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Author Topic: Our streets are morbidly obese  (Read 6972 times)
Red Arrow
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« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2009, 11:52:24 am »

 
This getting old stuff sucks.

So far it is better than the alternative.

Most of the cities don't have a tag requirement for bicycles.  The few that do so use it for two reasons.  First, college towns use it to gouge the students.  If you don't have the tag - and most don't - there's a hefty fine that has to be paid to recover your bike.  Other cities call it a theft prevention measure.  Washington DC does this, but it still causes problems for commuters.  If you live outside the city, your bike doesn't need a tag.  So how are police supposed to know where you're from?


Theft prevention is totally bogus.  If it worked, there would be no car theft.

Gouging students or regular citizens would not be my purpose.  If a tag were a state wide program, I believe it would (at least partly) remove any legitimacy of the gripe of motorists that bicycles want equal access but don't want to pay. A state program would also eliminate the commuter issue except perhaps near the state borders.  Since the tag fees mostly go to schools, the general fund and a few other programs, the claim of bicyclists that they don't damage the road like motor vehicles would not be a valid complaint for this user fee (OK, it's a tax).  I'm not so sure bicycles with high pressure tires don't do some damage above that according to their weight.   Fees could be based on the retail price of the bicycle, similar to the car tag fees. The minimum fee should approximately cover the cost of paperwork to handle the registration.  Cars are registered. Boats (and outboard motors on the boat) are registered.  Airplanes are registered. (Be glad if you don't have a jet which has a 10x multiplier on the fee.)  Registering bikes would put them on equal footing with motor vehicles regarding access to the street.  I readily admit there would be no direct benefit to the bicyclist other than the perception of motorists that they are playing fair. But then, what benefit does my car registration give to me other than access to the street?   Perhaps bicycles should also be required to have liability insurance. I was involved in a couple of bicycle collisions when I was a kid.  No one was hurt but I did need to buy a new front wheel after one of them.  That might be expensive with some of today's fancy road bikes.  I also read once of a kid on a bike falling on a Ferarri stopped at a traffic light.  There was damage to the Ferarri but since a kid was involved, the Ferarri driver was found to be a fault. (How's that for fair?)  Equal rights, equal responsibility.  All of these ideas are to take away motorists' perception that bicyclists are freeloaders demanding equal access. 

Out of state bicyclists would occasionally be stopped.  Twice in nearly 30 years I have been stopped for not having a tag on a trailer I was towing. Once each in AZ and TX. I haven't been stopped yet in AR but an AR state trooper stopped to help once when I had a tire blow out on the trailer.  He even went to retrieve my lost wheel cover.  Nice guy.   However,  I only go out of state a few weeks a year.  Once in San Antonio on I-35, the trooper followed me for a while (I saw him so I made sure of my speed etc.), then he pulled up along side of me then pulled me over.  He asked about the trailer tag so I told him none was required in OK.  Since I was also driving a car with an Oklahoma registration in my name, I had my insurance papers, etc, he let me go without any further problems.  In AZ on I-40, I was stopped for one of 4 tail lights out.  I suspect also due to the lack of a tag on the trailer.  Again, a few questions and I was free to go.  Except along the state borders, I don't think out of state bicycles would be a significant problem.

Give me a minute or two to put on my flak jacket please.
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Red Arrow
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« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2009, 12:01:15 pm »

Imagine how much better this would be:


Different, yes.  Better?  I don't know.  Certainly at the shown traffic level there is no problem.  I don't know about the capacity at peak traffic.  As much as many want to deny it, most cities still need to consider their peak traffic capability.  Cars alone are not the problem.  I have some books showing street grid-lock with (real) trolleys in cities in the early 1900s.

Patrick, How do you like the street lights?


Than this.



Photo by Robert Blackie

I am not downtown enough to know if this picture is typical of anytime other than a nice Sunday afternoon.
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TheTed
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« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2009, 01:09:24 pm »

I'm sure it's a weekend. But even if it were the middle of a workday, there'd still be a single digit vehicle count visible.

