rockford

Pedestrian Safety, Mapped: 2006-2015 Findings

Yesterday’s post began with the following questions: 

  • How ‘safe’ are pedestrians; 
  • What areas are less safe than others for pedestrians; and 
  • How can we work together to maximize safety and accessibility for non-motorized users of our transportation network?  

Using IDOT crash data for the City of Rockford, I put together the following:

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From 2006-2015, 551 pedestrians were hit by the driver of a vehicle in the City of Rockford.

Rockford-Pedestrian-Fatalities.jpg

Of the 551 collisions, 23 were fatal.  (note: It is likely that these fatalities occurred at the scene. It is unlikely that IDOT has obtained data from area hospitals, so the number of fatalities may be higher). 

I explored the attribute tables afterwards.  I found that 56% of collisions happened in the daytime, not at nighttime (when people are often blamed for not wearing reflective, bright-colored clothing).  I also found that inclement weather–snow, rain, fog, wind combined–was present in only 18% of the collisions.   

Pedestrian-Collisions-C4.jpg

I then overlaid zoning districts onto the collisions. Pictured here is our C-4, mixed-use district, the most compact, walkable space we have in Rockford.   City Market, Friday Night Flix, Stroll on State…we have a lot of people out walking downtown.  Surely most of our collisions are happening in this district?  While not insignificant, only 15% of all pedestrian collisions occurred here. 

Pedestrian-Collisions-C1-2.jpg

Pictured here are a couple of our commercial districts.  This is where most folks are getting their groceries, cashing their checks, or dining out.  33% of all pedestrian collisions occurred here.  So what about these districts?  More particularly, what does the type of roadway bisecting these zones tell us about pedestrian collisions?

The city and our regional MPO have classified our roadways with seven designations ranging from ‘local streets’ to ‘interstate’.  The following slides show four of those roadways: Minor collectors, major collections, minor arterials, and other principal arterials.  Recall the hypothesis: 

Pedestrian collisions occur more frequently on principal arterial roads in the City of Rockford.

Less than 1% of all pedestrian collisions occurred on minor collectors.

Less than 1% of all pedestrian collisions occurred on minor collectors.

Just over 1% of all pedestrian collisions occurred on major collectors.

Just over 1% of all pedestrian collisions occurred on major collectors.

9% of all pedestrian collisions occurred on minor arterials.  Notably, Auburn and Broadway have a significant collection of collisions.

9% of all pedestrian collisions occurred on minor arterials.  Notably, Auburn and Broadway have a significant collection of collisions.

81% of all pedestrian collisions occurred on principal arterials.  We can accept the above hypothesis.

81% of all pedestrian collisions occurred on principal arterials.  We can accept the above hypothesis.

From 2006-2015, 81% of all collisions–446 out of 551–occurred on principal arterial roads in the City of Rockford.  Let me note the most dangerous roads in particular: 

  • State Street: 23% of all collisions (126 of 551) occur on State Street, which is owned by IDOT.  
  • 11th: 9% of all collisions (46 of 551) happen here. The highest concentration of collisions are on the portion of 11th that is also owned by IDOT. 
  • Charles: 8% of all collisions (39 of 551) happen here.
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As you can see, these streets do a great job at moving a large number of vehicles every day.  However, they do a poor job at moving pedestrians. 

Tomorrow I will look at some of the design characteristics typifying arterial roads that frustrate pedestrian mobility and compromise pedestrian safety. 

 

Research: Pedestrian Collisions in Rockford

If you were to close your eyes and place a finger on any transportation-related document your city is producing, there’s a good chance you’d land on one word: Safety.

“The City recognizes the need to develop a safe, efficient, accessible and integrated multimodal transportation network that balances the need and desire for access, mobility, economic development and aesthetics while providing for the health and well-being for people of all ages and abilities.”  -City of Rockford, Complete Streets Policy, Jan 2017

Excerpt of our Complete Streets policy.

Excerpt of our Complete Streets policy.

Excerpt of our LimeBike agreement. 

Excerpt of our LimeBike agreement. 

These excerpts are from recent resolutions and agreements that the Rockford City Council has adopted.  All the right words are here: “multimodal”, “all ages and abilities”, “safe routes to school”, even “maximize carbon-free mobility”.  All good.

Recently my interest has been in the alignment of this municipal value–safety–with the existing conditions of pedestrian mobility.  I began with the following questions:

  • How ‘safe’ are pedestrians; 
  • What areas are less safe than others for pedestrians; and 
  • How can we work together to maximize safety and accessibility for non-motorized users of our transportation network?  
Rockford-RRSTar-Pedestrian-2.jpg
January, 1974.

January, 1974.

Every so often I would hear of pedestrians getting hit by drivers on certain roads.  So I began to research our library’s newspaper archive.  Turns out we’ve had a problem with pedestrian collisions for some time.  The above example in particular is telling:  Once a “comfortable country road”, Alpine Road has now sustained two pedestrian collisions in the last month…January 1974.  Over forty years ago.

Alpine, looking north, just north of Alpine/State intersection.  Image courtesy of  Bob Anderson.

Alpine, looking north, just north of Alpine/State intersection.  Image courtesy of Bob Anderson.

Alpine today.  Image courtesy of Google.

Alpine today.  Image courtesy of Google.

Eventually it was time to pair qualitative research with quantitative research. I began with the following hypothesis: 

Pedestrian collisions occur more frequently on principal arterial roads in the City of Rockford.

So I obtained ten years of data from the Illinois Department of Transportation (2006-2015, to be exact).  Merged together, here was my initial finding: 

Rockford-Pedestrian-Collisions.jpg

From 2006-2015, 551 pedestrians were hit by the driver of a vehicle in the City of Rockford.

More to come tomorrow. 

 

Update: 227 North Wyman, Part 2

Update: 227 North Wyman, Part 2

This is the second of three posts on my work regarding the Library Board’s decision to purchase and demolish 227 North Wyman Street.  The first post can be found here.

After reaching out to Mr. Logli, I continued my correspondence by reaching out to the following individuals:

ComEd: I spoke with George Gaulrapp, Public Relations Manager at ComEd, on 16 March.  Our chat was brief but amiable. Mr. Gaulrapp expressed ComEd’s commitment to address the environmental remediation issue in a thorough, timely manner, and citied their prior remediation projects at Fordham Dam and Avon Street...

Update: 227 North Wyman, Part 1

Update: 227 North Wyman, Part 1

It’s been over three weeks since my letter to the Rockford Public Library Board regarding their decision to purchase and demolish 227 North Wyman Street, a Georgian Revival circa 1912 that is a contributing building to our historically built downtown.  In the letter, I argued that the library should not remove a property from the tax rolls primarily for temporary staging purposes, and should consider adaptively reusing the property if it indeed wishes to purchase the building...