Archive for Saturday, February 5, 2011

Evaluation of sidewalk usage finds pedestrians, bicyclists make up more than 8 percent of all traffic on some streets

February 5, 2011


On the street

How much do you think the city should fine people who don’t clear their sidewalks?

It depends on where you live. $73 is too much.

More responses

Seventy-three dollars — the ticket amount for not clearing your sidewalk of snow — may be the figure most on your mind as you grab a shovel this weekend.

But city officials say there are other important figures to remember too. The city has new data about how often city sidewalks are used that might give people extra motivation to make sure they do their part to keep sidewalks clear.

“These numbers tell us people really are out there,” said Jessica Mortinger, a transportation planner for the city. “People sometimes say they drive by and never see anybody using a sidewalk, but that’s really not the case.”

The new numbers were gathered in September — sans snow — but they show that pedestrians and bicyclists make up more than 8 percent of all traffic on some stretches of streets.

The city gathers the data as part of the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project, which aims to provide good information to community leaders making decisions about future bicycle and pedestrian projects.

Volunteers are stationed at specific counting stations during three two-hour time slots that include both weekend and weekday hours. The hard data is then used to create monthly and annual projections using methodology developed by engineers from around the country.

Here’s a look at the numbers, although the city doesn’t provide specific locations in order to not compromise future traffic counts:

• Naismith Drive: 571 pedestrians per day or about 208,000 per year.

• Massachusetts Street: 509 per day or about 186,000 per year.

• West Ninth Street: 431 per day or about 157,000 per year.

• West 27th Street: 290 per day, or about 105,000 per year.

• North Second Street Bridge: 230 per day or about 84,000 per year.

• East 19th Street: 101 per day or about 37,000 per year.

• Harvard Road: 94 per day, or about 33,700 per year.

• Monterey Way: 92 pedestrians per day, or about 33,600 per year.

• West Sixth Street: 71 per day, or about 26,000 per year.

• Bob Billings Parkway: 60 per day, or about 22,000 per year.

• Iowa north of 15th Street: 55 per day or about 20,000 per year.

The report also compares the amount of pedestrian traffic along the roads with the amount of vehicle traffic. West 27th Street had the highest percentage of pedestrians at 8.97 percent. When you throw in bicyclists, the number of nonmotorized users grew to 13.95 percent. Iowa Street north of 15th Street had the lowest percentage at 0.22 percent. At six of the 12 locations, pedestrians accounted for more than 1 percent of the total usage.

The other locations where that was the case were Naismith Drive, 8.22 percent; Harvard Road, 4.35 percent; West Ninth Street, 3.13 percent; Massachusetts Street, 3.03 percent; and Monterey Way, 1.23 percent.

As for shoveling your sidewalk, the city is scheduled to start ticketing property owners on Monday for sidewalks that aren’t shoveled. The fine is $20 but court costs add another $53 onto the total cost of the ticket.


toe 7 years, 3 months ago

Is it still illegal to ride a bicycle on a sidewalk?

NewbieGardener 7 years, 3 months ago

In downtown, yes it is illegal. In other parts of Lawrence, bicyclists can choose between roads and sidewalks (usually the choice is based on which is safer given the environment).

mijemod 7 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

grimpeur 7 years, 3 months ago

Lame. Check the mirror for a deadbeat.

parrothead8 7 years, 3 months ago

Those deadbeat elementary school kids should get jobs instead of using my sidewalk to walk to and from school.

RoeDapple 7 years, 3 months ago

That's a LOT of pedestrians! If each one had their own shovel those sidewalks could be cleared in very little time . . .

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

Well, that's the self-serving, superficial, Reader's Digest view of it. But it's about as close a picture of reality as you ever get.

I'll give you a C-.

grimpeur 7 years, 3 months ago

Four personal and three commercial vehicles here. What's that you say about taxes? I've paid more than my share for both roads and sidewalks. I bike or walk to work every single day.

Come back when you've grown up and learned what it really means to pay taxes and be responsible.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

Peds and cyclists also pay for the roads cuz most are taxpayers...

"If each one had their own shovel those sidewalks could be cleared in very little time . . ." DO drivers clear the roads?