Even at rush hour you don't have to wait for the green light to walk across the street. The number of cars through a light cycle on most downtown one-ways goes from about four midday to maybe eight at 5:15pm. That tells me our streets are ridiculously oversized.
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cynical
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« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2009, 04:29:50 pm »

You do see more traffic on 2nd Street when there's a major event at the Performing Arts Center.  Traffic backs up in the right lanes while people wait to enter the covered parking under the Williams Center Green.  Others are driving up to the 2nd Street box office entrance, with some letting off passengers at the stage door. 

The rest of the time, as TheTed says, traffic is pretty sparse.  The BOK Center has cut down on some of the traffic by blocking the previous route from Heavy Trafficway to 2nd Street.

I'm sure it's a weekend. But even if it were the middle of a workday, there'd still be a single digit vehicle count visible.

Even at rush hour you don't have to wait for the green light to walk across the street. The number of cars through a light cycle on most downtown one-ways goes from about four midday to maybe eight at 5:15pm. That tells me our streets are ridiculously oversized.
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Red Arrow
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« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2009, 05:15:57 pm »

That tells me our streets are ridiculously oversized.

Or that we have a way to go in re-developing downtown.  Try Memorial south of 91st or 71st around the malls almost anytime except late at night.
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TheTed
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« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2009, 05:56:27 pm »

Or that we have a way to go in re-developing downtown.  Try Memorial south of 91st or 71st around the malls almost anytime except late at night.
And those streets will be great once we build two BOK Towers on every block downtown.

The likelihood of us needing anywhere near the street capacity we have downtown anytime in the next 100 years is about the same as winning the lottery.
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Red Arrow
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« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2009, 06:51:15 pm »

And those streets will be great once we build two BOK Towers on every block downtown.

The likelihood of us needing anywhere near the street capacity we have downtown anytime in the next 100 years is about the same as winning the lottery.

I agree in principle but think the time frame may be a bit long.  If you had told me 35 years ago that south Tulsa and north Bixby would be what they are today, I would have heartily disagreed.  If it takes 100 yrs for downtown to revitalize, it may not happen.
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Ed W
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« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2009, 07:17:36 pm »



...If a tag were a state wide program, I believe it would (at least partly) remove any legitimacy of the gripe of motorists that bicycles want equal access but don't want to pay. ...I'm not so sure bicycles with high pressure tires don't do some damage above that according to their weight.   ... Registering bikes would put them on equal footing with motor vehicles regarding access to the street.  I readily admit there would be no direct benefit to the bicyclist other than the perception of motorists that they are playing fair. But then, what benefit does my car registration give to me other than access to the street?   Perhaps bicycles should also be required to have liability insurance. ... All of these ideas are to take away motorists' perception that bicyclists are freeloaders demanding equal access. 

Give me a minute or two to put on my flak jacket please.



A flak jacket won't be necessary - unless you post something like this on the TW comments section.

There's this: "I'm not so sure bicycles with high pressure tires don't do some damage above that according to their weight."  Are you calling me fat?  Fully loaded, my bike weighs about 40 pounds and I'm right around 220.  So that's 260 pounds of bike and rider on 28mm tires.  A gravel truck weights maybe 5 tons, or the equivalent of about 40 big cyclists like me or maybe 60 lighter ones.  I'd suspect that even with those numbers, the cyclists would produce far less wear on a roadway.  It's an interesting question, though.  Besides, I'm not fat.  Gravity merely finds me very attractive.

I think we're looking at this from polar opposites.  I could be wrong, but I think many people believe there's a superior right to use a roadway when you've paid some money toward its construction and maintenance.  As you've noted, licensing, tags, and even fuel taxes aren't put into a box for roads exclusively.  Even if they were, the money wouldn't cover the expense.  So in large part, our roads are paid for with other revenues like sales taxes, income taxes, and real estate taxes.  If riding a bicycle allowed any of us to evade those taxes, the roads would be clogged with bikes.

