The Benefits of Traffic Calming

A few weeks ago, LADOT Bikeways staff grabbed our camera and tripod and took a trip down to Long Beach to get a first hand look at the Vista St. Bicycle Boulevard. As Los Angeles gets ready to implement it’s own version of a Bicycle Boulevard (called a Bicycle Friendly Street – BFS), we wanted to help familiarize everyone with a few of the different treatments. We particularly wanted to stress the significant quality of life and safety improvements that Vista St. residents have seen following the installation of traffic calming devices – particularly roundabouts and bicycle traffic signals. We hope to use this video (and others like it) at future neighborhood meetings to provide information through a more visually appealing medium. Special thanks go out to Long Beach Bicycle Coordinator Allan Crawford, neighborhood residents Kristine Kelly and Lisa Brisky for sharing their first hand thoughts and experiences with the facility. More on the benefits of BFS facilities below the fold.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gdq-Q0Q57I]

Let’s make better neighborhoods

Roundabouts can improve safety, reduce noise, and beautify your neighborhoods. They function as a natural traffic calming device by slightly diverting traffic off of a straight path. This forces cars to slow down when entering the intersection. Roundabouts are also more efficient than your typical four way stop intersection (an intersection with four stop signs). They allow multiple vehicles to yield, and proceed through the intersection without having to come to a complete stop. Slower speeds and yielding (as opposed to complete stops) reduces vehicle braking noise, thus contributing to a calmer, less noisy neighborhood.

Safety and health

Slower cars means less accidents (and even the ones that do occur are less severe). According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA),

Traffic calming has proven to reduce traffic speeds and, consequently, reduce the number of pedestrian deaths.

With Bicycle Friendly Streets, you can leave the car at home and allow your kids to walk or bike to school. This allows kids to get some much needed physical activity, thus decreasing their risk of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension. As we continue to move forward with Bike Plan implementation, be sure to show your support for these intersection treatments. Feel free to tell us what you think of the video, and be sure to provide suggestions for future videos that you’d like to see.

Long beach roundabout

Modern roundabout at Vista St. and Park Ave. in Long Beach, CA

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