Vehicles and their streets are very large big government tax dollar budget items. Some of these are still begging BIG GOVERNMENT to build them a $200 million tax dollar obsolete roadway design aka SLT. Talk about deadbeats....

RoeDapple 7 years, 3 months ago

"DO drivers clear the roads?"

No. The CITY does. Thank you for making my point.

HungryHippo 7 years, 3 months ago

Can't a person be both a pedestrian AND a car driver? I certainly am. I like the public/private dual nature of the sidewalks. The whole shoveling debate is getting ridiculous. Shoveling snow and scattering some rock salt and sand is a minimally involving task for the able-bodied. For those not in the former category, neighbors and ethically-minded entrepreneurs can fill in. Although getting a ticket would not make me very happy.

appleaday 7 years, 3 months ago

Amen. It's about being a good citizen and participating in a community. Get out and shovel your sidewalk -- it's not that difficult. Remember that some people need to walk or ride bicycles to get from one place to another. At different times, I am a pedestrian, a cyclist, and an automobile driver. I am also a tax payer. I don't expect all the work to be done for me -- it's a cooperative effort. I pay taxes so that the city can employ workers to do the big work that affects the most people and that can't easily be done by individuals (streets) and I expect to chip in and do my part by clearing my own driveway and sidewalk.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

There's absolutely no practical way that the city can take on full responsibility for clearing the sidewalks-- at least not without a significant tax increase that few if any want to see. But the city needs to take on a larger role in facilitating getting walks cleared in a timely way.

Instead of merely fining people in a very inconsistent way, with very uneven enforcement, they should create a clearinghouse of contractors and volunteers that's available to those who need it. For those who are physically incapable, and can't afford to pay out of pocket, there should be a list no- or low-cost options for getting their walks cleared. For those who can afford it, there should be a list of contractors available. In residential areas, perhaps the neighborhood organizations should take on the task of finding and organizing volunteers to shovel the walks of those who are incapable. And for those who are capable, but choose not to do it, it'd be a potential fundraiser for those organizations, or a way to earn money for neighborhood kids.

Fines should then only be levied when people fail (or refuse) to take advantage of the options available to them.

Alceste 7 years, 3 months ago

Be nice if the people sentenced to Community Service for things like DUI, traffic tickets, and any other misdemeanor or even felony matters were sent out with shovels to do this work.

What is preventing our community from accessing this, essentially, FREE LABOR POOL???

The answer is the idiots at Court Services who will find every excuse in the book (the most often used one being "We don't have the insurance" which really translates into "We're too lazy to leave our offices and actually be a part of the community"...) to NOT be progressive in their thinking. "We've always done it this way....". Give a ring to Ron Stegall, Chief Executive Probation Officer (how ya like that FANCY title?!!) at (785) 832-5220 or email him at . He'll be glad to explain to you why that office CANNOT serve the community. His antiquated decision making is backed by Linda Koester-Vogelsang, Court Administrator: (785) 832-5256; (They have a SET list of places where Community Service hours can be worked off and they're all in a/c and heated sit down places; Nice and comfy for that oh so misunderstood drunk driver or whatever.....).

Community corrections and community service: Jokes in Douglas County, Kansas

Katara 7 years, 3 months ago

This is not a bad idea and seems like a win-win situation. Community Serve time served and sidewalks cleared for those who cannot do so themselves.

I don't recall which city it was but I saw a news clip the other day that had prisoners shoveling out all the fire hydrants from the deep snow left by the plows.

Alceste 7 years, 3 months ago

Thank you Katara for reading:

Please, make contact with the people I have listed and listen to their pitiful "reasons" for doing the right thing. These civil servants aren't worried about "Community Service"....they're worried about their own check and being comfortable in their sit down jobs.

Rather than looking for ways NOT to get things done, one would think they'd be trying to look for ways TO get things done. I'll believe it when I see it.

They'll tell you that they don't have the staff to supervise the work (read, they don't want to be out in the cold); and they'll feed you the line of bull about insurance.

Funny how other communities are able to make use of this LABOR from flagrant law violators.

deec 7 years, 3 months ago

It's likely that if someone were injured shovelling as part of their community service, the county would be financially responsible. Does anyone know what the average caseload for PO's is in Douglas county?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

I was wondering the same thing about the intersection at 23rd and Iowa. Even in good weather, trying to cross that intersection puts you at rather significant risk of getting hit. There was obviously no consideration given to pedestrians when that intersection was designed and built.

