Preliminary data by UNM’s Traffic Research Unit reports that another eight New Mexicans died last month trying to walk our roadways.
For context, here are the monthly NM fatalities that accrued to a record 83 dying by walking during 2018:
21 so far this year; 13 during the first two months of a record 2018. We’re on pace for 126 walking deaths this year. Roughly a 50% increase. Over a record.
Remarkable, yet when discussing roadway conditions in the state, 99.999999999% of focus is on needed repairs for drivers. It’s interesting to consider what number of dead walkers would be necessary to instigate repairs statewide for pedestrians. 83 last year hasn’t done it. I wonder…what will it take? Will 500 annual deaths be enough? 1,000?
Downtown Safe Zone Update: BB has looked the past two days into specifics of Councilor Benton’s 20 mph speed limit resolution for a portion of Downtown. This small scale attempt to make walking safer is a start, and we were wondering about a comment/quote from City DMD (Streets) Director Pay Montoya about bike lanes downtown stating that the plan is for no downtown bike lanes given the new 20 mph speed limit.
Communication from DMD to BB has cleared things up on this point. Lead/Coal from 2nd to 8th is still scheduled to have bike lanes installed as part of pending 2019-2020 maintenance work. BB will have more details on that project and its inter-relation to the Downtown Safe Zone and pending arrival of shared e-scooters in coming days.
By the way, if you haven’t walked or cycled Lead/Coal between 2nd and 8th lately, slowly checking it out is an amazing history lesson in downtown striping. These two stretches desperately in need of maintenance contain traces of striping for a bizarre number of variations, including what appears to have been at one time a dedicated bus lane, a bike lane that suddenly becomes the driving lane, and haphazard parking striping.
A moving history lesson well worth taking. Just watch out for the drivers who are just as confused by the striping as you will be.
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By comparison, here are the fatalities in Seattle for 2018. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/seattle-traffic-deaths-and-injuries-down-slightly-last-year-most-of-the-fatalities-were-pedestrians/. 8 were pedestrians, 1 was a bicyclist. For the whole year. Seattle is a much denser city, with most (but by no means all) streets 30 mph or slower (speed limit map here: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/projects-and-programs/safety-first/vision-zero/speedlimits). But that just goes to show that speed limits matter.