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Engineers to U.S. DOT: Transportation Is About More Than Moving Cars

A trade group representing the transportation engineering profession thinks it’s high time for American policy makers to stop focusing so much on moving single-occupancy vehicles.

Should roads like this be considered a "success?" ITE doesn't think so. Photo: Smart Growth America

Should roads like this be considered a success? ITE doesn’t think so. Photo: Smart Growth America

U.S. DOT is currently deciding how it will assess the performance of state DOTs. Will it continue business as usual and equate success with moving huge numbers of cars? That’s what state transportation officials want, but just about everyone else disagrees — including professional transportation engineers.

In its comments to the Federal Highway Administration about how to measure performance, the Institute of Transportation Engineers — a trade group representing 13,000 professionals — said that, in short, the system should not focus so heavily on cars [PDF].

Here’s a key excerpt:

Throughout the current proposed rulemaking on NHS performance, traffic congestion, freight mobility, and air quality, an underlying theme is apparent: these measures speak largely to the experience of those in single occupancy vehicles (SOVs). While such a focus is understandable in the short-term, owing largely to the current availability of data from the NPMRDS and other national sources, ITE and its membership feel that FHWA should move quickly within the framework of the existing performance management legislation to begin developing performance measures that cater to multimodal transportation systems.

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Today’s Headlines

  • CMT Urges People to Start Seeing MetroLink as a Community Connector (St. Louis Business Journal)
  • Documenting the “Concrete Scars” That Mar St. Louis (Post-Dispatch)
  • Motorist Strikes, Kills Man Early This Morning in Jefferson County (KMOV)
  • Charges May Be Brought Against One or Both Men in Hit-And-Run Death of Heavenly Hafford (Southeast Missourian)
  • MoDOT to Study Traffic on Providence Road in Columbia 1.5 Years After Pedestrian Death (Columbia Missourian)
  • OATS Receives Transit Award from MPTA (Clinton County Leader)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

via nextSTL

Mixed Use Infill Proposed for Prominent Vacant Lot In The Grove

4475 Chouteau at Taylor_The Grove_1_feature

A proposal to build a small mixed use building on the northeast corner of Chouteau and Taylor Avenues in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood will go before the Park Central Development Corporation next week. The prominent corner in the city’s hottest development area has been vacant for more than a decade.

It was late last decade when the lot was to be part of a large mixed use development that disappeared with the Great Recession. The site was later proposed to be part of Aventura Phase III, which ended with Phase II. Then in 2013, a Hilton Home2 hotel was built along Taylor to the north, leaving the corner lot as a “pocket park”. Pushback from the neighborhood resulted in the developer, Above All Development, LLC, agreeing to eventually develop the corner lot.

They are now back with a proposal for an three-story building of approximately 7,000sf. The first floor would have a 1,300 sf office space, residential lobby and covered parking with a curb cut on Taylor. The second and third floors would each be comprised of three one-bed, one-bath apartments. The project description states apartments will have granite countertops, vinyl plank flooring, and stainless steel appliances. The project cost is estimated at $1,300,000 and could break ground as early as November of this year, with occupancy in May 2017.

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Today’s Headlines

  • CMT Wants Your Input on Physical Updates to Metro Stations
  • BWorks Needs Your Help Moving Bikes This Saturday
  • Pietra Uses Metro for School and Work (NextStop)
  • Volunteer for CMT’s Ten Toe Express
  • St. Clair County Takes Control of East St. Louis Roads From the City (BND)
  • T4America Explains the “Smart City”

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

via MoBikeFed Cycling News, Tips, Advocacy Alerts

Trailnet Calls for Vulnerable Road User Laws in Wake of Pedestrian Fatalities

After a string of deaths of people walking and bicycling in the  St. Louis region, with little or no penalties for drivers — even though who were acting in an egregiously dangerous way, Trailnet has called for increased penalties for drivers who operate dangerous and then end up injuring or killing.

Could a change in our laws help these situations?

Could a change in our laws help these situations?

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:

Trailnet, an organization that advocates for safe and alternative options for pedestrians and cyclists in the St. Louis region, is holding up a double-fatality accident in Wellston as an example that stiffer punishments are needed for drivers.

Most traffic fatalities don’t result in criminal charges because they are merely the result of human error, and negligence can be hard to prove. But Trailnet says more needs to be done to make sober drivers more accountable.

The organization is specifically scrutinizing the deaths of LaTonya Williams, 19, and her boyfriend, Jermaine Byrd, 22. They were run over by a car one evening in 2015 while walking on a sidewalk near Martin Luther King Drive and Kienlen Avenue. The driver wasn’t charged with a crime and didn’t have any points taken off her drivers license.

“It’s really kind of disturbing to us and our organization,” said Ralph Pfremmer, executive director of Trailnet. “It speaks to how vulnerable everybody is and how the system doesn’t always work in favor of the victim. This isn’t the only story that is out there. There are many.”