So instead of looking at this from the standpoint of "who pays", let's back up a bit and look at the basic premise of public roads.  I think you'd agree that access to our public roads is just that - public.  They are open to all provided we each use them lawfully and we exercise due care toward other road users.  Before the advent of motor vehicles, there were no licensing and registration schemes other than those used to register horse drawn cabs and buses in some major cities.  Once motor vehicles became common, their potential for damaging lives and property was readily apparent, and that launched the need for registration, insurance, and driver training.  The impetus for all this government regulation came from that potential to do damage.

Unlike motor vehicles, pedestrians, equestrians, and cyclists do not present that same potential for damage.  If they did, they could expect that some form of regulation would be necessary.  While there are injuries, deaths, and property damage that arise from the presence of pedestrians, bicycles, and horse drawn vehicles, their numbers are so low as to be negligible.  (I'm speaking of pedestrians inflicting damages to other people and property, not receiving damage from vehicles.) 

My point of view is that the public roads belong to all of us, to use freely provided we do so within the law.  The idea that there is a superior right to use that public way when one has paid various taxes and fees is a fallacy, one that cyclists should avoid. 
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Ed

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« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2009, 10:50:01 pm »



A flak jacket won't be necessary - unless you post something like this on the TW comments section.

I don't post on the TW since I didn't wish to comply with their requirements to post comments.  I don't do Facebook etc either.  Even this forum was a bit of a stretch when I signed up.  Too many database info collectors.

There's this: "I'm not so sure bicycles with high pressure tires don't do some damage above that according to their weight."  Are you calling me fat?  Fully loaded, my bike weighs about 40 pounds and I'm right around 220.  So that's 260 pounds of bike and rider on 28mm tires.  A gravel truck weights maybe 5 tons, or the equivalent of about 40 big cyclists like me or maybe 60 lighter ones.  I'd suspect that even with those numbers, the cyclists would produce far less wear on a roadway.  It's an interesting question, though.  Besides, I'm not fat.  Gravity merely finds me very attractive.

My brother says he puts approximately 110 psi in his road bike tires.  At 260 lbs, your bike would be supported by 2.36 square inches of road surface.  While you won't damage the foundation, you may damage the surface.  Typical car tire pressures are typically less than 44 psi.  A 4000 lb car would be supported by more than 90 square inches.  15 times the weight supported by about 38 times the area.  My only reference to truck tires is from when I was a volunteer fireman. I remember pressures in the range of 75 psi for the 6 wheel pumpers and ladder truck. Big trucks, not just a chief's wagon or dually pickup. Heavy vehicles will obviously stress the overall structure more than even a car.  Hollow ground ice skate blades exert so much pressure they melt the ice for just a little area.  The skaters damage the surface more than the much heavier Zamboni.  For the non-technical folks, would you rather have a 95 lb girl walk on your back in running shoes or heels of spike heels?  Next time you are in a business lobby or someplace where women would typically wear high heels, look at the floor.  The dimples in the floor are not an intentional golf ball design. A granite or similar floor may be less susceptible to the dents. They aren't caused by (low pressure) running shoes.  

I think we're looking at this from polar opposites.  I could be wrong, but I think many people believe there's a superior right to use a roadway when you've paid some money toward its construction and maintenance.  As you've noted, licensing, tags, and even fuel taxes aren't put into a box for roads exclusively.  Even if they were, the money wouldn't cover the expense.  So in large part, our roads are paid for with other revenues like sales taxes, income taxes, and real estate taxes.  If riding a bicycle allowed any of us to evade those taxes, the roads would be clogged with bikes.

So instead of looking at this from the standpoint of "who pays", let's back up a bit and look at the basic premise of public roads.  I think you'd agree that access to our public roads is just that - public.  They are open to all provided we each use them lawfully and we exercise due care toward other road users. 

