Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Open Season on Pedestrians?

I sent this to the police chief and traffic manager this morning while in an ill temper.

Good morning.

I was walking the dogs down Camino Uva this morning at about 0710 prior to going to work, and crossed S. San Ildefonso at the end of my street. There is a bench on the other side where people wait for the bus. So this (expletive deleted) in a huge Dodge pickup truck (silver, couldn't get a plate number) came barrelling down the street really fast. He was by the rental complex when I checked but came at me faster than I calculated. Never slowed down (based on engine noise, vehicle balance) and passed me while I was still in the street with about six feet clearance at high speed. My first objective at that point was to make sure the dogs were safe.

I know and I think he knows that pedestrians have the ROW crossing a street at an intersection and that drivers are supposed to obey the speed limit. I wonder if we ought to make that a marked crosswalk since we now have a bus route over there and since we can't have a patrol car everywhere at once.

At any rate, if this guy is going to threaten pedestrians with deadly force, I wonder how long it will be before a pedestrian decides to return the favor. I'm not laughing. We live in a community where we don't have to worry very much about drug dealers, hard-core criminals, or drive by shootings. We will more likely kill or injure each other by misusing motor vehicles. Our society's lax behavior towards bad driving doesn't help, either.

Monday, January 28, 2008

National Transportation Study trashes cycling

From the latest emailing from LAB.
New U.S. Study Leaves Out Cyclists: Last week, the report of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission was released. This is a significant document that outlines how $225 billion should be spent each year for the next 50 years on transportation and infrastructure in this country. The Commission took 20 months to listen to input (the League submitted comments) and weigh options for creating a bold new transportation future – and in the 54-most-important pages, the words bicycle, bicyclist, bike, pedal cycle, and pedal cyclist combined are mentioned just one time, on page 24, in the same sentence as the only mention of pedestrians, walking and other foot-based derivatives. Furthermore, reactions to the report include two comments by legislators that single out bike paths as bad spending. See the comments from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) for yourself here. The National Association of City Transportation Officials noted the lack of bicyclist and pedestrian representation in their statement, saying, “Pedestrian and bicycle safety are also critical issues for cities, but the report addressed them only briefly. In 2006, 5,740 people were killed while walking or bicycling, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Pedestrian safety is a key quality of life issue for cities, and the new federal traffic safety program should help us address it.”

Friday, January 18, 2008


Hey, here is an interesting mapping website to check out:

You enter an address and walkscore computes a measure of how walkable that address is from the proximity of nearby parks, schools, restaurants, etc. (based on the Google maps database).

The maximum result is 100, and they categorize the location according to the following intervals:

90 - 100 = Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.

70 - 90 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car.

50 - 70 = Some Walkable Locations: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.

25 - 50 = Not Walkable: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.

0 - 25 = Driving Only: Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!

To a limited extent, I would think that the walkscore would be a decent measure of the bikability of the address as well, although it does not take into account important factors such as the quality of the roads for biking. But it gives you a good sense for how many destinations are within a very short bike ride.

Interestingly my home here in Los Alamos ranks 42 out of 100, at the high end of the "not walkable" range.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Neale nails his Vanagon

Wow. Harrowing story here. But the Picketts are all OK, apparently. I guess the Vanagon didn't do so well.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

100 bucks a barrel at last

From Today's NY Times.

Oil prices reached the symbolic level of $100 a barrel for the first time on Wednesday, a long-awaited milestone in an era of rapidly escalating energy demand.