Were/are the crossing areas presently covered by ice and/or snow?

grimpeur 7 years, 3 months ago

There's lame. And then there's lame. And then there's this.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

It seems this past year or so there are more cyclists and walkers around. Hey and why not.

Gasoline pollutes no matter how expensive so the more we cut back the better .

No question about it motorized vehicles are a big load on the big government tax dollar between pollution, road wear and the war for oil. We actually could be paying $22 -$35 per gallon. Wait till we start paying $8-$9 a gallon at the pump plus the cost of war and road wear.

Other forms of transportation are beginning to look real good. IF citizens would do most all of their recreation travel on feet,bikes and public transportation the USA could put a dent in air pollution. AND the roads would not need resurfaced frequently.

Osteoporosis can be prevented by keeping that body moving. Waiting until the doctor says you need to get moving is too late.

As for grocery shopping or any shopping: These cruise over most any terrain with ease even with a load on...

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 3 months ago

I wonder how much money the city seems to be so short on was spent by Core-less for this little tidbit of useless information??

Pete_Schweti 7 years, 3 months ago

The city could have saved some time and just asked homeowners with sidewalks how often they have to pick pedestrian garbage up out of their yards.

Pete_Schweti 7 years, 3 months ago

Yes, Jack, it's ALL cars. *rolls eyes

That must explain why I had about 30% the trash volume in my front yard when I owned other properties without sidewalks.

Shardwurm 7 years, 3 months ago

Hopefully this study was the result of a multi-million dollar research study at KU so we can justify a tuition increase.

George Lippencott 7 years, 3 months ago

I hope there is more detail here – particularly if the city is to use this for some planning function. I might point out that Bob Billings Parkway is a number of miles long. Naismith is relatively short. The traffic per furlong on Naismith is quite high while that on Bob Billings is quite low per furlong. If sidewalks or bike paths are to be considered Bob Billings should be of low priority while Naismith should be higher on the list. I would suspect most of the foot traffic on Bob Billings is near the university and not out by Corpus Christi.

TheFox 7 years, 3 months ago

OMG, I can't believe they actually compared a warm cozy late summer day to the freezing cold snow covered days in January.

This comparison would not pass muster in my 1st grade class in that little one room country school back in 1951.

But I am sure the city can use the $20 and the county can use the $53 court fee.

This reminds me of the time when I was a young lad out on the farm, a dog was on top of our family dog really going to town on her, my father described the one on top as the government taking care of a taxpayer, getting all it could from her and telling her it was for her own good and that the community would benefit too.


gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 3 months ago

I'd love to see how they actually collected this data. Unless they collected it in a way that controls for the seasons/time of year, the yearly projections are pretty worthless.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 3 months ago

Merrill babbled:

"Other forms of transportation are beginning to look real good. IF citizens would do most all of their recreation travel on feet,bikes and public transportation the USA could put a dent in air pollution. AND the roads would not need resurfaced frequently."

Somewhat ironic from a guy who uses gasoline powered mowers for a living. Mowers are highly polluting both through exhaust and spilled gas. Further, they need trucks to get them to and from different locations.

Hypocrite. What is your involvement in Sven's campaign?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"Hypocrite. What is your involvement in Sven's campaign?'

At this point, given your obsession over all things Sven, less than yours.

jayhawknative 7 years, 3 months ago

Thank you to my realtor several homes ago who taught me to always buy on the side of the street WITHOUT the sidewalk.

1) You don't have to shovel the sidewalk of snow and deal with the above crap. 2) You don't have people letting their dogs crap in your yard. 3) People litter and dump out various liquids and such which can kill your grass. 4) Statistics have show that resale is generally lower for a house with a sidewalk in front.

Sidewalks are for pansies, walk in the street like a man. Or a hooker. Hookers smell good, like vanilla and cocoa bean with a touch of that smell in the bottom of my 14mo old's diaper pail after it's sat in the garage for too long because I haven't had a chance to bleach it. I'll bet THAT stuff would melt the snow.

But I digress, let me sum this up, where was I.. Oh yeah, sidewalk bad, hookers good. Carry on civilians.

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