Several on this forum have posted that the suburbanites using the road of the City of Tulsa are the cause of Tulsa's bad roads and not a source of maintenance. A few have suggested (perhaps tongue in cheek) that the City of Tulsa should erect toll gates at the city limits and force suburbanites to pay for access to Tulsa.  I agree the roads should be public access.


 Before the advent of motor vehicles, there were no licensing and registration schemes other than those used to register horse drawn cabs and buses in some major cities.  Once motor vehicles became common, their potential for damaging lives and property was readily apparent, and that launched the need for registration, insurance, and driver training.  The impetus for all this government regulation came from that potential to do damage.

I will agree with insurance and driver training.  Registration is merely a tax, allowing access to the facility.  It provides no protection to me from someone else. I have a friend who was hit in his car by a low income uninsured driver.  The other car was registered.  My friend had to pay nearly $5000 out of his own pocket to fix his own car.  The other driver was not prosecuted in any manner.  Not arrested, no liens, no paycheck garnishment.  There was no money to be had by prosecution so it was not done.  There was no jail time even though the other driver had clearly violated the state's mandatory insurance law.

Unlike motor vehicles, pedestrians, equestrians, and cyclists do not present that same potential for damage.  If they did, they could expect that some form of regulation would be necessary.  While there are injuries, deaths, and property damage that arise from the presence of pedestrians, bicycles, and horse drawn vehicles, their numbers are so low as to be negligible.  (I'm speaking of pedestrians inflicting damages to other people and property, not receiving damage from vehicles.) 

Pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists may not win in a contest with a pickup but they can cause damage by forcing motorized traffic to take evasive action.  If I see a cyclist run a stop sign in front of me, I hope I will do my best to avoid the cyclist, even if it means hitting another motorized vehicle (except maybe a motorcycle).  Hopefully the cyclist doesn't get hit but two or more other vehicles get clobbered.  What are the odds?  I don't know.  I do know the kid across the street (many years ago) got killed when he ran a stop sign at 101st and Mingo, at the time a 2 way stop.  I don't blame the motorist.  I'm just glad my sister, also on a bicycle traveling with the kid across the street, was a few seconds slower.  The kid lost big time but the car owner or his insurance payed to fix the car. Bicycle registration wouldn't have prevented the accident but bicycle driver licensing may have.

This part of the country was largely developed along with motorized vehicles.  There are a lot of roads along the eastern seaboard states with names ending in "Pike".  That is short for Turnpike, ie toll road.  These were often from the horse and carriage days.  If you wanted to go from Philadelphia to West Chester PA and the weather had been wet, you took West Chester Pike.  I have read that the road was "paved" with wood boards.  Still better than sinking in the mud.  Eventually public taxes bought the "Pike" and it became a "free" road.  


My point of view is that the public roads belong to all of us, to use freely provided we do so within the law.  The idea that there is a superior right to use that public way when one has paid various taxes and fees is a fallacy, one that cyclists should avoid. 

The airspace above us is pubic and belongs to everyone but I pay a registration fee to the state for my airplane.   The lakes in this state are public but don't try to operate a boat on them without paying a registration fee.  The roads are public (mostly) and cars, trucks, motorcycles, motor scooters pay to register.  What is so special about a bicycle that should make it exempt?  Access to public facilities sometimes involves a fee. It is not a matter of paying for the construction or maintenance.  I am not proposing a per mile fee.  A fuel tax like the one paid by motorists is obviously not applicable.  Pedestrians are not allowed to walk in traffic lanes.  They are allowed to cross in designated areas.  I don't know what the rules for horses are.  In Pennsylvania, the Amish are required to carry an electric lamp on the back of their buggies so they don't get run over by motorists at night.  In the early 20th Century, street car companies were required to pay franchise fees and maintain the section of road they occupied even when they were on an otherwise public road.  Some national parks charge a fee to enter.  My point of view is that paying certain fees and meeting certain requirements does give a group superior rights to use a public  facility over a group that demands equal access/rights and does not pay a fee for that access.  

