. To learn more about Martin’s work please read this article he posted on traffic calming.
St. Louis’ most recent effort toward creating safer streets consisted of brightly painted tires, colorful cones, plants, and signs. The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Partnership in the City of St. Louis is using pop-up traffic-calming demonstrations to raise awareness on how to create safer streets. The materials from the demonstrations will be used to develop a traffic-calming lending library.
Please watch this exciting recap that highlights the positive effect the Plan4Health grant has brought to the community.
This new opportunity for the City comes from a Plan4Health grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in partnership with the American Planning Association (APA) and American Public Health Association (APHA). The objective of the grant is to bring together those who work within planning and public health to improve their communities and make them become more loveable.
The City of St. Louis is like many other cities—built for cars to have the largest advantage in transportation. In the U.S., 12 percent of fatal traffic crashes involve people walking, In St. Louis, however, that figure is 36 percent. In the first six months of 2015, 15 pedestrians were killed in the City of St. Louis, many in hit-and-run incidents. These sobering statistics earned St. Louis a designation as a Focus City by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, joining 21 other U.S. cities in which pedestrian deaths are higher than the national average.
Data has shown that wider roads lead to a faster rate of travel for people driving. The graphic below illustrates how higher rates of speed lead to higher rates of traffic fatalities.
Many streets in the City of St. Louis were built to accommodate streetcars and high levels of traffic, so some residential streets are as wide as 65 feet. The traffic calming pop-ups have been a great way for the City and residents to start exploring what to do with the extra space.
Trailnet, a local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization and partner within the HEAL Partnership, has been working to address this problem by implementing several pop-up traffic-calming demonstrations throughout the City of St. Louis. The purpose of the events has been to educate community members, elected officials, and city staff on how we can work together to create safer streets. The pop-up traffic-calming demonstrations are less-than-ten-hour events meant to measure the impact street designs have on people driving as well as listen to the community’s suggestions for safer streets.
The Plan4Health grant also offers a unique opportunity for the HEAL Partnership to develop a traffic-calming lending library so community members who are interested in demonstrating their own pop-up traffic-calming events have the resources and tools to use for free. The lending library will come with a toolkit that will list all available materials with instructions anyone can use on how to create their own pop-up traffic-calming demonstrations.
These lighter, quicker, cheaper tactics have already shown to be a catalyst for change within the City of St. Louis. The demonstrations have aided in creating new traffic-calming policies and the City of St. Louis has begun to use the traffic-calming lending library for community outreach.
These demonstrations are helping the City of St. Louis to create equitable places people love by bringing together planning and public health.
To learn more about the St. Louis Plan4Health project, click here.
St. Louisans are fortunate to enjoy lush greenspace in our numerous parks, fine food offered through restaurants and a growing fleet of food trucks, a vibrant art and music scene, and a champion baseball team. These many assets are clouded by statistics that rank St. Louis as one of the most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrians. In the U.S. as a whole, 12 percent of lethal traffic accidents involve pedestrians. This number compares to 14 percent in Europe and 25 percent in China. In St. Louis, 36 percent of fatal accidents affect pedestrians. In the first six months of 2015, 15 pedestrians were killed in the city of St. Louis, many in hit-and-run incidents. These sobering statistics earned St. Louis a designation as a Focus City by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, joining 21 other U.S. cities in which pedestrian deaths are higher than the national average.
A number of factors have contributed to creating this risky environment for pedestrians, most notably road designs that prioritize automobiles over pedestrian safety, and excessive speed of car traffic. Statistics indicate that pedestrians struck by cars travelling at 20 miles per hour generally suffer minor injuries and fatalities are below 10 percent. As speeds increase, the risk to pedestrians involved in collisions rises dramatically: at 30 mph, 45 percent of pedestrians who are struck suffer fatal injuries; when struck by a car traveling above 40 mph, pedestrian mortality increases to 80 percent.
Trailnet was recently awarded a Plan4Health grant in collaboration with the HEAL Partnership to improve the safety of pedestrians in the city of St. Louis. Our efforts will begin with community meetings in the Ville, Greater Ville, Carondelet, Dutchtown, and Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhoods to learn about residents’ concerns about pedestrian safety. These meetings will be followed by walk audits and “pop-up traffic calming” demonstrations in the neighborhoods. Traffic-calming measures help to decrease vehicle speeds and provide refuges for pedestrians. These measures include infrastructure changes such as speed bumps, roundabouts and pedestrian islands.
The Plan4Health grant has brought excitement and new energy to Trailnet’s planning division by allowing us bring on some new talent. We’re excited to announce Grace Kyung has joined the Trailnet team as our new Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner. She comes to Trailnet from Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, where she earned master’s degrees in public health and urban planning from the University of Illinois.
Grace has a strong passion for active forms of transportation and is an avid bicycle commuter. Aside from being a cost-effective approach to city travel, Grace says she appreciates how riding gives her a lay of the land in St. Louis. She added that riding her bike around the city has given her a helpful lens with which to see various neighborhoods connect with locals. Grace hopes through working on the Plan4Health grant, she can help Trailnet demonstrate effective traffic calming approaches to increase the safety and health of the region’s communities.
For more information about Plan4Health, please contact Grace Kyung at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-436-1324 x 110.