The data for pedestrian safety after the Nickerson Street road diet (pdf) is worth looking at. And as someone who supports road diets in general, it’s worth pointing to the good. Pedestrian collisions are down from the average of the last 5 years. But if we’re looking at accident rates to tell us something, we’ll have to factor in the fact that “SDOT installed two new marked crosswalks at Dravus Street and 11th Avenue W” at the same time.
Although, obviously reduction in speeds helps too:
Speed data was recorded between 6th Avenue W and 3rd Avenue W in June, 2007. Prior to the project, the 85th-percentile speeds in both directions exceeded the speed limit: 40.6 mph westbound and 44.0 mph eastbound. Approximately 90 percent of drivers exceeded the speed limit. Speed data was collected at the same location after rechannelization in February, 2011. The 85th percentile declined to 33.1 mph westbound and 33.3 eastbound. After rechannelization, the percent of speeders declined by two-thirds and the percent of drivers exceeding the speed limit by 10 or more miles per hour dropped by more than 90 percent.
Of course I don’t know what’s better for pedestrians, and they surely work in tandem. In any event, those of us who support road diets should talk about the success of Nickerson in terms safety walking the neighborhood. But we should also acknowledge that it’s more complex.