We will probably have to agree to disagree on this one.

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cannon_fodder
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« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2009, 11:08:15 am »

To answer the original poster, here is a traffic count:

http://www.cityoftulsa.org/media/2896/revised2007-counts_2.pdf

- - -

And downtown streets are NEVER busy that I have seen.  I've worked downtown at many different locations, travel downtown frequently to file things, and go downtown for entertainment.  Congestion isn't a real concern.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 11:12:51 am by cannon_fodder » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2009, 12:33:47 pm »

To answer the original poster, here is a traffic count:

http://www.cityoftulsa.org/media/2896/revised2007-counts_2.pdf

- - -

And downtown streets are NEVER busy that I have seen.  I've worked downtown at many different locations, travel downtown frequently to file things, and go downtown for entertainment.  Congestion isn't a real concern.
Thank you.

Those traffic counts are amazing and depressing at the same time.

Those numbers confirm that Denver is the only street with any correlation between lane count and traffic count. I'll never understand why so many people choose to use Denver Avenue to come downtown when there are much better options coming from nearly every direction, even if their destination is along Denver. Pretty much all of those one-ways are far better in terms of congestion, plus they have timed lights.

As long as we have this grotesquely oversized streets, we're basically saying all that matters downtown are car operators and we have no interest in creating a friendly environment for anyone not driving an automobile.
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nathanm
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« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2009, 06:34:52 pm »

As long as we have this grotesquely oversized streets, we're basically saying all that matters downtown are car operators and we have no interest in creating a friendly environment for anyone not driving an automobile.
I don't know about that. NYC has some pretty big streets (they have to be!), yet I feel perfectly comfortable as a pedestrian.

I'm not saying we need the streets to be as large as they are, but I don't think it's a hindrance in the CBD. Besides, with streets that wide it leaves room for streetcars running down the center like they have in Toronto. (A person can dream, can't they?!)
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« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2009, 07:28:33 pm »

The one-way streets downtown were created to serve only one purpose: getting downtown businessmen in and out of downtown as quickly as possible. 

They were not created to be visitor-friendly.  Nor were they created to increase downtown retail or benefit downtown entertainment districts.

Nope, just get 'em home to the suburbs, asap.

Back before we imposed "super-blocks" on downtown, the one-way streets weren't so bad.  They were consistent, and you didn't have to account for the "missing block" when enormous structures closed streets (think Williams Tower, Crown Plaza Hotel, BOK Center, etc, etc). 

Now, if you want to get from 2nd and Main to 1st and Main, you have to go to 2nd and Detroit, up to 1st and back to Main...what is that?  About 7 blocks out of your way to travel one block.


While two-way streets won't solve the "superblock" issue, they will make it easier for everyone to get from place to place downtown.

Tulsa doesn't need one-way streets.  They create more problems than they solve.
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« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2009, 07:39:34 pm »

I don't know about that. NYC has some pretty big streets (they have to be!), yet I feel perfectly comfortable as a pedestrian.


If we had sidewalks like this (random street in NYC), I think anyone would feel perfectly comfortable as a pedestrian here as well.

« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 07:41:07 pm by custosnox » Logged
nathanm
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« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2009, 07:47:20 pm »

The one-way streets downtown were created to serve only one purpose: getting downtown businessmen in and out of downtown as quickly as possible. 
Suburbanites hate one way streets.

One ways avoid traffic conflicts like left turns. All to the good, as far as I'm concerned. I've missed turns downtown before and been caught on the wrong end of a one way street. BFD, so you take an extra two minutes to go around the block. It's good exercise for the mind.  Grin

And horror of horrors, our downtown sidewalks are only a traffic lane wide, what shall we do?  Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 07:50:33 pm by nathanm » Logged

"Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration" --Abraham Lincoln
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