Passing legislation to increase penalties for dangerous drivers who injure or kill has been among the top legislative priorities of our members and allied organizations, according to our surveys and polls. But the Missouri General Assembly has not been receptive to this ideas so far.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Trailnet: Motorists Need to Be Held Accountable When They Injure/Kill Someone (Post-Dispatch)
  • Kane Lightcap Drives Onto Sidewalk, Killing Corey Turner in Harrisonville (Mid America Live)
  • Motorist Kills One Person, Injures Another Overnight in KC (KSHB)
  • Missouri State Highway Patrol to Motorists: Pay Attention (Daily Journal Online)
  • If You Live or Work in the Central West End, Take This Survey on its Public Infrastructure (West End Word)
  • AARP Begins Placemaking Walk Audits Today (St. Louis Public Radio)
  • Opportunity to Weigh in on the Centene Expansion in Clayton on Sept. 6 (West End Word)
  • Thousands Responded to T4America’s Petition Against USDOT’s Proposed Congestion Rule
  • It’s Time to Start Building Communities for People (Again) (Strong Towns)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

via UrbanReview | ST LOUIS

An Example Of How the St. Louis Region Fails Pedestrians, Transit Users

Part of the implied contract when taking a bus to a destination is when you’re dropped off at your stop, you’ll be able to get to the corresponding stop in the opposite direction for the return trip. Seems simple enough, right? But in many parts of the St. Louis region being able to reach a bus stop in the opposite direction is impossible if you’re disabled. I don’t go looking for them, I run across them just going about my life.

Since the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 became law, transit operators, like Metro St. Louis, formerly Bi-State Development Agency, have equipped their fleet of buses with either a lift or ramp in new low-floor models. This permits those us who use wheelchairs to board every bus with access to hundreds of routes throughout the region — theoretically, at least. Bus routes are operated on municipal/county roads throughout our region. The responsibility for these public rights-of-way (PROW) are that of the municipality, county, or state — depending upon the entity that has assumed responsibility. Regardless, the transit agency generally isn’t responsible for the pedestrian infrastructure (sidewalks, curb cuts. etc) to/from their bus stops.

Today’s example involves a 2.5 mile stretch of Manchester Ave from McCausland Ave to Kingshighway Blvd — all in the City of St. Louis. A third of this stretch is fronted by the St. Louis Marketplace — a strip retail center that opened in 1992 — it was St. Louis’ very first TIF project. A former industrial area was reclaimed for retail by relocating railroad tracks further away from Manchester. The entire site was new from scratch and post-ADA.  Furthermore, Manchester Ave has had a bus route for the entire 26 years I’ve lived in St. Louis — probably for at least 3-4 decades. For years it was the #59, but after the Cross County MetroLink line opened in 2006 the #59 stops at Maplewood and the #32 was extended West to Maplewood.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Looks Like No Charges for Motorist Who Severely Injured Cyclist in KC Monday (KSHB, Fox4KC)
  • Another Motorist Seriously Injured a Pedestrian in KC Yesterday (Fox4KC)
  • Images Released of Woman Who Stole From Store and Struck Employee With Her Car (Post-Dispatch)
  • Police Searching for Driver Who Struck Lawrence Wright Early Sunday (Columbia Tribune)
  • Better “Smart” Street Lighting Coming to Downtown St. Louis (Post-Dispatch)
  • SLU Students Living in Housing Eligible for Metro U-Passes (NextStop)
  • KC’s Grand Bridge Being Demolished This Weekend (KC Star)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Today’s Headlines

  • Motorist Strikes, Kills Nathan Smith in Willow Springs Saturday (Ozarks First)
  • Motorist Sasha Bays Hits, Kills Eldon Green in Hayti Heights (KFVS)
  • Hit-And-Run Motorist Injures Lawrence Wright Sunday in Boone County (KMZU)
  • New Schedules Go Into Effect on MetroLink (NextStop)
  • Columbia Is the Highest-Ranked Bicycle-Friendly Community in Missouri (KOMU)
  • Pacific Alderman Trying to Add Pedestrian Lane to Bridge Project (The Missourian)
  • You Pay for Parking Even if You Don’t Own a Car (Streetsblog USA)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

Streetsblog USA

State DOTs to Feds: We Don’t Want to Reveal Our Impact on Climate Change

State DOTs don’t want to report on how their spending decisions affect greenhouse gas emissions. Photo: Andrew Boone

Every year state DOTs receive tens of billions of dollars in transportation funds from the federal government. By and large, they can do whatever they want with the money, which in most states means wasting enormous sums on pork-laden highway projects. Now that U.S. DOT might impose some measure of accountability on how states use these funds, of course the states are fighting to keep their spending habits as opaque as possible.

At issue are proposed “performance measures” that U.S. DOT will establish to track whether states make progress on goals like reducing traffic injuries or cutting greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. For the first time, state DOTs will have to set targets and measure their progress toward achieving them. It is strictly a transparency initiative — there are no penalties for failure to meet the targets.

Nevertheless, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), doesn’t want to expose the effect of state transportation policies to public scrutiny. AASHTO has released a 110-page comment [PDF] on U.S. DOT’s proposed performance measures, rattling off a litany of objections.

Here are a few highlights:

AASHTO doesn’t want to measure greenhouse gas emissions

In a meeting with federal officials in May [PDF], AASHTO leaders opposed a rule that would require state DOTs to measure their greenhouse gas emissions. Environmentalists and even some state DOTs support this rule (there is some diversity of opinion within AASHTO). But the AASHTO leadership really dislikes it. In its comments, AASHTO said it doesn’t believe the feds have the “legislative authority” make state DOTs track carbon emissions.

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