Jun 3 2011

Opinion – “No Need to Cross Moraga Avenue?”

A resident’s response to Piedmont Soccer Club President Mark Landheer’s letter in the Piedmont Post:

Piedmont Post Editor,

I am relieved by PSC President Mark Landheer’s May 25 Post letter stating, Kids at Blair Park will not cross Moraga Avenue.” The unsafe traffic mitigation proposed by ELS will no longer be necessary.

The Maxwelton Avenue mini-roundabout on a 7% slope in narrow-winding Moraga Avenue with no sidewalks, limited sight lines and obtuse angle side streets, is contrary to every standard practice in the Feb. 2010 Federal Highway Admin. Mini-roundabout Technical Summary (FHWA-SA-10-007).  Placement at Maxwelton Avenue would be suicidal for bicyclists. Although previously adhering to FHA practices, ELS traffic engineer Michael Moule’s radical and experimental Maxwelton Avenue mini-roundabout would have been the first of its kind on the planet. With no children present, as Mark Landheer indicates, it is no longer needed.

Pedestrian activated crosswalks are ignored 3% of the time by drivers and by at least 30% of underage pedestrians. When these two percentages converge, disaster awaits.  Fortunately, this crosswalk will not be needed, as no children will be crossing Moraga Avenue, according to Landheer.

If our City Council determines that children may indeed cross Moraga Avenue, realistic traffic mitigations should be analyzed by a reputable traffic engineering firm and considered carefully before implementation. To date, ELS has added and subtracted traffic elements at will.  I ask for appropriate oversight and independent due diligence by City Administrator Grote.

Rick Schiller

(This letter expresses the personal opinions of the author. All statements made are the opinion of the writer and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.)

Moraga Avenue looking eastward at the approximate location of the proposed crosswalk between Coaches Field and Blair Park in Moraga Canyon.

2 Responses to “Opinion – “No Need to Cross Moraga Avenue?””

  1. As I recall, the Moraga Canyons EIR measured 7 pedestrians walking to Coaches the Saturday that the parking survey was conducted so I think that can be used as the minimum number of pedestrians that can be expected to cross Moraga Avenue on a weekend game day. Given the proposed sidewalk along Blair Park, there will be others as well. The most likely source of pedestrian traffic will be kids crossing to and from Coaches to get to the snack shack proposed for Blair Park. Anyone experienced with sports facilities knows what a magnet these facilities are for kids. If what Rick says is true (30% failure of cross walk use by kids) then the pending traffic design must really address the need to keep cars under 25 mph.

  2. http://katana.hsrc.unc.edu/cms/downloads/Final%20Report%20-%20HAWK%20Signal%208-30-2010.pdf is a study of a single Ped Activated crosswalk in Washington DC by Howard University. In this urban environment the auto compliance rate was 97%. The pedestrian compliance rate was 50-65%, lower than I presumed at 70%. Of course this is a single study and in a different environment. I would not except narrow, winding and limited-sightline Moraga avenue to have a higher compliance rate.

    I wish our Mayor would direct staff to do some minimal research on the compliance rate and make that material available to City Council before a final vote on the Blair Park conversion proposal. Relying solely on proponent picked and funded traffic analysis is a system open to bias.

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