Comments on: Y Proceeds, Homelessness: Matter of Degree it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Mon, 23 Dec 2013 23:08:50 +0000 “Traffic signal”, “traffic device”, “traffic control device”—maybe the engineers were quizzed in school on the distinctions. Maybe the rest of us could bypass the technical terminology in favor of simple, descriptive terms.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Mon, 23 Dec 2013 21:16:54 +0000 I’ll only say that I’m glad the Council authorized funding for more traffic enforcement.

By: Jack Eaton Jack Eaton Mon, 23 Dec 2013 19:39:37 +0000 Re: #3 RRFBs have no particular legal meaning, they merely serve to attract attention to the signs they accompany. [link]

The problem with RRFBs is that they convey an unwarranted sense of safety to pedestrians. The installation of RRFBs requires no evaluation by traffic engineers and therefore can be installed without considering the likely effectiveness of the RRFBs at the particular location or consideration of using a different method. According to the Federal Highway Administration, signal placement requires significant effort:

“The decision to use a particular device at a particular location should be made on the basis of either an engineering study or the application of engineering judgment. Thus, while this Manual provides Standards, Guidance, and Options for design and applications of traffic control devices, this Manual should not be considered a substitute for engineering judgment. Engineering judgment should be exercised in the selection and application of traffic control devices, as well as in the location and design of roads and streets that the devices complement.”
(page 4 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices)

Re: #4 I admit that I am not a traffic engineering expert. I do note that while the Federal Highway Administration acknowledges that RRFBs are not traffic signals (see link above), their Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices describes HAWK signals as traffic devices that require traffic engineering prior to installation. See pages 509-511 (Dec. 2009).

I do not have a copy of the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices and do not know if our manual differs from the federal manual when describing traffic devices.

When Eli Cooper appeared before Council when the non-motorized plan was being considered, he admitted that the recommended placement of the RRFBs in the non-motorized transportation plan was not based on individualized engineering evaluation of each site.

I continue to believe that we should (1) identify problem crossings, (2) have traffic engineers evaluate each crossing and identify possible solutions; (3) select the best solution based on traffic engineering and legal constraints. If we hurry to implement an inexpensive response, we will likely need to return to the same problem again when the quick and cheap method proves ineffective.

By: Sabra Briere Sabra Briere Mon, 23 Dec 2013 14:16:35 +0000 Re: #2

For the record, neither RRFBs nor HAWK signals qualify as traffic control devices. They are considered BEACONS.

The ordinance governing crosswalks applies at Huron and Chapin, just as it does for all mid-block crosswalks with or without RRFBs and at all crosswalks at intersections with or without stop signs.


By: Luis Vazquez Luis Vazquez Mon, 23 Dec 2013 06:39:31 +0000 Jack, I see the same RRFBs in places like downtown Chandler, AZ, with the same signage, and they work just fine. Drivers come to a quick full stop if necessary, so makes me wonder how drivers there can figure these pedestrian crossings out and why drivers here seem not to. What is a community like Chandler doing differently?

Regarding Plymouth Road’s crossings, I see many people forget the deaths of 2 young women killed when attempting to cross in 2003, well before any such RRFBs or other crossing lights were installed.

[link] is an article that provides the following quotes:

“This should not have happened — it was absolutely
preventable. This is a high-traffic area and there is a school
here, and every night hundreds of people come (to the mosque) and
there is no traffic light. We see people driving very fast down
this street,” Hassan said.

“This was an issue that was brought up before the city
officials but there was no positive response to the request to have
a light here. It is very unfortunate that it had to happen to wake
up city officials,” he added.

I think 2 deaths is sufficient enough data for me. How long before your and Sumi’s and Kathy Griswold’s proposed traffic engineering process is worked through, implemented, and evaluated for effectiveness? How many years would you say that’s going to take?

By: Jack Eaton Jack Eaton Mon, 23 Dec 2013 00:41:10 +0000 I think the distinction between the original resolution to implement the pedestrian aspects of the non-motorized plan and the amended version deserve a little more explanation than the proponents (including me) provided at the meeting. The desire to have traffic engineers provide particularized recommendations for each pedestrian crossing means more than just having a traffic engineer in the room when a supervisor decides to install Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs).

Previously, when the pedestrian crossings on Plymouth Road became a concern, Council member Kailasapathy submitted a request for all written studies, evaluations and recommendations by the City’s traffic engineers regarding the Plymouth Road crossings. There were none. Instead, there was the general observation that the traffic engineers had been involved in the decision to install the RRFBs at the Plymouth Road crossing.

What proponents mean by traffic engineering is something more than what happened with the Plymouth Road crossings. I would like to see each problem crossing identified. That crossing should then be studied by the traffic engineers who should recommend the various options available for a crossing with the particular problems the City seeks to address.

We should all understand that RRFBs are not traffic signals. Hawk signals (such as the one on Huron near Third) or conventional green-yellow-red lights are traffic signals. Before a traffic signal can be installed there must be the collection of data and a finding that a signal is warranted.

We also need to understand that the areas identified in the non-motorized transportation plan for RRFB installation have not been studied and other alternatives have not been considered as part of a traffic engineering process. RRFBs may have been prescribed because they do not require data collection and engineering evaluation. They are cheaper and easier than properly engineered traffic control methods.

The question that must be asked is whether the community wants quick and cheap responses for our traffic problems or properly engineered methods. I do not deny that our unique pedestrian ordinance is the product of good intentions or that the non-motorized transportation plan is a good faith attempt to improve safety. I simply believe we should do better than merely hope for a good result.

By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Sun, 22 Dec 2013 19:03:59 +0000 Did this statement raise anyone else’s eyebrows?

“Teall said she can’t not support it, calling the AASAF her favorite art fair.”

How about this one?

“Hieftje said that he saw no harm in not having a quorum this year.”