To help preserve, protect, and nurture the economic and cultural vitality of downtown Caldwell through the creation of public and private partnerships.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Creating a Pedestrian Friendly Downtown Caldwell

We live in a auto centric society and this paradigm is destroying the social and economic fabric of small towns across America. We face this same threat in Caldwell today. Our vision of Caldwell as a pedestrain friendly center of community where people stroll downtown to shop, eat, and socialize is under attack by an archaic mindset that favors moving traffic through town as efficienty as possible at the expense of the vision of Caldwell as a village. Bloomfield Avenue is not Route 46. Caldwell residents are not concerned about the convience of poeple who are traveling through our downtown in order to get to work ten minutes quicker. We need a paradigm shift. Morristown for example has many mid block crosswalks that are clearly marked and the result is that a mother with two small children in tow, can cross the street in many places without the fear of being mowed down.
The images above were taken on South Street in Morristown. Notice, in the top image, how three cars stopped to let the pedestrian cross. I stopped to ask a policeman why and how Morristown set up all these mid-block cross walks. He told me,"it's important to the town to make Morristown pedestrian friendly, otherwise no one would come downtown", he continued, "and we give out tickets to drivers who violate a pedestrians right of way and it's a three point ticket at that, eventually people catch on". I was also informed that "there is a state grant available to pay police overtime to enforce compliance in the area of pedestrian safety." So, the next time you are trying to cross Bloomfield Avenue, imagine what our wonderful town could become with just a few small changes. Do we want to live in a village or on a highway? It's not about cars, it's about people.

Ridgewood is another successful downtown that has made many changes in order to maintain the small town character that is so important to residents. At Ridgewood High School the students produced a video entitled " Keep Kids Alive, Drive 25"

Just a modest decrease in motor vehicle speed can mean
a dramatic increase in survival rates in pedestrian-vehicle
crashes. For pedestrians, even drivers traveling beneath
the legal speed limit can present a lethal threat. If a
pedestrian is hit by a vehicle that is traveling 20 mph, the
pedestrian survival rate is 95 percent. This drops to 60
percent at 30 mph, and just 20 percent at 40 mph.

Research shows that wide, straight roads and long sight
distance encourage higher travel speeds and therefore
lead to increased fatalities and injuries. Yet traffic
engineering models tend to favor fast-moving roadways
over slower ones

Designing for Safe Streets
Narrower streets, street tress and mature tree canopy, on-street parking, buildings located close to
the sidewalk, raised crosswalks, and reducing the number and width of lanes can reduce traffic
speeds, and thus reduce crash rates and traffic fatalities. To improve the pedestrian environment,
many cities have embraced these design

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to find knowledgeable people for this subject,
    but you seem like you know what you're talking about!

    Look at my blog :: search engine optimisation companies uk